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There’s More To RadioShack’s Demise Than Simply Being RadioShack

Hard to believe but it's true!
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RadioShack's Super Bowl XLIX ad.

You probably hadn’t noticed, but if there’s still a RadioShack near you, it’s likely not long for this world. The reasons for this are myriad and long in coming, but mostly boil down to: It’s Radio Shack, and it’s 2015.

The amazing thing—other than that the ‘Shack will survive in some form thanks to the people keeping American Apparel afloat and Dov Charney-free—is that it’s taken until 2015 for it to get to this point. The Wall Street Journal explains why now.

The more immediate cause of the downfall, however, was a series of missed financial targets and strategic confusion that handed power to bare-knuckled lenders. RadioShack also spent millions of its increasingly scarce dollars advertising an ambitious store overhaul, many elements of which the chain never had the money to roll out….

The last straw was a humbling holiday season in which many of the company’s stores sat largely empty of people. One sign of the chain’s marginalization: Many stores had just half a dozen iPhones to sell, employees said. A worker in San Jose, Calif., said his store was allotted only three to sell “for a good two months.”

Strategic Confusion Put RadioShack at Mercy of Lenders [WSJ]
RadioShack Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy After a Deal With Sprint [DealBook]


By joho345 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There’s More Than One Way To Become Small Enough To Fail

GE Capital knows what we're talking about.

By Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Betsy DeVos) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

There May Be Someone At The White House With More Contempt For A Colleague Than John Kelly Has For His Boss

Imagine sitting across the Cabinet table from someone who could have saved you from a $100 million loss.

So Maybe Greek CDS Will Be More Than Fine?

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah Greece. Okay so all systems appear to be go on the Greek debt exchange, which means its time to decide What This Means, and, I just. Really. Greece. Come on. All I want is to talk about 13D reporting requirements, and now I have to pay attention to Portugal? No. Just no.* Still here is arguably a fun factoid: On Wednesday, Swiss bank UBS AG started quoting a "gray market" in new Greek sovereign bonds ... using as a guide details of the debt swap Greece has put on the table for private investors to accept until Thursday evening. The "bid" price for a batch of future Greek bonds due in 2042, or the highest price the dealer was willing to pay, was around 15 cents on the dollar; the "offer" price, or the most the dealer was willing to sell at, was 17 cents on the dollar, the first person said. ... The prices quoted by UBS imply that losses private creditors to Greece will take are more like 79% of face value, not the original haircut of 70-75% many had expected. Yeah but. If you believe this horrible CDS mechanics stuff that various people including me have been yammering about for weeks - here is the best explanation - that means that if for some reason you had the foresight to be long Greek bonds and hold CDS against them you'd end up with a package worth (1) 21 on the bonds and (2) 83 on the CDS (assuming that the 17 offer for the 2042 bonds represents a real price for the cheapest-to-deliver new bond in the Greek auction) for (3) 104 total which is (4) more than par, so you win this particular game, yay. Which you were at risk of losing - a week ago one of our fearless commenters spotted the longest new bonds at 25ish vs. 24ish for the old-bond-y package, for a total of 99 for the hedged holder - losing 1 point versus par.**

In The Future, You’ll Have To Wait A Few More Minutes To Read Things ECB Leaders Have To Say

It’s apparently getting too hard for the ECB’s press office to figure out who is a real reporter and who is just a “blogger” who’s maybe thinking of doing some insider trading.