The purchase of gift customizer Personalization Mall by e-commerce pioneer 1-800-Flowers.com Inc. (Nasdaq: FLWS) from home furnishing retailer Bed Bath & Beyond hit a high-profile bump or two on its way to closing, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, but all’s well that ends well. Really well, in this case. The deal closed over the summer and helped its new buyer achieve record-breaking results by year’s end.
Like every transaction in 2020, the pandemic posed some challenges. The deal was announced in mid-February with a purchase price of $252 million and was expected to close by the end of March. Enter Covid. On March 20, J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, where PMall’s manufacturing facility is located, issued a stay-at-home order. As a result, 1-800-Flowers.com (Nasdaq: FLWS) requested a delay in closing the deal. But Bed Bath & Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY) disagreed, hoping to stay the course. “At the time the parties entered into the agreement in mid-February, the outbreak of Covid-19 in other countries was universally public knowledge, as was its potential to impact the economy,” said the complaint the seller filed in Delaware’s Court of Chancery.
Dealmakers followed the case closely, viewing it as a potential model for other buyers and sellers trying to complete transactions. Eventually, the parties announced a settlement on July 21, with a purchase price of $245 million (a $7 million discount from the original price), and they closed the deal on August 3.
Since then, PMall has added significantly to the buyer’s business. The 2021 fiscal second quarter, which ended Dec. 27, delivered “the highest quarterly revenue and profit in our company’s history,” said Chris McCann, the buyer’s well-known CEO. He attributed the results to “strong, double-digit e-commerce growth” across the company’s gourmet food and gift basket brands, the floral business and PersonalizationMall.com, noting that the performance came despite “increased labor and transportation costs, as well as operating inefficiencies related to the ongoing pandemic.”