Shares of Crumbs Bake Shop (CRMB) soared $0.371 on Thursday to close at $0.402, up 1,197%, following news from CNBC of a proposed bailout plan of the maker of the once-trendy $4 mega cupcake. More than 10 times normal volume of 17.7 million shares traded hands.
CRMB had traded as high as $0.43 before profit-taking set in at 2:30pm. In July 2011, the stock briefly touched $16.
Reports of a privately-held investment groups – headed by CEO of Camping World and Good Sam Enterprises Marcus Lemonis and Fischer Enterprises – are assembling a bailout and acquisition package to save Crumbs drove the stock higher in frenzied buy orders.
News of the impending deal comes only days following the Nasdaq’s decision on Jul. 1 to suspend trading in CRMB due to Crumbs’ failure to maintain the minimum threshold of stockholder equity.
According to Crumbs’ Jul. 3 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Form 8-K, if a condition of “Delisting” continued through Jul. 6, it would constitute an “Event of Default” under the Senior Secured Loan and Security Agreement with Fischer Enterprises signed on Jan. 20, 2014.
On Jul. 6, Crumbs defaulted upon the $5 million loan agreement with Fischer.
On Jul. 7, Crumbs management announced it would close the remaining 48 stores of the 79 once achieved during the peak of Crumb’s expansion. After $28.5 million of net losses of the past two years, the high-end cupcake maker and retailer fell victim to stiff competition from better-know, better-managed and better-diversified chains of baked goods.
Confirmation of CNBC’s report of talks between Crumbs management and Mr. Lemonis et al was not forthcoming by Crumbs.
However, Crumbs CEO and General Counsel Edward Slezak did confirm the company is discussing restructuring plans with other parties, but didn’t mention the identity of the principals involved.
“We know that everyone has an emotional connection to the Crumbs brand and its products, and we’re pleased to be in talks with various interested parties that are allowing us to pursue all of our options for the business, which includes consideration of restructuring alternatives,” Slezak said in a prepared statement to the press.
Mark Fischer of Fischer Enterprises declined to comment on Thursday about the proposal. But records show that Fischer Enterprises bought ice cream snack maker Dippin’ Dots through bankruptcy in 2012, lending further credence to the initial CNBC news report of the Lemonis/Fischer alliance to repeat with the Crumbs brand.
Lemonis, known as the “Turnaround King” on ‘reality’ television show “The Profit” said, “I like the brand; I like the concept, but in no universe in the long run does a . . . cupcake retailer make it” with only one product. “You have to add different lines of revenue.”
Echoing Lemonis is Reena Aggarwal, professor at Georgetown University, who told Forbes, “From a financial perspective, I can see someone will put in the money, build the company out and expand the product line.”
Aggarwal went on to state that Crumbs expanded “very aggressively,” which inevitably leads to a severe working capital drain – a cardinal mistake by managers of any retail chain.
However, Aggarwal sees a meaningful possibility of a turnaround from the Turnaround King and Fischer team. With that duo, she said, “[y]ou get the managerial experience, and you get an infusion of capital.”
Last April, the Wall Street Journal inquired of Lemonis’ investment style. He said, “Distressed companies, if fixed, will yield a much higher rate of return than a well-functioning company. Higher risk, but higher reward.”
Investors who were bold, brave and clever enough to hold CRMB on Wednesday achieved exactly that: a “much high return” – indeed.