Connect with us


Consumer favorite retailer files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

A major provider of party supplies has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy seeking to sell its assets.



Retail suppliers are essential to the survival of retailers, since without adequate inventory to sell, stores can't generate necessary revenue to remain in business. Suppliers occasionally have hard times and sometimes need to file bankruptcy to stay afloat. Some of those suppliers will reorganize and continue operating. Others will sell their assets to a new operator or may have such severe financial distress that they will need liquidate and go out of business.

Fresno, Calif.-based Prima Wawona, the nation's largest peach producer that supplies grocers like Walmart and Kroger KR, filed for Chapter 11 on Oct. 13 seeking to sell its assets to its lenders or a third party buyer. The debtor's lenders have agreed to allow the company to use its cash to fund operations and keep paying vendors and suppliers while the bankruptcy case proceeds.

Related: Beloved fast-food chain files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Instant Brands, maker of Instant Pot, Corning and Pyrex kitchenware, filed for Chapter 11 in June to seek a sale of its assets. The company, which sells its products to numerous retailers, including Walmart and Target TGT, reached an agreement in bankruptcy to sell its assets to private equity firm Centre Lane Partners. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. 

Party supply retailer Party City filed Chapter 11 in January to restructure its debts after rising inflation, supply chain issues, a helium shortage and fallout from the Covid pandemic caused financial distress. The retailer emerged from bankruptcy in October. One of Party City's suppliers also ran into some financial distress that led to a bankruptcy filing.

Anagram Balloons seeks sale in Chapter 11

Party City's affiliate and a top supplier Anagram Balloons on Nov. 8 filed for Chapter 11 protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston seeking to sell its assets to its first-lien note lenders. The company listed $100 million to $500 million in assets and liabilities in its petition.

The Eden Prairie, Minn., balloon retailer manufactures and sells foil balloons and inflated décor domestically and internationally to party supply specialty stores, grocers, mass marketers, parks, drugstores and discount variety stores. The wholly owned subsidiary of Party City provides products directly to retailers like Walmart WMT, Dollar Treen DLTR and Canadian Tire and through domestic and international distributors. The balloon maker was not a debtor in Party City's Chapter 11.

Anagram currently employs about 350 employees and operates a 500,000 square-foot manufacturing, production and distribution facility.

Anagram has faced financial distress resulting from unsustainable debt on its balance sheet, lingering effects from the Covid-19 pandemic, global inflation and helium shortages that put strain on its balance sheet. Party City had filed a motion to reject Anagram contracts in its Chapter 11 case, but it did not follow through with that motion. Anagram sought a restructuring solution with its creditors, but was unable to reach a consensus on a reorganization transaction, according to a declaration from the company's Chief Restructuring Officer Adrian Frankum of Ankura Consulting Group. 

Debtor Anagram Holdings filed a motion seeking $22 million in senior secured debtor-in-possession financing with $10 million available immediately on approval of a interim order in order to fund the bankruptcy case and sales process. The remainder would be available on final order approval. It also seeks a $15 million first-lien asset-based loan facility from its prepetition ABL lender Wells Fargo that will roll up prepetition ABL obligations.

Anagram Balloons seeks a sale of its assets in bankruptcy.

Image source: Shuttertock

Prepetition lenders will credit bid at bankruptcy auction

The debtor's first-lien and DIP notes lender will submit a stalking horse credit bid for the full amount of the DIP and first-lien debt in a Section 363 auction of the company. It currently owes $110 million in prepetition first-lien debt, $84.7 million in Second Lien Note debt and $15 million to Wells Fargo in ABL debt.

The debtor will seek higher and better offers for its assets from potential buyers through a bankruptcy auction that is proposed for Dec. 5. The debtor is proposing to close the sale Dec. 29. A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17 to consider the debtor's bidding procedures.

Get investment guidance from trusted portfolio managers without the management fees. Sign up for Action Alerts PLUS now.

Read More

Continue Reading


Women produce skin temperature data that are just as predictable as men

Women produce physiological data that is just as predictable as men, at least when it comes to skin temperature. This might seem like common sense, but…



Women produce physiological data that is just as predictable as men, at least when it comes to skin temperature. This might seem like common sense, but variations in body signals due to menstrual cycles, such as temperature, were used as an excuse to keep women out of clinical studies for decades. 

Credit: OURA Ring

Women produce physiological data that is just as predictable as men, at least when it comes to skin temperature. This might seem like common sense, but variations in body signals due to menstrual cycles, such as temperature, were used as an excuse to keep women out of clinical studies for decades. 

The data for the finding was gathered from a wearable device to continuously monitor the skin temperature of 600 people, half female and half male, over six months.

The team found that there were more differences between any two individuals in the study, whether male or female, than between the sexes. The researchers found that skin temperature mostly varied as a function of time of day and whether the subject was awake or asleep, across male and female participants. 

Many women do not have large menstrual cycles, and neither cycles nor sex accounted for significant differences in variability of any group. It’s the first time that a study has continuously tracked human skin temperature over such a long period of time, to the best of the researchers’ knowledge. The team published their findings in the Nov. 1, 2023 issue of the journal Biology of Sex Differences. 

Despite guidelines from the National Institutes of Health that require studies to include females and minorities in clinical studies, women are still disproportionately excluded from research, particularly in drug trials. This is due in part to concerns that menstrual cycles would introduce too many variables in the data. 

And despite the harm to women that results from using medicines designed for men, including higher overdose and side effect rates, no one had yet looked at continuous physiology signals across large groups of men and women to see if women’s cycles really did make the data harder to analyze–until now. The study didn’t find any statistically significant differences, showing that concern is not warranted. 

The team included researchers from the San Diego Supercomputer Center, the Halicioglu Data Science Institute and the Jacobs School of Engineering at the University of California San Diego as well as the UC San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Health. 

The UC San Diego team has been working with the UC San Francisco team, led by co-senior author Dr. Ashley E. Mason, since 2020 to gather wearable data from around the world and develop tools for detecting disease outbreaks. “If the point is that we can now use wearables to track health over big groups of people, then it makes no sense to exclude whole groups of people from the research” said Mason, a sleep clinician and principal investigator of the broader TemPredict project from which this study grew. 

The team chose to track skin temperature because it’s essentially a way to monitor the state of a person’s endocrine system, said Ben Smarr, the paper’s corresponding author and a professor in the Shu Chien Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering and the Halicioglu Data Science Institute at the University of California San Diego. Temperature has been tied to hormonal changes, daily rhythms and women’s health states by previous research. 

“In this study, the difference between two men is bigger than the difference between the average man and the average woman,” said Lauryn Keeler Bruce, the paper’s first author and a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical Informatics and Systems Biology program at UC San Diego. “In addition, the variability between men and women is not statistically significant.”

Smarr and colleagues used the ŌURA ring, a smart wearable produced by Finland-based company Oura Ring to track skin temperature in the study. The device can also track heart rate, activity, and provides sleep tracking. The ŌURA Ring has become a go-to research tool because it’s easy to use and delivers high-quality data. It has been used in recent publications about medical device adherence, predicting pregnancy outcomes, and tracking COVID-19. 

Through statistical analysis the team developed, they found, in women who cycled, a pattern of variation in nightly maximum skin temperature over a roughly 28-day period, consistent with menstrual cycles. This was not unexpected, as temperature monitoring has been used as a tool to track fertility across many cultures. If anything, the pattern made variations easier to predict for the subjects that experienced it. The data for these females was more predictable than for all the other subjects in the study. 

“This analysis confirms that ovarian rhythms do affect temperature,” the researchers write. “This analysis does not suggest that these rhythms make any given measurement more prone to error.” 

Researchers also pointed out that none of their female subjects constantly had a 28-day cycle. “No one was a textbook example,” Keeler Bruce said.

Researchers hope that other teams will adopt their methodology. Being able to continuously monitor physiological signals, such as temperature, is crucial in capturing a more accurate picture of a person’s health, Smarr said. “In order to know what disturbs a pattern, you need to know what the pattern is in the first place,” he said. 

The team plans to examine data from pregnant people throughout pregnancy next. They also plan to examine the differences in activity patterns between male and female subjects. 

Variability of temperature measurements recorded by a wearable device by biological sex

UC San Diego

Department of Biomedical Informatics: Lauryn Keeler Bruce

Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering: Patrick Kasl and Benjamin L. Smarr 

Bioinformatics and Systems Biology: Severine Soltani 

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering: Varun K. Viswanath

Halicioglu Data Science Institute: Iklay Altintas, Amaranath Gupta and Benjamin L. Smarr 

San Diego Supercomputer Center: Saubhasis Dasgupta, Iklay Altintas and Amaranath Gupta 


UC San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Health: Wendy Hartogensis, Frederick M. Hecht, Anoushka Chowdhary, Claudine Anglo, Keena Pandya and Ashley Mason  

City University New York, Baruch College: Stephan Dilchert


Read More

Continue Reading


Bitcoin Explodes Higher On “Heavily Institutional” Buying

Bitcoin Explodes Higher On "Heavily Institutional" Buying

Bitcoin prices have exploded higher overnight, nearing $38,000, with the renewed…



Bitcoin Explodes Higher On "Heavily Institutional" Buying

Bitcoin prices have exploded higher overnight, nearing $38,000, with the renewed bullish tone attributed to a combination of factors, including resurgent institutional interest, growing adoption, and a favorable macroeconomic climate.

Source: Bloomberg

For context, this price move has now erased the losses since the Terra stablecoin crisis 18 months ago...

Source: Bloomberg

As CoinTelegraph reports, while not expected until 2024, today, Nov. 9, marks the start of the period during which the long-awaited spot Bitcoin ETF approval announcement from regulators could theoretically come.

“We still believe 90% chance by Jan 10 for spot Bitcoin ETF approvals,” James Seyffart, research analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, wrote on the topic.

“But if it comes earlier we are entering a window where a wave of approval orders for all the current applicants *COULD* occur.”

Reacting to Seyffart, financial commentator Tedtalksmacro agreed.

“BTC sure is trading like an ETF decision is due any moment,” part of his own commentary read.

However, Bloomberg's Seyffart noted that even if 19b-4 is approved, an S-1 approval could take weeks or months between approval and launch.

A total of 12 asset managers have filed for a spot Bitcoin ETF with the SEC.

Additionally, short-sellers might be exiting positions, fueling the move higher.

As CoinDesk reports, data shows just under $50 million in liquidations occurred in a four-hour period during early Asian trading hours, creating a "short squeeze"

Most notably, as Goldman Sachs' Crypto team points out, initial market data suggests that market activity was heavily institutional with four main indicators:

1. In October, we saw approximately $437m of inflows into BTC exchange - traded products (Bloomberg). On a weekly basis, BTC-based digital asset investment products led the largest single-week inflows into crypto funds since July 2022, for the week ending 27 Oct 2023. BTC-based funds accounted for 90% of the total crypto fund inflows, totaling $296m ( Bloomberg ).

2. Most noticeable change was on CME, where Bitcoin futures open interest notched to an all-time high of 20,369 contracts on 25 Oct 2023 ( CME Group ), and 6 of the top 10 open interest days for bitcoin futures occurred between 20 and 27 Oct 2023. Total open interest on CME hit $3.58b on 30 Oct 2023. In October, CME surpassed the 100k BTC mark for the first time, overtaking Bybit and OKX to rank second behind only Binance ( CoinDesk ) among exchanges offering standard Bitcoin futures and perpetual futures. The daily traded volume for the front 3 - month expiries on CME also notched a YTD high of 25,185 contracts on 25 Oct 2023

3. In addition, the open interest across BTC options also reached an all - time high of $15.4b on 27 Oct 2023 ( The Block Data

4. On - chain activity remains muted relative to rest of the year, with daily active address count of 1.1m (vs 950k addresses (annual average in 2023) ( Coinmetrics ) and DEX to CEX spot trade volume at 13% (vs May’23 21%) ( The Block Data ).

James Van Straten, research and data analyst at crypto insights firm CryptoSlate, wrote in part of his latest research, referencing data from on-chain analytics firm Glassnode, which showed U.S. buyers sustaining the rally.

“Americans carrying this thing,” William Clemente, co-founder of crypto research firm Reflexivity added.

The $37,000 milestone sets up the more significant $40,000 psychological barrier to be broken, instilling a renewed sense of optimism in the cryptocurrency community.

“It’s always gonna be this” way, said Zaheer Ebtikar, founder of crypto fund Split Capital.

“People can’t help it. [Crypto] is literally the most FOMO industry ever.”

Meanwhile, Ethereum is also soaring higher, touching $2000 for the first time since July as interest in DeFi, and more specifically 'yield farming' begins to emerge once again...

As Bloomberg reports, yield farming was once a popular method for crypto projects to bootstrap new users in a short amount of time. It was especially popular in the ultra-low-interest-rate environment during the Covid-19 pandemic. That changed when crypto prices tumbled and traditional interest rates rose. 

“It just took the industry a bit of time to adjust to a regime of high tradfi yields with low crypto volumes, and being able to create competitive product in that space,” said Leo Mizuhara, founder and CEO of DeFi institutional asset manager Hashnote. Tradfi is a popular term used to describe traditional finance.

The surge in ETH has reverted its recent weakness against BTC...

As we tweeted on Oct 20th, the ETH/BTC cross was at a critical support level and today's price action suggests a push back above that...

The key question on investors’ minds now is whether the market has structurally changed?

Tyler Durden Thu, 11/09/2023 - 10:20

Read More

Continue Reading


Initial claims continue tame YoY; why continuing claims indicate that elevated longer-term unemployment is not signaling recession

  – by New Deal democratInitial jobless claims declined -3,000 to 217,000 last week. The 4 week average increased 2,000 to 212,750. With a one week delay,…




 - by New Deal democrat

Initial jobless claims declined -3,000 to 217,000 last week. The 4 week average increased 2,000 to 212,750. With a one week delay, continued claims increased 22,000 to 1.814 million:

More importantly for forecasting purposes, YoY both weekly initial claims and their 4 week average were up 4.8%. Continuing claims remained very elevated, up 27.4%:

So far for the month of November, initial claims are up 3.8% YoY, which forecasts that in coming months the unemployment rate may go back down to 3.6%:

In the meantime, since between March and September claims averaged about 11% higher YoY, the unemployment rate could tick higher by another 0.1% to 4.0% - which could be just barely enough to trigger the “Sahm rule” if it averaged 4.0% for 3 months, since it would be 0.5% higher than the 3 month average low in the unemployment rate of 3.5% for December 2022-February 2023:

But I think this is unlikely, since initial claims never quite passed the threshold for signaling recession, which would require a 12.5% or higher YoY comparison for a full 2 months.

Additionally, I wanted to follow up further on the issue of continuing claims and longer term unemployment. This is because several commentators including Cullen Roche have pointed out “when long term unemployment [for 15 weeks or more] rise by 15% or more year over year we are either in a recession or nearing recession 100% of the time.” Here’s his accompanying graph:

But, just as there is a 50+ year reliable history that initial jobless claims lead the unemployment rate, there is a similar leading relationship between continuing claims (red in the graph below) and the number of long term unemployed (gold). And there is also a coincident relationship between continued claims, averaged monthly, and the unemployment rate (blue):

Here’s the post-pandemic update of that graph:

Although continued claims are very elevated YoY, they have plateaued for the past 4 months. That suggests that the unemployment rate is already at or near its short term high (because it is coincident to continuing claims) and also forecasts that long term unemployment will not significantly worsen, unlike the past episodes Roche highlights, in which continuing claims continued to worsen YoY, as shown above.

Read More

Continue Reading