Is South African Clothing Retailer Edcon Too Big to Fail?

South Africa’s national power utility’s woes have threatened to shut down industries, while the flagship airline has received repeated bailouts to keep it afloat, Bloomberg News reported. Now, a scramble to help a retailer that sells school shoes and fast fashion suggests it, too, may be seen as too big to fail. Edcon Holdings Ltd. has about 30,000 employees, a supply chain that includes 750 companies and floor space that accounts for a 10th of the occupancy in the country’s biggest shopping malls, the most of any company. A potential collapse of could exacerbate an unemployment crisis and cause income from commercial property rentals to slide. The Johannesburg-based company is in talks with South Africa’s biggest lenders and landlords to get more cash and to reduce rentals as it struggles with a debt burden that’s a legacy of the way its 2007 takeover by Boston-based Bain Capital Private Equity LP was financed. Read more