What happened

A day after it popped on news of a debt-exchange offer, Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) was pushed down again. An influential credit rating agency doesn't like the sound of that offer and expressed this with a downgrade of the retailer's debt. As a result, the stock's price tumbled by more than 5%. 

So what

Ever-influential rater S&P Global was the culprit, reducing its estimation for Bed Bath & Beyond's debt to CC, outlook negative. That's one notch down from S&P's previous CCC, which in turn was a reduction made as recently as late August.

According to S&P's ratings guide, CC is a "speculative grade," indicating that a business's debt is "Highly vulnerable; default has not yet occurred, but is expected to be a virtual certainty." Even with long-shot companies like Bed Bath & Beyond, that's an ominous prospect.

The move comes a day after the troubled retailer launched a debt-swap offer with a number of its bondholders. Specifically, it is offering notes with interest rates in exchange for existing debt instruments that mature in 2024. The notes on offer would mature in 2027, buying the company more time to get its financial house in order; the affected bondholders have until Nov. 15 to accept the swap. 

Now what

Given the company's tribulations over the past months and years, Bed Bath & Beyond investors tend to be a hardy bunch. But even the most thick-skinned shareholder has to be worried about a second credit downgrade in as many months. We'll see how high the take-up is for the company's debt swap, but regardless, its finances are hardly in an encouraging state just now.