New Chapter 11 Filing - Bayou Steel BD Holdings LLC

Bayou Steel BD Holdings LLC

October 1, 2019

It’s all of the rage these days to rail on private equity. Elizabeth Warren is all over the industry these days and we, too, have been very critical of PE-backed shenanigans (mostly dividend recaps) that ultimately help destroy companies. The truth is, however, that there are two sides to that coin. Private equity can be a critical source of liquidity to businesses that might not otherwise get it.

And so this means that private equity is often in places you wouldn’t suspect. As just one example, we’ve previously noted, in our usually snarky way, how your Nana’s post-acute care may be powered by private equity. Here is another example: Bayou Steel BD Holdings LLC. Bayou Steel is a mini-mill with electric arc furnace steelmaking, continuous billet casting, and a medium section rolling mill; it also operates a bar product rolling mill. Its facilities are in Tennesee and Louisiana; it also has distribution depots in Oklahoma, Illinois and Pennsylvania. Since 2016, nearly 13 years after a previous foray in bankruptcy court, the company has been owned by Black Diamond Capital Management. Three years later, it and two affiliated companies are chapter 11 debtors: they filed for bankruptcy earlier this week in the District of Delaware.

The debtors’ bankruptcy papers are not as fulsome as we’re accustomed to. They don’t provide an extensive history of the company; they don’t offer a sweeping synopsis of the events that led to the chapter 11 filings; they don’t mention any sort of sordid mismanagement by their private equity sponsor; they don’t serve as de facto marketing materials for any prospective buyer. To that last point, there’s no mention whatsoever of any banker marketing the assets at all. There’s also no DIP credit facility: the company intends to function in bankruptcy using Bank of America NA ($BAC) and SunTrust Bank’s ($STI) cash collateral. To what end? To liquidate its inventory and assets.

They do mention, however, that the company “suffered under its debt load” which, ultimately, created “severe liquidity issues” and “eventually default” under its asset-backed loan facility (“ABL”). The company has $41.25mm outstanding under the ABL and another $36.5mm outstanding, mostly on a second lien basis, under a term loan with Black Diamond Commercial Finance LLC.* Per the company:

Left with no liquidity, and little hope of turnaround, the Company determined not to purchase any further raw materials and, as it has done in the ordinary course of business in the past when faced with excess inventory or liquidity concerns, the Company began selling off its finished goods inventory in order to pay down its secured debt.

They also sh*tcanned an overwhelming majority of their employees — all of whom were in “complete shock.”

Governor John Bel Edwards (D) — who is set to experience a tough primary in mid-October — chimed in with a statement:

“The Louisiana Workforce Commission is working with the company, the parish president and elected officials to assist those employees who are directly impacted by today’s news,” said Gov. Edwards. “While Bayou Steel has not given any specific reason for the closure, we know that this company, which uses recycled scrap metal that is largely imported, is particularly vulnerable to tariffs. Louisiana is among the most dependent states on tariffed metals, which is why we continue to be hopeful for a speedy resolution to the uncertainty of the future of tariffs. Meanwhile, we will do everything within our power to help those displaced workers.”

Curious. Indeed, the company did give a specific reason for the closure: its debt. Is it possible that tariffs played a role? Sure, that wouldn’t surprise us. But the company did not expressly state that (in its papers at least).

But since we’re on the topic of tariffs, let’s go there. In early September, in “💥PG&E. Sugarfina. uBiome. PetroSmart.💥,” we wrote the following:

Retail (Long Leverage & BSDs). Oh man. Target Inc. ($TGT) ain’t trifling. Choice bit:

“Target has communicated to its suppliers the retailer will not be raising prices for consumers nor accepting higher prices from suppliers as a result of existing and forthcoming tariffs on imported Chinese goods. 

‘Our expectation is that you will develop the appropriate contingency plans so that we don’t have to pass price increases along to our guests,’ wrote Target Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Mark Tritton in a memo, according to multiple outlets.”

Savage. Can’t wait to see “the Target Effect” mentioned in future First Day Declarations.

We were highlighting Target, specifically, but we were also foreshadowing something we expected to see, generally, over coming months: that is, US trade policy affecting domestic companies and, at least in part, causing chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. Is it happening?

In mid-September, the Barber Steel Foundry in Rothbury Michigan announced that it would close at the end of the year. 61 people will have a rough holiday season. This followed a July announcement that NLMK Pennsylvania, would layoff 80 workers and slow production. Even big time U.S. Steel Corp. ($X) announced that it would shut down two furnaces at its flagship plant in Indiana. Professor Mark Perry, writing for the conservative American Enterprise Institute blog, noted the following:

Measured by the loss of stock market capitalization since March 2018, the steel tariffs have contributed to the following losses: the stock market value of Nucor has declined by $5.2 billion, US Steel by $5.5 billion and Steel Dynamics by $3.7 billion, for a combined loss of stock market capitalization for the three steel companies of $14.4 billion.

Regardless of whether Governor Edwards’ claims are correct in this specific case, there is zero doubt that tariffs will continue to reverberate throughout the business community and help spark bankruptcy filings.

*The second lien term lenders have a first lien on the company’s real estate. They may be a critical element to this case.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Owens)

  • Capital Structure: $41.25mm ABL Credit Facility (Bank of America NA, SunTrust Bank), $36.5mm Term Loan (Black Diamond Commercial Finance LLC — first lien on real estate)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Shanti Katona, Stephen Astringer)

    • Financial Advisor: Candlewood Partners LLC

    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (William Wallander, Bradley Foxman) & Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins)

    • Secured Lender: Black Diamond Commercial Finance LLC

⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Sheridan Holding Company II, LLC⛽️

Sheridan Holding Company II, LLC

September 15, 2019

Houston-based Sheridan Holding Company II LLC and 8 affiliated debtors filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy case in the Southern District of Texas with a nearly-fully-consensual prepackaged plan of reorganization. The plan, once effective, would eliminate approximately $900mm(!) of pre-petition debt. The case is supported by a $100mm DIP credit facility (50% new money).

Why so much debt? While this is an oil and gas story much like scores of other companies we’ve seen march through the bankruptcy court doors, the business model, here, is a bit different than usual. Sheridan II is a “fund”; it invests in a portfolio of working interests in mature onshore producing properties in Texas, New Mexico and Wyoming. Like Matt Damon in “Promised Land,” the debtors scour God’s country in search of properties, acquires working interests in those properties, and then seeks to deploy their special sauce (“application of cost-effective reinvestments, operational improvements, and enhanced recovery programs to the acquired assets”) to eke out product and, ultimately, sell that sh*t at a profit. This, as you might suspect, requires a bunch of capital (and equity from LPs like Warburg Pincus).* Hence the $1.1b of debt on balance sheet. All of this is well (pun intended) and good, provided the commodity environment cooperates. Which, we all know all too well, has not been the case in recent years. Peace out equity. Peace out sub debt.

Interestingly, some of that debt was placed not too long ago. Confronted with the oil and gas downturn, the debtors took the initiative to avoid bankruptcy; they cut off distributions to LPs, took measures to decrease debt, cut opex, capex and SG&A, and engaged in a hedging program. In 2017, the debtors raised $455mm of the subordinated term loan (with PIK interest galore), while also clawing back 50% of distributions previously made to LPs to the tune of $64mm. Everyone needed to have skin in the game. Alas, these measures were insufficient.

Per this plan, that skin is seared. The revolving lenders and term lenders will receive 95% of the common stock in the reorganized entity with the subordinated term lenders getting the remaining 5%. YIKES. The debtors estimate that the subordinated term lenders will recover 2.6% of the amount of their claims under the proposed plan. 2.6% of $514mm = EPIC VALUE DESTRUCTION. Sweeeeeeeeet. Of course, the limited partners are wistfully looking at that 2.6%. Everything is relative.

*****

Some additional notes about this case:

  • The hope to have confirmation in 30 days.

  • The plan includes the ability to “toggle” to a sale pursuant to a plan if a buyer for the assets emerges. These “toggle” plans continue to be all of the rage these days.

  • The debtors note that this was a “hard fought” negotiation. We’ve lost count of how many times professionals pat themselves on the backs by noting that they arrived at a deal, resolving the issues of various constituencies with conflicting interests and positions. First, enough already: this isn’t exactly Fallujah. You’re a bunch of mostly white males (the CEO of the company notwithstanding), sitting around a luxury conference table in a high rise in Manhattan or Houston. Let’s keep some perspective here, people. Second, THIS IS WHAT YOU GET PAID $1000+/hour to do. If you CAN’T get to a deal, then that really says something, particularly in a situation like this where the capital structure isn’t all-too-complex.

  • The bulk of the debtors’ assets were purchased from SandRidge Energy in 2013. This is like bankruptcy hot potato.

  • Independent directors are really becoming a cottage industry. We have to say, if you’re an independent director across dozens of companies, it probably makes sense to keep Quinn Emanuel on retainer. That way, you’re less likely to see them on the opposite side of the table (and when you do, you may at least temper certain bulldog tendencies). Just saying.

Finally, the debtors’ bankruptcy papers provide real insights into what’s happening in the oil and gas industry today — particularly in the Permian Basin. The debtors’ assets mostly rest in the Permian, the purported crown jewel of oil and gas exploration and production. Except, as previously discussed in PETITION, production of oil out of the Permian ain’t worth as much if, say, you can’t move it anywhere. Transportation constraints, while relaxing somewhat, continue to persist. Per the company:

“Prices realized by the Debtors for crude oil produced and sold in the Permian Basin have been further depressed since 2018 due to “price differentials”—the difference in price received for sales of oil in the Permian Basin as compared to sales at the Cushing, Oklahoma sales hub or sales of sour crude oil. The differentials are largely attributable to take-away capacity constraints caused by increases in supply exceeding available transportation infrastructure. During 2018, Permian Basin crude oil at times sold at discounts relative to sales at the Cushing, Oklahoma hub of $16 per barrel or more. Price differentials have narrowed as additional take-away capacity has come online, but crude oil still sells in the Permian Basin at a discount relative to Cushing prices.”

So, there’s that teeny weeny problemo.

If you think that’s bad, bear in mind what’s happening with natural gas:

“Similarly, the Henry Hub natural gas spot market price fell from a peak of $5.39 per million British thermal units (“MMBtu”) in January 2014 to $1.73 per MMBtu by March 2016, and remains at approximately $2.62 per MMBtu as of the Petition Date. In 2019, natural gas prices at the Waha hub in West Texas have at times been negative, meaning that the Debtors have at times either had to shut in production or pay purchasers to take the Debtors’ natural gas.”

It’s the natural gas equivalent of negative interest rates. 😜🙈

*All in, this fund raised $1.8b of equity. The Sheridan Group, the manager of the debtors, has raised $4.6b across three funds, completing nine major acquisitions for an aggregate purchase price of $5.7b. Only Sheridan II, however, is a debtor (as of now?).

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)

  • Capital Structure: $66 RCF (Bank of America NA), $543.1mm Term Loan (Bank of America NA), $514mm ‘22 13.5%/17% PIK Subordinated Term Loans (Wilmington Trust NA) — see below.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Joshua Sussberg, Steven Serajeddini, Spencer Winters, Stephen Hackney, Rachael Marie Bazinski, Jaimie Fedell, Casey James McGushin) & Jackson Walker LLP (Elizabeth Freeman, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Board of Directors: Alan Carr, Jonathan Foster

      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Administrative agent and collateral agent under the Sheridan II Term Loan Credit Agreements: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Stephen Piraino, Nathaniel Sokol)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Administrative Agent under the Sheridan II RBL: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (William Wallander, Bradley Foxman, Andrew Geppert)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of Subordinated Term Loans (Pantheon Ventures US LP, HarbourVest Partners LP)

      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Gabriel Morgan, Clifford Carlson)

      • Financial Advisor: PJT Partners LP

    • Limited Partner: Wilberg Pincus LLC

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Brian Lennon)

Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 9.34.47 AM.png
Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

🔫New Chapter 11 Filing - Sportco Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)🔫

SportCo Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)

June 10, 2019

Callback to four previous PETITION pieces:

The first one — which was a tongue-in-cheek mock First Day Declaration we wrote in advance of Remington Outdoor Company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy — is, if we do say so ourselves, AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ. The same basic narrative could apply to the recent chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Sportco Holdings Inc., a marketer and distributor of products and accessories for hunting, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, June 10, 2019. Sportco’s customer base consists of 20k independent retailers covering all 50 states. But back to the “MUST READ.” There are some choice bits there:

Murica!! F*#& Yeah!! 

Remington (f/k/a Freedom Group) is "Freedom Built, American Made." Because nothing says freedom like blowing sh*t up. Cue Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." Hell, we may even sing it in court now that Toys R Ushas made that a thing. 

Our company traces its current travails to 2007 when Cerberus Capital Management LP bought Remington for $370mm (cash + assumption of debt) and immediately "loaded" the North Carolina-based company with even more debt. As of today, the company has $950mm of said debt on its balance sheet, including a $150mm asset-backed loan due June '19, a $550mm term loan B due April '19, and 7.875% $250mm 3rd lien notes due '20. Suffice it to say, the capital structure is pretty "jammed." Nothing says America like guns...and leverage

Indeed, this is true of Sportco too. Sportco “sports” $23mm in prepetition ABL obligations and $249.8mm in the form of a term loan. Not too shabby on the debt side, you gun nuts!

More from our mock-up on Remington:

Shortly after Cerberus purchased the company, Barack Obama became president - a fact, on its own, that many perceived as a real "blowback" to gun ownership. Little did they know. But, then, compounding matters, the Sandy Hook incident occurred and it featured Remington's Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle. Subsequently, speeches were made. Tears were shed. Big pension fund investors like CSTRS got skittish AF. And Cerberus pseudo-committed to selling the company. Many thought that this situation was going to spark "change [you] can believe in," lead to more regulation, and curtail gun sales/ownership. But everyone thought wrong. Tears are no match for lobby dollars. Suckers. 

Instead, firearm background checks have risen for at least a decade - a bullish indication for gun sales. In a sick twist of only-in-America fate, Obama's caustic tone towards gunmakers actually helped sell guns. And that is precisely what Remington needed in order to justify its burdensome capital structure and corresponding interest expense. With Hillary Clinton set to win the the election in 2016, Cerberus' convenient inability to sell was set to pay off. 

But then that "dum dum" "ramrod" Donald Trump was elected and he enthusiastically and publicly declared that he would "never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms."  While that's a great policy as far as we, here, at Remington are concerned, we'd rather him say that to us in private and declare in public that he's going to go door-to-door to confiscate your guns. Boom! Sales through the roof! And money money money money for the PE overlords! Who cares if you can't go see a concert in Las Vegas without fearing for your lives. Yield baby. Daddy needs a new house in Emerald Isle. 

Wait? "How would President Trump say he's going to confiscate guns and nevertheless maintain his base?" you ask. Given that he can basically say ANYTHING and maintain his base, we're not too worried about it. #MAGA!! Plus, wink wink nod nod, North Carolina. We'd all have a "barrel" of laughs over that.  

So now what? Well, "shoot." We could "burst mode" this thing, and liquidate it but what's the fun in that. After all, we still made net revenue of $603.4mm and have gross profit margins of 20.9%. Yeah, sure, those numbers are both down from $865.1mm and 27.4%, respectively, but, heck, all it'll take is a midterm election to reverse those trends baby. 

That was a pretty stellar $260mm revenue decline for Remington. Thanks Trump!! So, how did Sportco fare?

Trump seems to be failing to make America great again for those who sell guns.

But don’t take our word for it. Per Sportco:

In the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, the Debtors anticipated an uptick in firearms sales historically attributable to the election of a Democratic presidential nominee. The Debtors increased their inventory to account for anticipated sales increases. In the aftermath of the unexpected Republican victory, the Debtors realized lower than expected sales figures for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, with higher than expected carrying costs due to the Debtors’ increased inventory. These factors contributed to the Debtors tightening liquidity and an industry-wide glut of inventory.

Whoops. Shows them for betting against the stable genius. What are these carrying costs they refer to? No gun sales = too much inventory = storage. Long warehousemen.

Compounding matters, the company’s excess inventory butted with industry-wide excess inventory sparked by “the financial distress of certain market participants.” This pressured margins further as Sportco had to discount product to push sales. This “further eroded…slim margins and contributed to…tightening liquidity.” Per the company:

Many of the Debtors’ vendors and manufacturers suffered heavy losses as a result of the Cabela’s-Bass Pro Shop merger, Dick’s Sporting Good’s pull back from the market, and the recent Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies. Those losses adversely impacted the terms and conditions on which such vendors and manufacturers were willing to extend credit to the Debtors. With respect to the Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies, the dumping of excess product into the marketplace pushed prices—and margins— even lower. The resulting tightening of credit terms eroded the Debtors’ sales and further contributed to the Debtors’ tightening liquidity.

The company also blames some usual suspects for its chapter 11 filing. First, weather. Weather ALWAYS gets a bad rap. And, of course, the debt.

Riiiiiight. About that debt. When we previously asked “Who is Financing Guns?,” the answer, in the case of Remington, was Bank of America Inc. ($BAC)Wells Fargo Inc. ($WFC) and Regions Bank Inc. ($RF). Likewise here. Those same three institutions make up the company’s ABL lender roster. We’re old enough to remember when banks paid lip service to wanting to do something about guns.

One other issue was the company’s inability to…wait for it…REALIZE CERTAIN SUPPLY CHAIN SYNERGIES after acquiring certain assets from once-bankrupt competitor AcuSport Corporation. Per the company:

The lower than anticipated increase in customer base following the AcuSport Transaction magnified the adverse effects of the market factors discussed above and resulted in a faster than expected tightening of the Debtors’ liquidity and overall deterioration of the Debtors’ financial condition.

The company then ran into issues with its pre-petition lenders and its vendors and the squeeze was on. Recognizing that time was wearing thin, the company hired Houlihan Lokey Inc. ($HLI) to market the assets. No compelling offers came, however, and the company determined that a chapter 11 filing “to pursue an orderly liquidation…was in the best interest of all stakeholders.

R.I.P. Sportco.

*****

But not before you get in one last fight.

The glorious thing about first day papers is that they provide debtors with the opportunity to set the tone in the case. The First Day Declaration, in particular, is a narrative. A narrative told to the judge and other parties-in-interest about what was, what is, and what may be. That narrative often explains why certain other requests for relief are necessary: that is, that without them, there will be immediate and irreparable harm to the estate. The biggest one of these is typically a request for authority to tap a committed DIP credit facility and/or cash collateral to fund operations. On the flip side of that request, however, are the company’s lenders. And they often have something to say about that — objections over, say, the use of cash collateral are common.

But you don’t often see an objector re-write the entire frikken narrative and file it prior to the first hearing in the case.

Shortly after the bankruptcy filing, Prospect Capital Corporation (“PCC”), as the second lien term loan agent, unleashed an objection all over the debtors. Per PCC:

Just a few years ago, the Debtors were the largest distributor of firearms in the United States, with reported annual revenue of in excess of $770 million. Contrary to the First Day Declaration filed in these cases, the Debtors’ demise was not due to outside forces such as the “2016 presidential election,” “disruptions in the industry” and “natural disasters. Rather, as a result of dividend recapitalization transactions in 2012 and 2013, the Debtors’ equity owner, Wellspring Capital, “cashed out” in excess of $183 million. After lining their pockets with over $183 million, fiduciaries appointed by Wellspring Capital to be directors and officers of the Debtors grossly mismanaged the business and depleted all reserves necessary to weather the storms and the headwinds the business would face. In a short time, the business went from being the largest firearms distributor in the United States to being liquidated. As a result of years of mismanagement and the failure of the estates’ fiduciaries to preserve value, the Second Lien Lenders will, in all likelihood, recover only a small fraction of their $249.7 million secured loan claim. Years of mismanagement ultimately placed the Debtors in the position where they are in now….

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This sh*t just got much more interesting: y’all know we love dividend recapitalizations. Anyway, PCC went on to object to the fact that this is an in-court liquidation when an out-of-court process would be, in their view, cheaper and just as effective; they also object to the debtors’ proposed budget and use of cash collateral. The upshot is that they see very little chance of recovery of their second lien loan and want to maximize value.

Of course, the debtors be like:

scoreboard.jpeg

The numbers speak for themselves, they replied. They were $X of revenue between 2012 and 2016 and then, after Trump was elected, they’ve been $X-Y%. Plain and simple.

So where does this leave us? After some concessions from the DIP lenders and the debtors, the court approved the debtors requested DIP credit facility on an interim basis. The order preserves PCC’s rights to come back to the court with an argument related to cash collateral after the first lien lenders (read: the banks) are paid off in full (and any intercreditor agreement-imposed limitations on PCC’s ability to fight fall away).

Ultimately, THIS may sum up this situation best:

It’s genuinely difficult to pick the most villainous company in this story. Is it the company selling guns who made a big bet on people’s deepest fears and insecurities and then shit the bed? The private equity company bleeding the gun distributor dry and then running it straight into the ground? Or the other private equity company that is now mad it likely won’t get anything near what it paid out in the original loan to the distributor? Folks...let them fight.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $23.1mm ABL, $249mm term loan (Prospect Capital, Summit Partners)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Timothy Walsh, Darren Azman, Riley Orloff) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Brenna Dolphin, Lindsey Suprum)

    • Board of Directors: Bradley Johnson, Alexander Carles, Justin Vorwerk

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Winter Harbor LLC (Dalton Edgecomb)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc.

    • Claims Agent: BMC Group (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Daniel McGuire, Gregory Gartland, Carrie Hardman) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Amanda Steele)

    • Agent for Second Lien Lenders: Prospect Capital Corporation

      • Legal: Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP (Adam Friedman, Jonathan Koevary) & (local) Blank Rome LLP (Regina Stango Kelbon, Victoria Guilfoyle, John Lucian)

    • Prepetition ABL Lenders: Bank of America NA, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Regions Bank NA

    • Large equityholders: Wellspring Capital Partners, Summit Partners, Prospect Capital Corporation

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Vista Outdoor Sales LLC, Magpul Industries Corporation, American Outdoor Brands Corporation, Garmin USA Inc., Fiocchi of America Inc., FN America LLC, Remington Arms Company LLC)

      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Jeffrey Cohen, Eric Chafetz, Gabriel Olivera) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo)

      • Financial Advisor: Emerald Capital Advisors (John Madden)

Update 7/7/19 #115

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Charlotte Russe Holding Inc.

Charlotte Russe Holding Inc.

February 3, 2019

San Diego-based specialty women’s apparel fast-fashion retailer Charlotte Russe Holding Inc. is the latest retailer to file for bankruptcy. The company has 512 stores in 48 U.S. states. The company owns a number of different brands that it sells primarily via its brick-and-mortar channel; it has some brands, most notably “Peek,” which it sells online and wholesale to the likes of Nordstrom.

The company’s capital structure consists of:

  • $22.8mm 6.75% ‘22 first lien revolving credit facility (ex-accrued and unpaid interest, expenses and fees)(Bank of America NA), and

  • $150mm 8.5% ‘23 second lien term loan ($89.3mm funded, exclusive of unpaid interest, expenses and fees)(Jefferies Finance LLC). The term loan lenders have first lien security interests in the company’s intellectual property.

The company’s trajectory over the last decade is an interesting snapshot of the trouble confronting the brick-and-mortar retail space. The story begins with a leveraged buyout. In 2009, Advent International acquired the debtors through a $380mm tender offer, levering up the company with $175mm in 12% subordinated debentures in the process. At the time, the debtors also issued 85k shares of Series A Preferred Stock to Advent and others. Both the debentures and the Preferred Stock PIK’d interest (which, for the uninitiated, means that the principal or base amounts increased by the respective percentages rather than cash pay interest or dividends being paid over time). The debtors later converted the Preferred Stock to common stock.

Thereafter, the debtors made overtures towards an IPO. Indeed, business was booming. From 2011 through 2014, the debtors grew considerably with net sales increased from $776.8mm to $984mm. During this period, in May of 2013, the debtors entered into the pre-petition term loan, used the proceeds to repay a portion of the subordinated debentures and converted the remaining $121.1mm of subordinated debentures to 8% Preferred Stock (held by Advent, management and other investors). In March 2014, the debtors and its lenders increased the term loan by $80mm and used the proceeds to pay a one-time dividend. That’s right folks: a dividend recapitalization!! WE LOVE THOSE. Per the company:

In May 2014, the Debtors paid $40 million in dividends to holders of Common Stock, $9.8 million in dividends to holders of Series 1 Preferred Stock, which covered all dividends thus far accrued, and paid $65.7 million towards the Series 1 Preferred Stock principal. The Debtors’ intention was to use a portion of the net proceeds of the IPO to repay a substantial amount of the then approximately $230 million of principal due on the Prepetition Term Loan.

In other words, Advent received a significant percentage of its original equity check back by virtue of its Preferred Stock and Common Stock holdings.

Guess what happened next? Well, after all of that money was sucked out of the business, performance, CURIOUSLY, began to slip badly. Per the company:

Following fifteen (15) consecutive quarters of increased sales, however, the Debtors’ performance began to materially deteriorate and plans for the IPO were put on hold. Specifically, gross sales decreased from $984 million in fiscal year 2014 with approximately $93.8 million in adjusted EBITDA, to $928 million in fiscal year 2017 with approximately $41.2 million in adjusted EBITDA. More recently, the Debtors’ performance has materially deteriorated, as gross sales decreased from $928 million in fiscal year 2017 with approximately $41.2 million in adjusted EBITDA, to an estimated $795.5 million in fiscal year 2018 with approximately $10.3 million in adjusted EBITDA.

Consequently, the company engaged in a year-long process of trying to address its balance sheet and/or find a strategic or financial buyer. Ultimately, in February 2018, the debtors consummated an out-of-court restructuring that (i) wiped out equity (including Advent’s), (ii) converted 58% of the term loan into 100% of the equity, (iii) lowered the interest rate on the remaining term loan and (iv) extended the term loan maturity out to 2023. Advent earned itself, as consideration for the cancellation of its shares, “broad releases” under the restructuring support agreement. The company, as part of the broader restructuring, also secured substantial concessions from its landlords and vendors. At the time, this looked like a rare “success”: an out-of-court deal that resulted in both balance sheet relief and operational cost containment. It wasn’t enough.

Performance continued to decline. Year-over-year, Q3 ‘18 sales declined by $35mm and EBITDA by $8mm. Per the company:

The Debtors suffered from a dramatic decrease in sales and in-store traffic, and their merchandising and marketing strategies failed to connect with their core demographic and outpace the rapidly evolving fashion trends that are fundamental to their success. The Debtors shifted too far towards fashion basics, did not effectively reposition their e-commerce business and social media engagement strategy for success and growth, and failed to rationalize expenses related to store operations to better balance brick-and-mortar operations with necessary e-commerce investments.

In the end, bankruptcy proved unavoidable. So now what? The company has a commitment from its pre-petition lender, Bank of America NA, for $50mm in DIP financing (plus $15mm for LOCs) as well as the use of cash collateral. The DIP will roll-up the pre-petition first lien revolving facility. This DIP facility is meant to pay administrative expenses to allow for store closures (94, in the first instance) and a sale of the debtors’ assets. To date, however, despite 17 potential buyers executing NDAs, no stalking horse purchaser has emerged. They have until February 17th to find one; otherwise, they’re required to pursue a “full chain liquidation.” Notably, the debtors suggested in their bankruptcy petitions that the estate may be administratively insolvent. YIKES. So, who gets screwed if that is the case?

Top creditors include Fedex, Google, a number of Chinese manufacturers and other trade vendors. Landlords were not on the top 30 creditor list, though Taubman Company, Washington Prime Group Inc., Simon Property Group L.P., and Brookfield Property REIT Inc. were quick to make notices of appearance in the cases. In total, unsecured creditors are owed approximately $50mm. Why no landlords? Timing. Despite the company going down the sh*tter, it appears that the debtors are current with the landlords (and filing before the first business day of the new month helps too). Not to be cynical, but there’s no way that Cooley LLP — typically a creditors’ committee firm — was going to let the landlords be left on the hook here.

And, so, we’ll find out within the next two weeks whether the brand has any value and can fetch a buyer. In the meantime, Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC will commence liquidation sales at 90+ locations. We see that, mysteriously, they somehow were able to free up some bandwidth to take on an new assignment sans a joint venture with literally all of their primary competitors.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $22.8mm 6.75% ‘22 first lien revolving asset-backed credit facility (ex-accrued and unpaid interest, expenses and fees)(Bank of America NA), $150mm 8.5% ‘23 second lien term loan ($89.3mm funded, exclusive of unpaid interest, expenses and fees)(Jefferies Finance LLC)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Cooley LLP (Seth Van Aalten, Michael Klein, Summer McKee, Evan Lazerowitz, Joseph Brown) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Erin Fay)

    • Independent Director: David Mack

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Brian Cashman)

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Stuart Erickson)

    • Lease Disposition Consultant & Business Broker: A&G Realty Partners LLC

    • Liquidating Agent: Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC and Hilco Merchant Resources LLC

    • Liquidation Consultant: Malfitano Advisors LLC

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Lender ($50mm): Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Julia Frost-Davies, Christopher Carter) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins)

    • Prepetition Term Agent: Jefferies Finance LLC

      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Michael Rupe, W. Austin Jowers, Michael Handler)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Valueline Group Co Ltd., Ven Bridge Ltd., Shantex Group LLC, Global Capital Fashion Inc., Jainson’s International Inc., Simon Property Group LP, Brookfield Property REIT Inc.)

      • Legal: Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman, David Gaffey, Jennifer Wuebker)

      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Edward Kim)

Updated 2/14/19 at 1:41 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Parker Drilling Inc.

Parker Drilling Inc.

12/12/18

Back in October, in “Still Work to Do in Oil Country (Short Oil Field Services Companies),” we wrote the following:

Restructuring professionals attempting to extricate themselves from oil and gas work may have to wait a little bit longer. With companies like Houston-based Parker Drilling Corporation ($PKD) continuing to tread water, there may continue to be action in the space in the very near future. 

We added:

The signs of a near-term (read: Q4 ‘18) bankruptcy filing for Parker Drilling continue to shine through. Back in July, the company implemented a reserve stock split and adopted a short-term shareholder rights plan. While neither initiative, on its own, is dispositive of a chapter 11 filing, they are indicia. The former increases the market price per share of the common stock, ensuring compliance with NYSE listing requirements. Given a delisting notice received back in the spring, some level of stock split was basically a fait accompli. The latter is intended to “protect the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders”and is meant to preserve certain tax attributes that, if lost, would be tremendous value leakage to the estate…uh, company. The company noted:

“The Company believes these Tax Benefits are valuable assets that could offset potential future income taxes for federal income tax purposes. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had approximately $456 million of federal NOLs and $47 million of foreign tax credits.”

Of course, net operating losses only emanate out of a business that is (or was during a given fiscal year) unprofitable for tax purposes. So, there’s that. Which, putting the aforementioned shenanigans aside, is seemingly the bigger problem here.

For its second quarter ended June 30, 2018, PKD reported a net loss of $23.8mm on $118.6mm of revenue, a loss of $2.56/share. Adjusted EBITDA was $18.7mm. While those numbers aren’t so good, to say the least, they actually include a Q-over-Q increase of 8.1% in revenue (thanks to an increase in gross margin). Of course G&A expenses increased by $2.1mm because…wait for it…there were “professional fees fees related to ongoing capital structure analysis during the quarter.” You bet there were, homies.

We continued:

This capital structure isn’t complex and refinancing options, while theoretical, may be difficult given the company’s continued cash burn.

This is the company’s capital structure:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.28.57 PM.png

And so we concluded:

The path forward here given the liquidity needed seems pretty obvious: we expect to see a restructuring support agreement on this bad boy sometime soon with an attempted quick trip through bankruptcy court that de-levers the balance sheet, eliminates interest expense, and positions the company to make the capex necessary to capture the growth projected in the business plan.

So, what’s the latest? Well, as predicted, Houston-backed Parker Drilling Company, an international provider of contract drilling and drilling-related services and rental tools, filed an earnest bankruptcy petition and accompanying papers in the Southern District of Texas. Earnest? Why “earnest”? The company stated:

Adverse macro trends, including and especially the sustained downturn in commodity prices, have reduced demand for oilfield services provided by the Debtors, resulting in idle rigs, and placing downward pressure on the prices the Debtors are able to charge. Moreover, the Debtors are facing near term 2020 maturities of their 2020 Notes and ABL (each as defined in the First Day Declaration), for which the borrowing base has been tightened and which may not be re-financeable in the current environment under the existing capital structure.

Rather than hold out hope for a market recovery, or execute an inferior transaction that would at best provide more onerous financing without addressing their capital structure in a comprehensive manner, the Debtors have negotiated a comprehensive balance sheet reorganization to both reduce leverage and increase liquidity.

Rather than hold out hope for a market recovery.” Those are poignant words that say a lot about the company’s outlook for oil in the near-term. It also says a lot about the company’s capital structure: clearly, there was no chance this company could grow into its balance sheet and/or refinance its upcoming debt. And, so, as we also predicted, the company’s bankruptcy filing is accompanied by a deal in hand with the major players in the company’s capital structure and equity profile: Brigade Capital Management, Highbridge Capital Management, Varde Partners, Whitebox Advisors. These four institutions collectively hold approximately 77% of the unsecured notes, approximately 62% of the outstanding preferred stock, and approximately 15% of the outstanding common stock. They’ve agreed to equitize the notes in exchange for equity in the reorganized company and to participate in a rights offering that will have the effect of capitalizing the reorganized entity with $95mm of new equity. The net effect of all of this will be a $375mm deleveraging of the company’s balance sheet.

The company has a commitment for a $50 DIP credit facility to fund the cases and a $50mm exit facility (with an upsize option up to $100mm) upon its emergence from chapter 11.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)

  • Capital Structure: $80mm ABL (unfunded - Bank of America NA), $225mm ‘20 notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.), $360mm ‘22 notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Christopher Marcus, Brian Schartz, Anna Rotman, Matthew Fagen, Jamie Netznik) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Lacie Melasi, John Walsh)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. (Bassam Latif)

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Consenting Noteholders: Brigade Capital Management, Highbridge Capital Management, Varde Partners, Whitebox Advisors

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc.

Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc.

November 6, 2018

Damn you Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. ($CMG).

It’s been a rough several months for Mexican restaurants. Over the summer, Tennenbaum Capital and Z Capital-owned RM Holdco LLC (Real Mex) filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware and pursued a sale of its business. Now, Texas-based, TPG-owned Taco Bueno Restaurants, Inc., a Tex-Mex quick service restaurant (“QSR”) with 140 owned and 29 franchised locations, has filed a prepackaged bankruptcy that will convey ownership to Taco Supremo LLC, an affiliate of Sun Holdings Inc., which bought-out the debtors’ initial lenders in October. Taco Supremo subsequently signed a restructuring support agreement memorializing its intent to effectuate a debt-for-equity swap and provide the debtors with a DIP credit facility.

So, why is all of this necessary? The company noted:

…while Taco Bueno possesses a traditional brand with a loyal customer base and the potential for future growth under the leadership of its new management team, Taco Bueno’s existing capital structure is unsustainable and its financial performance fell significantly due to, among other things, historical mismatches between price and product value, a lack of product innovation, and deferred maintenance capital investment. In addition, competition in the Mexican food industry – including the rise in popularity of tacos at both QSRs and other types of restaurants – increased substantially in recent years, causing certain Taco Bueno stores to experience stagnant or reduced customer traffic and sales. Moreover, while Taco Bueno recently launched a process to close underperforming stores to better focus on core markets and high-value stores, Taco Bueno continues to suffer from a number of underperforming restaurants. Accordingly, Taco Bueno needs to continue to restructure its lease footprint and renegotiate existing leases to optimize profitability.

Even the “Buenoheads” — yes, that’s actually a thing, apparently — couldn’t save this thing from bankruptcy. The debtors’ EBITDA fell to approximately $17.2 million in 2017 with a projected EBITDA of approximately $5.9 million for 2018, compared to approximately $33 million in 2016 EBITDA and approximately $31 million in 2015 EBITDA. Of course, the $130mm of debt doesn’t help either.

Consequently, to salvage liquidity and allow its bankers to conduct a process, the debtors closed 20 locations in the last year (and are in the midst of negotiations with Spirit Realty Capital Inc. ($SRC), U.S Realty Capital, and Kamin Realty Co., the landlords of over 50% of the debtors’ leases). The management team has turned over and the company attempted a prepetition sale process. That process culminated in the above-noted RSA-based transaction that will attempt to flush the company in and out of bankruptcy court by the middle of December.

  • Jurisdiction: N.D. of Texas

  • Capital Structure: $130.9mm debt     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Vinson & Elkins (David Meyer, Jessica Peet, Paul Heath, Garrick Smith, Matthew Pyeatt, Andrew Geppert)

    • CRO/Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Haywood Miller)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Adam Dunayer)

    • Real Estate Advisor: Jones Lang LaSalle Americas Inc.

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Initial Lender: Bank of America NA

    • Sponsor: TPG Growth III Management LLC

💥New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Sears Holdings Corporation💥

Sears Holdings Corporation

October 15, 2018

Finally.

Early this morning, Illinois-based Sears Holdings Corporation ($SHLD) and approximately 49 affiliated entities (including KMart) finally filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company lists a staggering $11.339 billion of total debts and $6.937 billion of assets.

The well-known company has 866 full-line and specialty stores as of August 4, 2018. In its chapter 11 petition, it boasts of its legacy as an “integrated retailer with significant physical and tangible assets, as well as virtual capabilities enabled through technology.” Yes, you read that correctly: they actually say “virtual capabilities enabled through technology.” That right there may help inform EVERYONE why this storied retailer has found its way into bankruptcy court. To the last, Sears stands out for its ability to appear out of touch.

The company appears to have a commitment for a $1.875 billion debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) asset-backed credit facility, including an increase of $300mm from its existing facility as well as an agreement over the use of the company’s lenders’ cash collateral. According to a company press release, the company is also negotiating an additional $300mm commitment from ESL Investments Inc. (“ESL”), the company’s largest shareholder and the investment vehicle of Eddie Lampert. The company intends to reorganize around a smaller store platform of “EBITDA-positive stores.” To this end, the company will close 142 stores near the end of the year adding to the previously announced 46 stores set to close in November 2018 — potentially further perpetuating the hurt put on U.S.-based malls over the last several years. Meanwhile, the company continues to negotiate an asset purchase agreement with ESL for “a large portion of the Company’s store base.” This would, obviously, keep the enterprise from liquidating and potentially help maintain thousands of jobs: Sears currently employs approximately 90k people.

While Eddie Lampert will remain Chairman of the Board, he has resigned as CEO of the company. Godspeed, Eddie.

The company’s top listed creditors at the time of filing include The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and various trustees under five different tranches of unsecured notes totaling over $3 billion in principal amount (BNY Midwest Trust Company, Computershare Trust Company NA, The Chase Manhattan Bank NA). Trade creditors include Whirlpool Corporation ($23.4mm), Frigidaire Company ($18.6mm), and Winia Daewoo Electronics America ($15.2mm).

We will update this post on Wednesday in our next briefing; we are particularly excited to see how the company spins the “factors” that led to its appearance in bankruptcy court. Here’s one explanation:

And here’s another — seemingly more-on-point — one:

Screen Shot 2018-10-15 at 6.33.14 AM.png
  • Jurisdiction: S.D.N.Y. (Judge Drain)

  • Capital Structure: $11.339b debt     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ray Schrock, Garrett Fail, Jacqueline Marcus, Sunny Singh)

    • CRO/Financial Advisor: M-III Partners, LP (Mohsin Meghji, Colin Adams, Brian Griffith, Christopher Good, Mary Korycki, Kevin Tanaka, Enrique Acevedo, Wesley Sima, Noah Zatzkin, Joseph Frantz, Nicholas Weber, Ravi Ramnani )

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Company

    • Restructuring Committee’s Independent Directors: William Transier, Alan Carr, Paul DePodesta, Ann Reese

    • Restructuring Sub-Committee (RSC): Alan Carr and William Transier

    • Legal to RSC: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Paul Basta, Kelley Cornish, Lewis Clayton, Susanna Buergel, Robert Britton, Jonathan Hurwitz, Emma Carlson, Teresa Lii)

    • Financial Advisors to RSC: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Dennis Stogsdill, Nick Grossi, Brian Corio, Jonah Galaz, Andrew Gasbarra, Jonathan Bain, Jordan Kravette)

    • Investment Banker to RSC: Evercore Group LLC (Daniel Aronson, Jeremy Matican, Guy McCumber, Siddhesh Patkar, Jonathan Kamel, Ajith Sukumar)

    • Conflicts Counsel: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Rolin Bissell, Ryan Bartley, Travis Buchanan)

    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Large Shareholders: ESL Investments. Legal: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP (James Bromley, Sean O’Neal, Andrew Weaver)

    • Prepetition RCF, Term Loans, FILO & DIP ABL Agent: Bank of America NA. Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Paul Leake, Shana Elberg, George Howard)

    • Citibank NA. Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Huebner, Eli Vonnegut)

    • Large Shareholder: Fairholme Capital Management LLC. Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (Andrew Dietderich, Brian Glueckstein, David Zylberberg)

    • PBGC. Legal: Locke Lord LLP (David Wirt)

    • Debtors’ IP/Ground Lease Term Loan Lender: SHLD Lendco LLC. Legal: Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (Joel Levitin, Richard Stieglitz Jr.)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Abid Quereshi, SARA Brauner)

      • Legal (Conflicts): Herrick Feinstein LLP (Sean O’Donnell, Stephen Selbst, Steven Smith)

      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Matt Diaz, Conor Tully, Michael Berkin, Marshal Eisler, Kenny O’Trakoun, Morgan McCaskey, Samuel Star)

      • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey (Saul Burian, Eric Siegert, Brad Geer, Surbhi Gupta, Greg Rinsky, Tom Hedus, Ross Rosenstein, Ryan Conroy, John Hartigan, Ahmed Mumtaz, Jack Foster, James Lai, Natalie Weelborg, Andrew Felman, Matthew Stadtmauer)

    • Cyrus Capital Partners LP

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Eric Reimer, Thomas Kreller, Craig Price)

    • Indenture Trustee to Medium Term Notes: The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.

      • Legal: Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP (James Gadsden, Leonardo Trivigno)

Updated 11/30/18


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New Chapter 11 Filing - Product Quest Manufacturing LLC

Product Quest Manufacturing LLC

9/7/18

Product Quest Manufacturing LLC, a contract manufacturer of sunscreens and other sun care products, OTC drugs, prescription drugs, topical animal health products and cosmetics has filed for bankruptcy in the Middle District of North Carolina. At one point, the company produced $125mm worth of units per year, servicing the likes of drug store retailers (e.g., Walgreens, Rite Aid), big box retailers like Walmart and Target, and discount retailers like Dollar General. With an impressive customer list like that, what could've gone wrong?

The company provides a shockingly blunt reason:

These chapter 11 cases have been caused by ineffective senior leadership, employee turnover, extensive product quality issues and the subsequent recall of many products manufactured in the Daytona Facility due to stability and contamination issues and regulatory compliance issues affecting the Daytona Facility and the Kannapolis Facility.

Wowsers. You don't typically see such a harsh and to-the-point statement like that. But, the company apparently "suffered from operational cost overruns, ineffective production standards and poor pricing practices leading to significant margin erosion." Consequently, the senior lenders called a default and replaced the company's board of managers. It also received a Form 483 notice from the Food and Drug Administration regarding potential FDA violations that include, among other things, "potential cross contamination of human health and animal health products." And we were wondering why we recently started moo'ing. Now we know: it must've been the OTC treatments we purchased at CVS. This is f*cked up. And, accordingly and (apparently) appropriately, the company CEO got binned as a result. 

An investigation by King & Spalding revealed that there were, in fact, quality control issues. A little microbial contamination here. A little compliance deficiency there. Some out of specification products here. A little Staphylococcus aureus here and a little Pseudomonas aeruginosa there. The company implemented quarantines and initiated product recalls (including a CVS nasal spray product). The company also ceased operations at its two facilities. Jokes aside, we hope that no one was severely hurt. Luckily these issues were discovered before things became worse. 

The company will seek to sell its assets in chapter 11. 

  • Jurisdiction: M.D. of North Carolina
  • Capital Structure: $153.6mm secured debt (Madison Capital Funding LLC)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Northern Blue LLP (John Northern, Vicki Parrott, John Paul H. Cournoyer)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Conway MacKenzie Inc. (Joe Geraghty) 
    • Board of Directors Legal: King & Spalding LLP
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Financial Sponsor: Kainos Capital LLC
    • Prepetition Secured Lender: Bank of America NA

New Chapter 11 Filing - Duro Dyne National Corp.

9/7/18

Duro Dyne National Corp., a manufacturer of sheet metal accessories and equipment for the heating, ventilating and air conditioning industry has filed for bankruptcy in the District of New Jersey. It constitutes one of those rare instances where an otherwise healthy business requires bankruptcy protection to ward off potential liability. 

The company reported steadily increasing sales and profits as steel prices fell to historic lows and construction activity continued to rebound from the recession. In 2017, the company had $69mm in sales and $5.2mm in EBITDA. In 2018, steel prices have increased -- in part due to tariffs -- and so the Company also raised prices. It expects $73.6mm of sales and $5.2mm of EBITDA. So what's the issue here? 

Per the company:

Beginning in the mid to late 1980s, the Company was sued on account of Asbestos Personal Injury Claims in various jurisdictions alleging liability for bodily injury allegedly sustained as a result of exposure to products containing asbestos allegedly manufactured and/or distributed by the Company from the 1950s through the 1970s.

Consequently, due to the increasing costs of defending and resolving the asbestos personal injury claims and the decline of insurance proceeds covering them, the company filed for bankruptcy to establish a plan that institutes a "channeling" injunction that directs all present and future asbestos-related demands to a funded trust for handling and payment. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of New Jersey (Judge Kaplan)
  • Capital Structure: $1.29mm funded secured debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Kenneth Rosen, Jeffrey Prol)
    • Financial Advisor: Getzler Henrich & Associates LLC
    • Claims Agent: BMC Group Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Exit Lender: Bank of America NA
    • Ad Hoc Asbestos Claimants Committee
      • Legal: Caplin & Drysdale Chartered (James Wehner, Jeffrey Liesemer)
    • Prepetition Future Claimants Representative
      • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edwin Harron, Sara Beth Kohut)

New Chapter 11 Filing - Open Road Films LLC

Open Road Films LLC

9/6/18

Rough year for movie production houses. After Relativity Media and The Weinstein Company filed chapter 11 cases earlier this year, Open Road Films LLC now finds itself in bankruptcy court. The company behind Jobs, Nightcrawler and other mostly forgettable films has had a dramatic fall from grace after being acquired by current equityholder TMP Holdings from Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment merely a year ago. Though contemplated at the time of acquisition, the company was unable to secure funding to, among other things, restructure the company (in the out-of-court sense) and streamline operations. The question is why? Why couldn't the company secure funding? 

The company notes:

Among other things, increased volatility in overall film performance exacerbated investor concerns regarding the probability and predictability of studio financial success, especially outside of the major studios. This overall volatility was exacerbated by the specific underperformance of certain of the Company’s recent motion picture releases, most of which were initiated by prior management. In addition, competitive options for consumers limit interest in theatrical distribution and the traditional film business model, imposing additional pressure on companies like the Debtors, and further fueling investor skepticism.

In other words, blame Reese Witherspoon ("Home Again" flopped), Jodie Foster ("Hotel Artemis" completely bombed) and Netflix ($NFLX). 

With no incoming funding and a resultant inability to obtain a "going concern" qualification, the company defaulted on its loan with Bank of America. BofA, therefore, limited access to certain deposit accounts, all the while vendors were seeking payments. Already this drama is more interesting than "Home Again." 

The company intends to use the chapter 11 process to market and sell its assets; it does not yet have a stalking horse bidder, though FTI reports that 11 parties have submitted indications of interest. 

The top 40 general unsecured creditors list is a who's who of media elites, including "old media" firms like Viacom Inc. (owed $7mm), The Walt Disney Company (owed $5.1mm), NBCUniversal (owed $4.4mm), Turner Broadcasting System (owed $3.5mm). Other top creditors include Google, Facebook, Snap, Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, and Pandora Media. And Latham & Watkins, which appears to be getting hosed on a half million dollar legal bill. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)
  • Capital Structure: $90.75 mm secured debt (Bank of America NA)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern LLP (Michael Tuchin, Jonathan Weiss, Sasha Gurvitz, Whitman Holt) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Sean Beach, Robert Poppiti Jr., Ian Bambrick)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: FTI Consulting Inc. (Amir Agam)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Lender: Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Paul Hastings LLP (Andrew Tenzer, Shlomo Maza) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden)
    • Prepetition Creditor: East West Bank
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (David Staber) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman)
    • Prepetition Creditor: Bank Leumi USA
      • Legal: Reed Smith LLP (Marsha Houston, Christopher Rivas, Michael Sherman

New Chapter 11 Filing - Gibson Brands Inc.

Gibson Brands Inc.

5/1/18

After months of speculation (which we have covered here and elsewhere), the famed Nashville-based guitar manufacturer has finally filed for Chapter 11. We're old enough to remember this:

Late Tuesday, GIbson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz denied all of the reports and indicated via press release that a plan was underway to salvage the brand.

What Mr. Juszkiewicz didn't say was that "a plan" actually meant a "plan of reorganization." Which is okay: nobody believed him anyway. 

And here's why: in the company's First Day Declaration, the company proudly boasts,

The Debtors' strength, rooted in their iconic Gibson, Epiphone, KRK, and other brands that have shaped the music industry for over 100 years, have been the brands of choice for countless musicians and recording artists, including some of the most legendary guitarists in history such as Muddy Waters, BB King, Elvis Presley, Pete Townsend, Keith Richards, Duane Allman, Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Slash, Dave Grohl, Joe Bonamassa, and Brad Paisley, among others. 

Anyone else see an issue with this lineup? Legends, sure, but not exactly a group of artists you see listed on Coachella posters. Even in a publicly-available document, this company doesn't know how to market itself to the masses. Case and point, after Guitar Center got its out-of-court deal done last week, we wrote the following:

Gibson may want to embrace the present. But we digress. 

Unbeknownst to many, however, Gibson is more than just its legendary guitars. No doubt, guitars are a big part of its business. According to the company's First Day Declaration (which, for the record, is one of the more jumbled incoherent narratives we've seen in a First Day Declaration in some time), 

Gibson has the top market share in premium electric guitars, selling over 170,000 guitars annually in over eighty (80) countries worldwide and selling over 40% of all electric guitars priced above $2,000.

But the company also expanded to include a "Professional Audio" segment, its musical instrument and pro-audio segment ("MI," which is positive cash flow), and a "Gibson Innovations" business ("GI"), which stems from a 2014 leveraged transaction. The latter business has been a drag on the overall enterprise ever since the transaction eventually leading to breaches of certain financial covenants under the company's senior secured bank debt financing agreements. The company was forced to pay down the debt to the tune of $60 million since the Fall of 2017, a cash drain which severely accentuated liquidity issues within that business. It came to this brutal reality: 

...the GI Business became trapped in a vicious cycle in which it lacked the liquidity to buy inventory and drive sales while at the same time it lacked the liquidity to rationalize its workforce to match its diminished operations.

That's rough. Even rougher is that on April 30, 2018, the GI business initiated formal liquidation proceedings under the laws of at least 8 different countries. Looks like Mr. Juszkiewicz' previous expansion "plan" was an utter disaster. 

⚡️Warning: Geeky stuff to follow ⚡️:

Now, the company is left with restructuring around the EBITDA- positive MI business with the hope of maximizing recovery for stakeholders. The holders of 69% of the principal amount of notes (PETITION NOTE: for the uninitiated, this satisfies the 2/3 in amount requirement of the bankruptcy code; unknown whether they satisfy the second prong of 1/2 in number) have entered into a Restructuring Support Agreement which would effectively equitize the notes and transfer ownership of MI to the noteholders. The company has also entered into a $135 DIP credit facility backstopped by an ad hoc group of noteholders to finance the company's trip through bankruptcy (the mechanic of which effectively rolls up some of the prepetition debt into the postpetition facility, giving the noteholders higher distribution priority). 

The RSA envisions a transaction whereby the company will exit bankruptcy with an untapped asset-backed lending facility and enough exit financing to pay off the DIP facility. So, the noteholders will collect some nice fees for about 9 months. The lenders under the DIP facility will have the option to cover the DIP monies into equity in the reorganized company at a 20% discount to the plan's valuation. 

⚡️Geeky Stuff Over. Now Back to Regularly Scheduled Snark ⚡️:

Naturally, current management has somehow convinced the new owners, i.e., the funds converting their notes into equity, that they're so invaluable that they should receive millions in "transition"-based compensation and warrants for upside preservation. Makes total sense. David Berryman, who runs Epiphone, will get a one year employment agreement paying $3.35 million, 5 year-warrants, and health benefits; Mr. Juszciewicz will get a one year "consulting agreement" paying $2.1 million, 5 year-warrants and health benefits (plus other profit-sharing incentives). It sure pays to run a company into bankruptcy these days. Naturally, they'll also get releases from any liability. Because, you know, bankruptcy!!

One final note: Thomas Lauria and White & Case LLP are listed as the 22nd highest creditor. Popping popcorn. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $17.5 million ABL (Bank of America NA)/ $77.4 million Term Loan (GSO Capital Solutions Fund II AIV-I LP), $375 million '18 8.875% senior secured notes (Wilmington Trust NA), $60 million ITLA loan (GI Business only)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP (Michael H. Goldstein, Gregory W. Fox, Barry Z. Bazian) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Stratton, David Fournier, Michael Custer, Marcy McLaughlin)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Brian Fox) 
    • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Jeffrey Finger)
    • Independent Directors: Alan Carr & Sol Picciotto
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (D. Tyler Nurnberg, Steven Fruchter, Sarah Gryll) & (local) Young Conaway (same four names as below)
    • Prepetition ABL Agent: Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Jason Bennett, Christina Wheaton)
    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Shipman & Goodwin LLP (Marie Hofsdal, Patrick Sibley, Seth Lieberman, Eric Monzo)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders
      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Robert Britton, Adam Denhoff, Kellie Cairns) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Sean Greecher, Andrew Magaziner, Betsy Feldman)
    • Ad Hoc Minority Noteholders Committee (Lord Abbett & Co. LLC, Wilks Brothers LLC)
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Steven Levine, Brian Rice) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden)
    • Equity Holder: GSO Capital Partners LP
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (J. Christopher Shore, Andrew Zatz, Richard Kebrdle) & (local) Fox Rothschild LLP (Jeffrey Schlerf, Carl Neff, Margaret Manning)

Updated 5/2 5:12 pm CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - VER Technologies Holdco LLC

VER Technologies Holdco LLC

4/4/18

VER Technologies, a Los Angeles-based provider of for-rent production equipment and engineering support for live and taped television, cinema, live events and broadcast media has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware. We hadn't heard of these guys before and we're guessing that, unless you live in Los Feliz or Silverlake, you haven't either. Suffice it to say that they're they guys behind the guy, so to speak. Recent broadcast work included the 2018 Super Bowl broadcast (eat it Brady); they also serve over 350 live music customers per year including the Biebs and the band-formerly-known-as-Coldplay-now-called-the-Chainsmokers. 

In some respects, this is a story about attempted avoidance of disruption leading to disruption. The company initially specialized in rentals with no equipment customization but, with time, opted to expand its product and service offerings to include customization. This endeavor, however, proved capital intensive to the point where the company exceeded $270 million on its prepetition asset-backed lending facility. This triggered cash sweeps to the company's bank which proved to further constrain liquidity. This sparked a need for an operational and balance sheet restructuring to maximize cash and get the company to the point of a potential transaction.

In other respects, this is another leveraged buy-out that saddled the target company with a wee bit too much debt. Moreover, the company seems to have undertaken a number of ill-advised or ill-executed operational initiatives that, ultimately, undercut revenue. It happens. 

Now the company -- supported by a restructuring support agreement with its lenders (including funds managed by GSO Capital Partners) -- hopes to facilitate a pre-negotiated merger with an entity controlled by Production Resource Group LLCl ("PRG"). PRG is a Jordan Company-owned provider of entertainment and event technology solutions. Naturally, the term lenders will also own a portion of the reorganized company. Per the term sheet, PRG will get 72% preferred and 80% common; the term lenders will get the delta. The reorganized company will still have a meaningful amount of debt on its balance sheet with a proposed new (unquantified) first lien term loan and a $435 million new second lien term loan. 

The company has secured a proposed $364.7 million DIP credit facility ($300mm ABL, $64.7mm Term Loan, of which $50mm is new money) to support its time in bankruptcy. The company seeks to be in and out of bankruptcy court in approximately 115 days. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)
  • Capital Structure: $296.3mm ABL Facility (Bank of America NA), $424.2mm term loan (GSO Capital Partners LP/Wilmington Trust NA), $14mm FILO loan, $18.75mm New FTF Inc. Note, $7.5mm Catterton Notes.  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Joshua Sussberg, Ryan Blaine Bennett, Christine Pirro, Jamie Netznik) & (local) Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Domenic Pacitti, Morton Branzburg)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLC (Lawrence Young, Stephen Spitzer, Bradley Hunter, Christopher Blacker, James Guyton, Brad Hall)
    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP (Nick Leone)
    • Strategic Communications: Joele Frank
    • Independent Director: Eugene Davis
      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis Frankel LLP (Philip Bentley)
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition ABL Agent and DIP ABL Agent:
      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Shana Elberg, Christopher Dressel, Anthony Clark, Robert Weber, Cameron Fee)
      • Financial Advisor: Perella Weinberg Partners
    • DIP Term Loan Agent: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Alston & Bird LLP (Jason Solomon)
    • Supporting Term Loan Lenders: GSO Capital Partners, ABR Reinsurance Ltd., Consumer Program Administrators Inc., Irving LLC
      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Frederick Eisenbeigler, Andrew Gallo, Christopher Carter) & Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Amanda Steele, Joseph Barsalona)
    • 12% Subordinated Noteholder:
      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Jeffrey Pawlitz, Michael Handler)
    • Indenture Trustee FTF Note:
      • Legal: Robins Kaplan LLP (Howard Weg, Michael Delaney)
    • Production Resource Group LLC
      • Legal: Greenberg Traurig LLP (Todd Bowen) & Morrison Cohen LLP (Joseph Moldovan, Robert Dakis)
    • Wells Fargo NA
      • Legal: Otterbourg PC (Andrew Kramer)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: SulmeyerKupetz PC (Alan Tippie, Mark Horoupian, Victor Sahn, David Kupetz) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman, Kevin Hroblak)
      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Carol Cabello) 

Updated 5/19/18

New Chapter 11 - Remington Outdoor Company

Remington Outdoor Company

3/25/18

Remington Outdoor Company, a gun manufacturer, has finally filed for bankruptcy - a day after Americans took to the streets to #MarchforourLives. Ah, bankruptcy irony. The company's operations are truly national in scope; it has manufacturing facilities in New York and Alabama and a primary ammunition plant in Arkansas. Its "principal customers are various mass market retail chains (e.g., Wal-Mart and Dick's Sporting Goods) and specialty retail stores (e.g., Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's) and wholesale distributors (e.g., Sports South)." Guns! #MAGA!!

Why did the company have to file for bankruptcy? We refer you to our mock "First Day Declaration" from February here. Much of it continues to apply. Indeed, our mockery of the change in tone from President Obama to President Trump was spot on: post Trump's election, the company's inventory supply far exceeded demand. The (fictional) threat of the government going house-to-house to collect guns is a major stimulant to demand, apparently. Here is the change in financial performance,

"At the conclusion of 2017, the Debtors had realized approximately $603.4 million in sales and an adjusted EBITDA of $33.6 million. In comparison, in 2015 and 2016, the Debtors had achieved approximately $808.9 million and $865.1 million in sales and $64 million and $119.8 million in adjusted EBITDA, respectively."

Thanks Trump. 

We'd be remiss, however, if we didn't also note that NOWHERE in the company's bankruptcy filings does it mention the backlash against guns or the company's involvement in shootings...namely, the one that occurred in Las Vegas. 

The company, therefore, negotiated with its various lenders and arrived at a restructuring support agreement. The agreement provides for debtor-in-possession credit ($193mm asset-backed DIP + $100mm term loan DIP + $45mm DIP, the latter of which is a roll-up of a bridge loan provided by lenders prior to the filing). Upon the effective date of a plan of reorganization, the third lien lenders and term lenders will own the reorganized company. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $225mm ABL (Bank of America, $114.5mm funded), $550.5mm term loan (Ankura Trust Company LLC), $226mm 7.875% Senior Secured Notes due 2020 (Wilmington Trust NA), $12.5mm secured Huntsville Note     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Gregory Bray, Tyson Lomazow, Thomas Kreller, Haig Maghakian) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, Timothy Cairns, Joseph Mulvihill)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Joseph Sciametta)
    • Investment Banker: Lazard (Ari Lefkovits)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP ABL Agent ($193mm): Bank of America NA (DIP ABL Lenders: Bank of America NA, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Regions Bank, Branch Banking and Trust Company, Synovus Bank, Fifth Third Bank, Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch)
      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Paul Leake, Shana Elberg, Jason Liberi, Cameron Fee)
    • Admin Agent to the DIP TL: Ankura Trust Company LLC
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Darren Klein, Michele McGreal, Dylan Consla) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger LLP (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Joseph Barsalona)
    • Ad Hoc Group of TL Lenders 
      • Legal: O'Melveny & Myers LLP (John Rapisardi, Andrew Parlen, Joseph Zujkowski, Amalia Sax-Bolder) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger LLP (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Joseph Barsalona)
    • Third Lien Noteholders
      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Rachel Strickland, Joseph Minias, Debra McElligott) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Allison Mielke)
    • Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Otterbourg PC (Andrew Kramer)
    • Cerberus Operations and Advisory Company, LLC
      • Legal: Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (David Hillman)
    • Reorganized Board of Directors (Anthony Acitelli, Chris Brady, George W. Wurtz III, G.M. McCarroll, Gene Davis, Ron Coburn, Ken D'Arcy)
  • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
    • Legal: Fox Rothschild LLP (Michael Menkowitz, Paul Labov, Jason Manfrey, Jesse Harris, Seth Niederman)

Updated: 4/27/18

New Chapter 11 Filing - Tops Holding II Corporation

Tops Holding II Corporation

  • 2/21/18 Recap: When a company's "Overview" in its First Day Declaration basically leads with union metrics (12,300 unionized employees of 14,000 total employees) and collective bargaining agreement numbers (12 of them), you know there's gonna be a war with employees. The fact that the footprint is 169 stores-wide in three states almost seems like a footnote. As does the fact that the business started in the 1920s and seemingly thrived through 2007 when, naturally, private equity got involved and went on a debt-ridden acquisition spree. But hang on: we're getting ahead of our skis here. So, what happened here? Well, clearly, the company has to negotiate with its unions; it also seeks to deleverage its ballooning balance sheet and take care of some leases and supply agreements. The company has secured $265mm in DIP financing to fund the cases; it says that it "intend[s] to remain in chapter 11 for approximately six (6) months." We'll believe it when we see it. Anyway, WHY does it need to take all of these steps? Well, as we stated before: private equity, of course. "Despite the significant headwinds facing the grocery industry, over the past five years, the Company has experienced solid financial performance and has sustained stable market share. The vast majority of the Company’s supermarkets generate positive EBITDA and the Company generates strong operating cash flows. Transactions undertaken by previous private equity ownership, however, saddled the Company with an unsustainable amount of debt on its balance sheet. Specifically, the Company currently has approximately $715 million of prepetition funded indebtedness...." Ah, private equity = a better villain than even Amazon (though Amazon gets saddled with blame here too, for the record). But wait: don't forget about the pensions! "[T]he Company has been embroiled in a protracted and costly arbitration with the Teamsters Pension Fund concerning a withdrawal liability of in excess of $180 million allegedly arising from the Company’s acquisition of Debtor Erie Logistics LLC" from its biggest food supplier, C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc., the 10th largest private company in the US. Moreover, the company has been making monthly pension payments; nevertheless, the pension is underfunded by approximately $393mm. The company continues, "Utilizing the tools available to it under the Bankruptcy Code, the Company will endeavor to resolve all issues relating to the Teamsters Arbitration and address its pension obligations, and the Company will take reasonable steps to do so on a consensual basis." Oy. What a hot mess. We can't even read that without ominous music seemingly popping up out of nowhere. More to come.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York

  • Capital Structure: $112mm RCF (inclusive of a $10mm FILO and $34mm LCs, Bank of America NA), $560mm 8% '22 senior secured notes, $67.5mm 9% '21 opco unsecured notes, $8.6mm 8.75%/9.5% '18 holdco unsecured notes

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ray Schrock, Stephen Karotkin, Sunny Singh)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: FTI Consulting Inc. (Michael Buenzow, Armen Emrikian, Paul Griffith, Ronnie Bedway, Andy Kopfensteiner)

    • Investment Banker: Evercore (David Ying, Stephen Goldstein, Jeremy Matican, Elliot Ross, Jonathan Kartus, Andrew Kilbourne)

    • Real Estate Advisor: Hilco Real Estate LLC

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition ABL Agent & DIP ABL Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal Counsel: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Julia Frost-Davies, Amelia Joiner, Matthew Ziegler)

    • Indenture Trustee for Senior Notes due 2018, notes due 2021 and Senior Secured Notes: U.S. Bank NA

      • Legal: Thompson Hine LLP (Irving Apar, Elizabeth Frayer, Derek Wright)

    • Ad Hoc Noteholder Group & DIP TL Lenders (Column Park Asset Management LP, Fidelity Management & Research Company, HG Vora Capital Management LLC, Signature Global Asset Management, Silver Point Capital LP)

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Alan Kornberg, Diane Meyers, Lauren Shumejda)

      • Financial Advisor: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

    • DIP TL Agent: Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Tyler Nurnberg, Alan Glantz)

    • Southpaw Asset Management LP

      • Legal: Cooley LLP (Jeffrey Cohen, Steven Siesser, Sheila Sadighi, Andrew Behlmann)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (PepsiCo, Inc., Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Osterweis Strategic Income Fund, U.S. Bank N.A., the UFCW Local One Pension Fund, the Teamsters Local 264, and Benderson Development Company, LLC)

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Brett Miller, Dennis Jenkins, Jonathan Levine, Erica Richards)

      • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC

New Chapter 11 Filing - The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

  • 2/4/18 Recap: See here
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)
    • Capital Structure: $339mm Tranche A RCF (Bank of America), $150 Tranche A-1 Term Loan, $350mm second lien notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Kelley Cornish, Elizabeth McColm, Claudia Tobler, Alexander Woolverton, Michael Colarossi, Diane Meyers, Moses Silverman) & Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Sean Greecher, Andrew Magaziner, Elizabeth Justison)
    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLC (Holly Etlin, Carrianne Basler, Jim Guglielmo, John Creighton, Ben Chesters, Jamie Strohl, Mitch Chubinsky, Thomas Cole, Daniel Law) 
    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP (Steven Zelin, James Baird, Jon Walter, Vinit Kothary, Sartag Aujla)
    • Real Estate Advisor: A&G Realty Partners LLC
    • Intellectual Property Disposition Consultant: Hilco IP Services (David Peress)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Julia Frost-Davies, Robert A.J. Barry, Amelia Joiner) & Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Joseph Barsalona)
    • Second Lien Noteholders: Alden Global, LLC; B. Riley FBR, Inc.; Bennett Management Corporation; Brigade Capital Management, LP; Riva Ridge Master Fund, Ltd.; Cetus Capital LLC; Contrarian Capital Management LLC; and Wolverine Asset Management, LLC
      • Legal: Jones Day (Bruce Bennett, Joshua Mester, Sidney Levinson, Genna Ghaul, Charles Whittman-Todd) & (local) Cole Schotz PC (Norman Pernick, J. Kate Stickles)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Jeffrey Pomerantz, Robert Feinstein, Bradford Sandler)
      • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC (David MacGreevey)
    • Prospective Buyer: DW Partners LP
      • Legal: DLA Piper LLP (Stuart Brown, R. Craig Martin, Jason Angelo, Richard Chesley, John Lyons, Oksana Rosaluk)

Updated 4/10/18

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Cenveo Inc.

Cenveo Inc.

  • 2/2/18 Recap: Publicly-traded ($CVO) large envelope and label manufacturer with roots tracing back 100 years filed for bankruptcy. Interestingly, you, our treasured PETITION readers, probably interact with Cenveo's products in your day-to-day life. Cenveo prints comic books you can buy at the bookstore, produces specialized envelopes used by JPMorgan Chase Bank ($JPM) and American Express ($AMEX) to deliver credit card statements, and manufactures point of sale roll receipts used in cash registers and prescription labels found on medication at national pharmacies. Why did it file for bankruptcy? Disruption. And debt. The company notes that its filing was necessary to tame its burdensome funded debt and corresponding annual $99.4mm debt payments (inclusive of cash and "principle" payments). In light of its leverage, the company apparently also suffered from other pressures on the business, including restrictive trade terms and/or the departure of business from vendors. But, wait! There's more. And its textbook disruption. Per the company, "In addition to Cenveo’s leverage issues, macroeconomic factors, including the introduction of new e-commerce, digital substitution for products, and other technologies, are transforming the industry. Consumers increasingly use the internet and other electronic media to purchase goods and services, pay bills, and obtain electronic versions of printed materials. Moreover, advertisers increasingly use the internet and other electronic media for targeted campaigns directed at specific consumer segments rather than mail campaigns." Ouch. To put it simply, every single time you opt-in for an electronic bank statement, you're f*cking over Cenveo. More from the company, "As society has become increasingly dependent on digital technology products such as laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers, spending on advertising and magazine circulation has eroded, resulting in an overall decline in the demand for paper products, and in-turn lowering reliance on certain of Cenveo’s print marketing business. In addition, there is generally a decline in supply of paper products in the industry, such that only a handful of paper mills control the majority of the paper supply. As a result, paper mills and other vendors that sell paper products have a large amount of leverage over their customers, including Cenveo. The overall decline in the paper industry combined with the diminished supply in paper products has led to overall decline in the industry, dramatically impacting Cenveo’s revenues." Consequently, the company has spent years trying to streamline operations and cut costs: it is not entirely clear from the company's filing, but this disruption clearly led to the "downsizing [of] its workforce," a reduction in its geographic footprint, and asset dispositions. But, ultimately, earnings couldn't manage the balance sheet. The company engaged its various parties in interest and was able to secure a (shaky?) restructuring support agreement and a commitment of financing in the amount of a $190 million ABL DIP Facility provided by the Prepetition ABL Lenders and a new $100 million DIP Term Facility backstopped by more than a majority of the holders of First Lien Notes. It will need to address its underfunded pensions (approximately $92.9mm). 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York 
  • Capital Structure: see below.
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Jayme Sprayragen, Jonathan Henes, Joshua Sussberg, Michael Slade, Gregory Pesce, Melissa Koss, George Klidonas, Natasha Hwangpo)
    • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC (Eric Koza)
    • Investment Banker: Rothschild Inc. (Neil Augustine, Dan Skolds, Matthew Chou, Philip Engel, Daniel Flanary, Thomas Galluccio, Trip Burke, Farhat Suvhanov)
    • Real Estate Consultants: VanRock Real Estate Consulting LLC
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • New Independent Director: Eugene Davis
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition ABL Agent; $190mm ABL DIP Facility Agent: Bank of America NA
    • $100mm DIP Term Facility Agent: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
    • FILO Notes Trustee/First Lien Notes Trustee/Second Lien Notes Trustee/Unsecured Notes Trustee: Bank of New York Mellon
      • Legal: Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP (Joseph Schwartz, Curtis Plaza, Tara Schellhorn)
    • FILO Noteholder: Allianz GI US High Yield Fund
    • First Lien and Second Lien Noteholder: Brigade Capital Management, LP
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Michael Stamer, David Zensky, Stephanie Lindemuth, James Savin, Kevin Eide)
    • Ad Hoc Committee of First Lien Noteholders
      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Brett Lawrence, Erez Gilad, Matthew Garofalo, Gabriel Sasson)
      • Financial Advisor: Ducera Partners LLC
    • Examiner: Susheel Kirplani
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Kenneth Rosen, Mary Seymour, Bruce Buechler, Bruce Nathan)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Samuel Star)
Source: DIP Motion

Source: DIP Motion

Updated 4/2/18

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Charming Charlie Holdings Inc.

Charming Charlie Holdings Inc.

  • 12/11/17 Recap: A mere two weeks before Christmas, another retailer falls into bankruptcy, capping a 2017 retail bloodbath. Here, the Houston-based specialty retailer focused on colorful fashion jewelry, handbags, apparel, gifts, and beauty products follows a long line of retailers into bankruptcy court. In doing so, it demonstrates that the "treasure hunt" experienced often touted as a plus for discount retailers like T.J. Maxx ($TJX), doesn't always hold; it also shows that the difficulties apparent in women's specialty retail are demography-agnostic (here, the core audience is women ages 35-55 - in contrast to, say, rue21). The company blames (i) "adverse macro-trends" and (ii) operational shortfalls, e.g., merchandising miscalculations, lack of inventory, an overly broad vendor base), for its underperformance and reduced sales. EBITDA declined 75% "in the last several fiscal years." 75-effing-percent! With a limited amount of money available under its revolving credit facility and even less cash on hand, "Charming Charlie is out of cash to responsibly operate its business." Ouch. Rough timing. Only subject to a restructuring would lenders support the company; accordingly, the company has entered into a restructuring support agreement with 80% of the term lenders which includes a $20mm new-money cash infusion via a DIP credit facility (the facility includes, in total, a $35mm ABL and a $60mm TL...so yes, a proposed roll-up of $75mm of prepetition debt into a DIP). The company has also commenced the closure of 100 of its 370 stores, a meaningful reduction in its brick-and-mortar footprint (PETITION NOTE: the usual array of landlords, i.e., General Growth Properties ($GGP), have made a notice of appearance). Note the carefully crafted language the company deploys in its initial filing, "The Debtors anticipate 276 go-forward locations following the first round of store closures." Key words, "FIRST ROUND." In other words, the ~100 stores the company notes that it is closing (and that it seeks to retain Hilco for) may just be the beginning. While the company leaves the door open for a sale, the current agreement contemplates the equitization of the term loan (with added equity weight to those providing DIP financing) and a post-emergence debt load of $85mm. 
  • Some other takeaways:
    • (1) the fashion industry has suffered a 15% downturn in fashion jewelry sales (and the company experienced a disproportionate 22% decline itself),
    • (2) vendors and factorers continue to be aggressive with constrictive trade terms and protect their turf (similar here to Toys R Us),
    • (3) Kirkland & Ellis LLP appears to effectively deploy its network to populate Boards of Directors (here, one of the independents appointed to the Board in July 2017 has ties to Gymboree and Toys R Us, two Kirkland clients),
    • (4) Guggenheim's efforts to sell this hot mess were unsuccessful pre-petition (query whether they'll have better luck post-petition...we doubt it),
    • (5) recall the words "first round" when you consider that even landlords for locations that remain open will be squeezed as the company seeks "to amend lease terms to reduce occupancy costs and obtain rent abatements for the first quarter of 2018," 
    • (6) this restructuring will lead to some supply chain pain as the company streamlines the vendor base down to 80 from 175, and
    • (7) its hard out there for a pimp (in this case: Charlie Chanaratsopon "vacated" his role as CEO and an interim CEO has taken the helm). 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $22mm '20 ABL (Bank of America NA), $132mm '19 TL (Wilmington Savings Trust)  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Joshua Sussberg, Christopher Greco, Aparna Yemamandra, Rebecca Blake Chaikin, Michael Esser, Anna Rotman) & (local) Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Dominic Pacitti, Michael Yurkewicz, Morton Branzburg)
    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLC
    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Stuart Erickson)
    • Liquidation Agent: HIlco Merchant Resources LLC (Ian Fredericks)
    • Real Estate Advisor: A&G Realty Partners LLC
    • Claims Agent: Rust Consulting/Omni Bankruptcy (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP ABL Agent/Prepetition ABL Agent: Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Robert Barry, Julia Frost-Davies, Amelia Joiner) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PC (Mark Collins, David Queroli)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Term Loan Lenders
      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Jeffrey Saferstein, Adam Denhoff, Sharad Thaper) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, M. Blake Cleary, Shane Reil)

12/13/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - REAL ALLOY (Real Industry Inc.)

REAL ALLOY - Real Industry Inc.

  • 11/17/17 Recap: This one is going to be a snorer for those of you who don't like to geek out over the technical intricacies of commodities businesses. Here, REAL ALLOY is a publicly-traded holding company ($RELY) that leverages its substantial net operating losses to improve the free cash flow position of various undervalued businesses that it acquires. The company acquired Real Industry in 2015 from Aleris Corporation (formerly bankrupt) for $554.5mm, substantially leveraging its balance sheet in the process. Post-acquisition, Real Alloy became one of the largest aluminum recyclers in North America and Europe with products and services availed to wrought alloy processers, automotive original equipment manufacturers (read: big car companies), foundries and casters. In other words, the company serves the automotive, consumer packaging, aerospace, building and construction, steel and durable goods industries by processing new scrap, old scrap, and various aluminum byproducts. All of this puts the company squarely into the aluminum recycling supply chain. The company blames the filing on weakness in the steel industry, the strong U.S. dollar creating arbitrage opportunity, operational setbacks (heightened, to some degree, by Hurricane Harvey), and a reduction in credit insurance and tightening supplier terms. The company is seeking approval of a $365mm DIP credit facility to facilitate the case wherein it hopes to preserve the value of its NOLs and pursue a transaction with a new strategic partner.  
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $96mm ABL (Bank of America, NA), $305mm '19 10% senior secured notes (Wilmington Trust, NA)  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Gary Lee, Todd Goren, Mark Lightner, Benjamin Butterfield, J. Alexander Lawrence, Geoffrey Peck) & (local) Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP (Mark Minuti, Monique Bair DiSabatino, Sharon Levine)
    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC
    • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Noteholder Group
      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Richard Levy, Jason Gott, Ted Dillman) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (MIchael Nestor, Kara Hammond Coyle)

Updated 11/17/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - ExGen Texas Power LLC

ExGen Texas Power LLC

  • 11/7/17 Recap: The last 12 months haven't been friendly to companies in the power space. The following have filed for bankruptcy: Panda Temple Power LLC, Westinghouse Electric Company LLC, GenOn Energy Inc., Illinois Power Generating Co., and La Paloma Generating Company LLC. Here, the owner of five natural-gas-fired power generation projects in the great state of Texas filed for bankruptcy in the face of significant headwinds. Literally. In its bankruptcy papers, the company primarily blames decreased demand and, in turn, decreased revenue, on an increase in wind production. And mild weather. Indeed, unlike retailers who incessantly blame weather for poor performance, this is actually believable. The company notes, "public policy initiatives and incentives continue to promote the development of additional wind capacity, placing downward pressure on wholesale power prices. Such additional capacity, coupled with low natural gas prices and mild and windy weather, have exacerbated the Debtors' financial struggles. By way of example, the cost per megawatt hour in 2008 was more than $70; in 2016, it was less than $25, and just prior to the Petition Date, it was approximately $25. These factors have persisted, as additional wind and other capacity is being added to the grid, which has driven down prices in light of relatively flat demand, thereby further constricting the Debtors' revenues and cash flow." In light of these issues, the company hired a banker to market the assets and only non-Debtor Exelon Generation Company LLC bit on one of the five debtor projects to the tune of $60mm (plus various forms of other consideration). The debt in the other four projects will be equitized and the term lenders will now be owners of power generation projects, subject to approval of a plan of reorganization. Interestingly, this all comes in the same week that a proposed tax overhaul bill by the House Republicans seeks to significantly curtail wind energy production tax credits
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
  • Capital Structure: $660mm first lien TL (funded, ex-interest)(Bank of America NA)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceschi, Paul Heath, Zachary Shapiro, Joseph Barsalona)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: FTI Consulting (David Rush)
    • Investment Banker: Scotia Capital (USA) Inc.
    • Independent Board of Director: Alan Carr
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name for docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest: 
    • Asset Purchaser: Exelon Generation Company LLC
      • Legal: DLA Piper (US) LLP (Richard Chesley, Daniel Simon)
    • TL Agent: Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (Louis Strubeck, Greg Wilkes) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott)
    • Commodity Hedge Counterparty: Merrill Lynch Commodities Inc.
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Angela Libby) & (local) Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Jeremy Ryan, R. Stephen McNeill, D. Ryan Slaugh)

Updated: 11/8/17 at 1:00pm CT (No UCC)