🍤New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - RUI Holding Corp.🍤

RUI Holding Corp.

July 7, 2019

Back in October 2016, in the context of Sun Capital Partners’-owned Garden Fresh Restaurant Intermediate Holdings bankruptcy filing, we asked, “Are Progressives Bankrupting Restaurants?” We wrote:

Morberg's explanation for the bankruptcy went a step farther. He noted that cash flow pressures also came from increased workers' compensation costs, annual rent increases, minimum wage increases in the markets they serve, and higher health benefit costs -- a damning assessment of popular progressive initiatives making the rounds this campaign season. And certainly not a minor statement to make in a sworn declaration.  

It's unlikely that this is the last restaurant bankruptcy in the near term. Will the next one also delineate progressive policies as a root cause? It seems likely.

There have been a plethora of restaurant-related bankruptcy filings between then and now and many of them have raised rising costs as an issue. Perhaps none as blatantly, however, than Sun Capital Partners’ portfolio companies: enter RUI Holding Corp and its affiliated debtors, Restaurants Unlimited Inc. and Restaurants Unlimited Texas Inc. (the “Debtors”).

On July 7, 2019, the Sun Capital-owned Debtors filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware. The Debtors opened their first restaurant in 1969 and now own and operate 35 restaurants in 6 states under, among 14 others, the trade names “Clinkerdagger,” “Cutters Crabhouse,” “Maggie Bluffs,” and ”Horatio’s.” The Debtors note that each of their restaurants offer “fine dining” and “polished casual dining” “situated in iconic, scenic, high-traffic locations.” Who knew that if you want something to scream “iconic” you ought to name it Clinkerdagger?

As we’ve said time and time again, casual dining is a hot mess. Per the Debtors:

…the Company's revenue for the twelve months ended May 31, 2019, was $176 million, down 1% from the prior year. As of the Petition Date, the Company has approximately $150,000 of cash on hand and lacks access to needed liquidity other than cash flow from operations.

The Debtors have over $37.7mm of secured debt; they also owe trade $7.6mm. There are over 2000 employees, of which 168 are full-time and 50 are salaried at corporate HQ in Seattle Washington.

But enough about that stuff. Back to those damn progressives. Per the Debtors:

Over the past several years, certain changes to wage laws in the Debtors’ primary geographic locations coupled with two expansion decisions that utilized cash flow from operations resulted in increased use of cash flow from operations and borrowings and restricted liquidity. These challenges coupled with additional state-mandates that will result in an additional extraordinary wage hike in FYE 2020 in certain locations before all further wage increases are subject to increases in the CPI and the general national trend away from casual dining, led to the need to commence these chapter 11 cases.

They continue:

Over the past three years, the Company’s profitability has been significantly impacted by progressive wage laws along the Pacific coast that have increased the minimum wage as follows: Seattle $9.47 to $16.00 (69%), San Francisco $11.05 to $15.59 (41%), Portland $9.25 to $12.50 (35%). As a large employer in the Seattle metro market, for instance, the Company was one of the first in the market to be forced to institute wage hikes. Currently in Seattle, smaller employers enjoy a statutory advantage of a lesser minimum wage of $1 or more through 2021, which is not available to the Company. The result of these cumulative increases was to increase the Company’s annual wage expenses by an aggregate of $10.6 million through fiscal year end 2019.

For a second we had to do a double-take just to make sure Andy Puzder wasn’t the first day declarant!

Interestingly, despite these seemingly OBVIOUS wage headwinds and the EVEN-MORE-OBVIOUS-CASUAL-DINING-CHALLENGES, these genius operators nevertheless concluded that it was prudent to open two new restaurants in Washington state “in the second half of 2017” — at a cost of $10mm. Sadly, “[s]ince opening, the anticipated foot traffic and projected sales at these locations did not materialize….” Well, hot damn! Who could’ve seen that coming?? Coupled with the wage increases, this was the death knell. PETITION Note: this really sounds like two parents on the verge of divorce deciding a baby would make everything better. Sure, macro headwinds abound but let’s siphon off cash and open up two new restaurants!! GREAT IDEA HEFE!!

The Debtors have therefore been in a perpetual state of marketing since 2016. The Debtors’ investment banker contacted 170 parties but not one entity expressed interested past basic due diligence. Clearly, they didn’t quite like what they saw. PETITION Note: we wonder whether they saw that Sun Capital extracted millions of dollars by way of dividends, leaving a carcass behind?? There’s no mention of this in the bankruptcy papers but….well…inquiring minds want to know.

The purpose of the filing is to provide a breathing spell, gain the Debtors access to liquidity (by way of a $10mm new money DIP financing commitment from their prepetition lender), and pursue a sale of the business. To prevent additional unnecessary cash burn in the meantime, the Debtors closed six unprofitable restaurants: Palomino in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Bellevue, Washington; Prime Rib & Chocolate Cake in Portland, OR; Henry’s Tavern in Plano, Texas; Stanford’s in Walnut Creek, California; and Portland Seafood Co. in Tigard, Oregon. PETITION Note: curiously, only one of these closures was in an “iconic” location that also has the progressive rate increases the Debtors took pains to highlight.

It’s worth revisiting the press release at the time of the 2007 acquisition:

Steve Stoddard, President and CEO, Restaurants Unlimited, Inc., said, “This transaction represents an exciting partnership with a skilled and experienced restauranteur that has the requisite financial resources and deep operating experience to be instrumental in strengthening our brands and building out our footprint in suitable locations.”

Riiiiight. Stoddard’s tenure with Sun Capital lasted all of two years. His successor, Norman Abdallah, lasted a year before being replaced by Scott Smith. Smith lasted a year before being replaced by Chris Harter. Harter lasted four years and was replaced by now-CEO, Jim Eschweiler.

A growing track record of bankruptcy and a revolving door in the C-suite. One might think this may be a cautionary tale to those operators in the market for PE partners.*

*Speaking of geniuses, it’s almost as if Sun Capital Partners thinks that things disappear on the internets. Google “sun capital restaurant unlimited” and you’ll see this:

Source: Google

Source: Google

Click through the first link and this is what you get:

Source: Sun Capital Partners

Source: Sun Capital Partners

HAHAHAHAHA. WHOOPS INDEED!

THEY DELETED THAT SH*T FASTER THAN WE COULD SAY “DIVIDEND RECAP.”


  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $37.7mm (plus $1.7mm of accrued and unpaid interest)(Fortress Credit Co LLC)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Domenic Pacitti, Michael Yurkewicz, Sally Veghte)

    • Financial Advisor: Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC (David Bagley)

    • Investment Banker: Configure Partners LLC

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

    • Board of Directors: Stephen Cella, Jonathan Jackson, James Eschweiler

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • PE Sponsor: Sun Capital Partners Inc.

    • Prepetition Agent & DIP Agent ($10mm): Fortress Credit Co LLC

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Tyler Brown, Justin Paget) & Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown (Michael Busenkell)

      • Financial Advisor: Grant Thornton LLP

    • DIP Lenders: Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund LP, NXT Capital LLC

      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Prisca Kim)

Updated 7/7/19

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - HDR Holding Inc. (Schramm Inc.)⛽️

Jim Carrey Drill.gif

June 24, 2019

It stands to reason that businesses centered upon servicing mining and oil and gas drilling rigs may be suffering a bit in the current — and by “current,” we mean the last five-or-so years — macroeconomic environment. HDR Holding Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company started in 1900(!), along with certain debtor affiliates, produces “a variety of mobile, top-head hydraulic rotary drilling rigs that are mounted on trucks, tracks and trailers.” The company makes money by (i) manufacturing and selling their various rig models to drillers, (ii) selling consumable drill parts that naturally deteriorate over time, and (iii) servicing their equipment. For reasons that are, by now, blatantly obvious to anyone following the distressed world, oil and gas drilling hasn’t exactly been an obscenely profitable endeavor these last few years (or, in the case of certain drilling regions, EVER, really).

And so demand for the debtors’ wares is down. Per the debtors:

Given its strong connections to the oil and gas industry, the Company has faced significant challenges pervasive in the industry over the past three to five years. Numerous oil and gas producers have significantly curtailed, if not entirely ceased, drilling new wells in response to declines in commodity prices that make such projects uneconomical. The result of this trend for the Company has been a reduced demand for both new rigs and for the related consumable drill parts as existing rig assemblies are idled, which has led to the Debtors failing to meet revenue projections and maintain compliance with the covenants under their prepetition credit facilities.

Ah, yes, the debt. The debtors have approximately $20mm in debt spread out across three different term loan facilities. In an attempt to better service this debt, the debtors have pivoted their sales efforts “to a steadier mining sector” (Bitcoin, maybe? We kid, we kid), now sell aftermarket equipment, and have “managed” their workforce and expenses to preserve cash with the hope that oil and gas might cover. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t. Nevertheless, the debtors purport to have increased performance over the last few years. Just not enough to service their capital structure.

Accordingly, over the last eight months, the debtors and their advisors have pursued a sale process with the hope of selling the business as a going concern. No third-party purchaser came forward pre-petition, unfortunately, and so the debtors seek to pursue a sale to their largest pre-petition equityholder…which also happens to be their largest pre-petition lender…AND which also happens to be their proposed DIP lender (GenNx360 Capital Parters LP). The committed DIP is $6mm at 12% and the proposed purchase price is $10.3mm plus a credit bid of the $6mm DIP amount. Pursuant to the terms of the DIP, the debtors seek to have a sale hearing on or about August 19 to have some cushion in advance of the August 28 sale order milestone under the proposed DIP.

We’ll, therefore, have at least one data point by the end of summer to show us how bullish folks are vis-a-vis a recovery in the oil and gas market.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $5.3mm Term Loan A (Hark Capital I LP), $6.5mm Term Loan B (GenNx360), $6mm Term Loan C (Citizens Bank NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Sean Greecher, Pauline Morgan,

    • Investment Banker: FocalPoint Partners LLC (Michael Fixler)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Largest EquityHolder & Stalking Horse Purchaser: GenNx360 Capital Partners L.P.

    • DIP Lender ($6mm at 12%): Schramm II Inc. (an acquisition vehicle created by GenNx360)

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Carey Schreiber) & (local) Robinson+Cole LLP (Jamie Edmonson)

    • Term Loan A Lender: Hark Capital I LP

      • Legal: Perkins Coie LLP (Jordan Kroop) & (local) The Rosner Law Group LLC (Frederick Rosner)

Updated 7/7 #65

🔫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 - Insys Therapeutics Inc.🏥

Insys Therapeutics Inc.

June 10, 2019

Within a week of a massive settlement entered into with the United States Department of Justice, Insys Therapeutics Inc. ($INSY) and six affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware.* The company is a specialty pharmaceutical company that commercializes drugs and drug delivery systems for targeted therapies (read: it manufactures opioids); it has two marked products. These products, if prescribed and used in the right way, aren’t in and of themselves evil (though former management is another story). Subsys is used for cancer patients and is delivered in the (non-invasive) form of an under-the-tongue spray. Syndros is used to treat loss of appetite and anorexia associated with weight loss in people with AIDS as well as nausea and vomiting caused by anti-cancer medicine. Not one to miss out on all the latest fads, the company also apparently has cannabinoid-based formulations in its pipeline. Because, like, to the extent the company wants to pursue a sale, nothing will get investor juices flowing like cannabinoid! Will its marketing get done via Snapchat and its sales conducted via the blockchain? Maybe it ought to package its formulations with fake meat. Lit!!

All in, the company owns 94 worldwide patents and 62 patent applications with expiration dates ranging between 2022 and 2039. In other words, it does have some potentially valuable intellectual property.

The company’s synopsis of why it is now in bankruptcy court reflects the world of opioid producers today:

…the Debtors are facing extensive litigation relating to their SUBSYS® product (“Subsys”), which is a prescription opioid. As of the Petition Date, one or more of the Debtors have been named in approximately one thousand lawsuits, and the Debtors anticipate that additional lawsuits may be commenced in the future. Some of the litigation they are facing is common to all opioid manufacturers, while other claims are based on particular alleged activities of the Debtors’ former executives, many of whom either pleaded guilty to or were convicted after trial of federal criminal activity relating to such activities. The expenses and settlement costs resulting from such litigation have been substantial, consuming large portions of the Debtors’ revenue and liquidity.

At the same time, over the last few years, the Debtors’ revenues from Subsys have been declining rapidly as a result of the increased national scrutiny of prescription of opioids by healthcare professionals, the resulting high-profile political and legal actions taken against manufacturers and distributors of opioids, and the specific news relating to the former executives’ criminal activity. Moreover, although the Debtors have promising products in the pipeline, those products are not yet approved for production, require significant additional investment to bring to market, and are not expected to generate revenue in the near term. As a smaller company than some other opioid manufacturers, with over 90% of its current revenue coming from the sale of opioids, Insys could not withstand the concurrent negative impact of massive litigation costs and significant opioid revenue deterioration. These factors have caused a substantial cash drain on the company to the point where, despite the Debtors’ best efforts, they risk running out of cash in 2019. (emphasis added)

We quoted that bit at length because it captures the risk that all opioid manufacturers face today given what appears to be pervasive sales and prescription practices across the country, subsuming countless companies all seeking sales and profits often in the name of shareholder value. Which is not to say that all companies and company management teams are equal: while the jury is still out in a variety of cases, here, we know that former company management engaged in some shady-a$$ methods to enrich themselves. Per Bloomberg:

In May, Insys founder and former Chief Executive Officer John Kapoor, 75, and four former executives were convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to bribe doctors to boost off-label prescriptions of Subsys, a fentanyl spray originally intended to treat cancer pain. The executives baited doctors with sham speaker fees, lavish dinners and nightclub outings, and then duped insurers into covering the prescriptions, prosecutors said. Kapoor and the others each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in September.

A pandemic of addiction in Wyoming, Oklahoma and elsewhere, powered by some corrupt-AF executives and their bottles-and-models loving doctor homies.

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The debtors filed their bankruptcy cases to (i) trigger the automatic stay, a statutorily imposed injunction that will, for the time being, halt ongoing litigation, (ii) pursue a sale of substantially all of their assets, and (iii) implement procedures designed to estimate categories of claims and impose distribution procedures via a plan of reorganization. Moreover, the debtors hope that a court-supervised proceeding in chapter 11 will provide the structure required to enter into additional settlements with other large groups of claimants.

As for current claims, there are lot (including a variety of professional services claims on account of indemnities and otherwise — a lot of lawyers are likely to have write-offs here). But the company has no funded debt and so the proceeds of any sale will, after professionals are paid, go to general unsecured creditors. First and foremost, the DOJ — on account of its allowed general unsecured claim ($243mm, but capped at a $195mm recovery inclusive of a $5mm prepetition payment). The DOJ will have to contend with, on an equal basis, other federal actions/settlements, state actions, municipal actions, and insurance, personal injury, securities and indemnity claimants. It’s a liability lovefest!

To address these liabilities, the debtors need asset value. To that end, the debtors are looking to establish a global sale process for their IP; they’re also looking at clawing back certain indemnification amounts they’ve paid over the years on behalf of their seemingly corrupt-AF former management; finally, they may pursue claims against their insurers for wrongful denial of coverage. All in, the debtors are seeking to maximize their estates for the purposes of broadening the potential pool for distribution to claimants. We’re all for that objective provided it can be done in a cost effective way — a rare accomplishment, these days, in bankruptcy.

*The stock, which had been trading at $1.31/share at market close on Friday, plummeted 51.45% on Monday upon the news of the bankruptcy filing. This prompted The Wall Street Journal’s Charley Grant to quip, “So much for efficient markets.” He continued:

Why the news took anyone by surprise, however, is more of a mystery. After all, Insys had given investors fair warning, just days after a federal jury convicted five former employees of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to boost opioid sales. The company said in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that “it may be necessary... to file a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in order to implement a restructuring.”

In case that hint was too subtle, investors got another one last week, when Insys agreed to settle criminal and civil claims with the Justice Department for $225 million.

He forgot to mention another sign. In March we wrote:

Opioids (Long Professional Retentions)Insys Therapeutics Inc. ($INSY) has JMP Securities pursuing a divestiture of its fentanyl sublinqual spray, Subsys. The company revealed this week that Lazard has now also been hired. Per Reuters, a company spokesperson stated:

“We engaged Lazard thereafter to advise us on our capital planning and strategic alternatives across the business. These are two independent efforts.”

What kind of independent effort? Color us suspicious.

“Color us suspicious” was not-so-subtle code for “this f*cker is going to file for bankruptcy, people.” So, to Mr. Grant’s point, it should have been abundantly clear what was going to happen to any market follower actually paying attention.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: No funded debt.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich, Candace Arthur, Olga Peshko, Brenda Funk, Ramsey Scofield, Peter Isakoff ) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Paul Heath, Amanda Steele, Zachary Schapiro)

    • Board of Directors: John McKenna, Trudy Vanhove, Rohit Vishnoi, Vaseem Mahboob, Andrew Long, Elizabeth Bohlen

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (Andrew Yearley)

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (McKesson Corporation, Infirmary Health Hospitals Inc., Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co. d/b/a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, LifePoint Health Inc., Deborah Fuller, Julie Kay, James Starling Jr., Angela Mistrulli-Cantone, Lisa Mencucci)

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Daniel Golden, Mitchell Hurley, Arik Preis) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Erin Fay, Daniel Brogan)

    • MDL Plaintiffs

      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (David Molton, Gerard Cicero, Kenneth Aulet, Chelsea Mullarney, Steven Pohl) & Blank Rome LLP (Stanley Tarr, Victoria Guilfoyle) & Gilbert LLP (Scott Gilbert, Craig Litherland, Kami Quinn, Jenna Hudson)

Update 7/7/19 #244

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing -- FTD Companies Inc.

FTD Companies Inc.

June 3, 2019

After the issuance of Illinois-based FTD Companies Inc’s ($FTD) most recent 10-K, everyone and their mother — well, other than maybe United Parcel Service Inc. ($UPS)* — knew that FTD was headed towards a bankruptcy court near you. It arrived.

The company is a floral and gifting company operating primarily within the United States and Canada; it (and its affiliated debtors) specializes in providing floral, specialty foods, gift and related products to consumers (direct-to-consumer), retail florists and other retail locations. The company basks in the glory of its “iconic” “Mercury Man” logo, which it alleges is “one of the most recognized logos in the world.” Seriously? Hyperbole much?🙄

Maybe…not? This, for any sort of history nerd, is actually pretty interesting:

Originally called "Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association," FTD was the world's first flowers-by-wire service and has been a leader in the floral and gifting industry for over a century. The Debtors' story began in 1910 when thirteen American retail florists agreed to exchange orders for out-of-town deliveries by telegraph, thereby eliminating prohibitively lengthy transit times that made sending flowers to friends and relatives in distant locations almost impossible. The idea revolutionized the industry, and soon independent florists all over America were telegraphing and telephoning orders to each other using the FTD network. In 1914, FTD adopted the Roman messenger god as its logo and, in 1929, copyrighted the Mercury Man® logo as the official trademark for FTD.

This company is only slightly younger than Sears (1893). And so this bankruptcy filing is a bigger deal than meets the eye. This company revolutionized flower delivery, regularly innovating and expanding its reach over its decades in business. In 1923, FTD expanded to Britain. In 1946, FTD, FTD Britain and a European clearinghouse established what is now known as Interflora to sell flowers-by-wire around the world. In 1979, the company launched an electronic system to link florists together; and in 1994, it launched its first e-commerce site. In other words, this company always tackled the “innovator’s dilemma” head on, pivoting regularly over time to seize opportunities whenever and wherever they emerged. For quite some time, this was, at least for some time, an impressive operation — seemingly always one step ahead of disruption. WE ALL LIKELY TAKE FOR GRANTED JUST HOW EASY IT IS TO DELIVER FLOWERS THESE DAYS. These guys helped make it all possible. If ever a debtor was in need of a hype man, this company is it. A read of the bankruptcy papers barely gives you a sense for the history and legacy of this company.

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Interestingly, for much of its history, the company was actually a not-for-profit. That’s right: a not-for-profit. Per the company:

For the majority of its existence, FTD operated as a not-for-profit organization run by its member florists. With the florists as its core, the Debtors' legacy business provided a powerful mix of a "local," authentic, and bespoke product, broad geographic range, and a commitment to exacting standards of quality and service. Moreover, the Debtors historically were devoted to creating an optimal product for their florist network, including through investment in innovation and technology and marketing the FTD brand and the floral industry overall. As a result, florists sought out FTD membership, and the FTD brand had (and still has) significant caché in the industry.

Amazing!

So what the hell happened? Well, the blood-sucking capitalists arrived knocking. Now-defunct Perry Capital acquired FTD in 1994 (the same year that the company established its web presence) and converted the company into a for-profit corporation. In 2000, the company IPO’d and in 2008, United Online (now owned by B.Riley Financial $RILY), merged with the company in a $800mm transaction consummated just prior to the financial crisis. Then, in 2013, FTD spun off from United Online, once again becoming a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ exchange.

Throughout the company’s evolution, it pursued a strategy of dominating the floral market via strategic acquisitions (and, in the process, drew antitrust scrutiny a handful of times). In 2006, it acquired Interflora and in 2014, it acquired Provide Commerce LLC (ProFlowers) in a $430mm cash and equity transaction. The purchase was predicated upon uniting FTD’s B2B “Florist” business (read: FTD-to-retail-florists) and B2C (read: FTD-direct-to-consumer) businesses with Provide Commerce’s B2C model in such a way that would (i) offer customers greater choice, (ii) provide the company with expanded geographic and demographic reach, and (iii) promote cross-selling possibilities. Per the company:

…FTD anticipated that the Provide Acquisition would generate significant cost synergies through efficiencies in combined operations.

Ah, synergies. Is there anything more romantic than the thought of ever-elusive synergies?

The company incurred $120-200mm of debt to finance the transaction.** You know where this is headed. If not, well, please allow the company to spell it out for you:

Though the Provide Business Units have increased the Debtors' revenue (the Provide Business Units currently contribute more than 50% of the Debtors' total revenue) … certain shifts in the market, technological changes, and improvident strategic outcomes in connection with the implementation of the Provide Acquisition combined to (a) frustrate expectations regarding the earnings of the combined entity and (b) impair the Debtors' ability to refinance near-term maturities, which has driven the Debtors' need to commence these chapter 11 cases.

That sure escalated quickly. 😬

Let’s take a moment here, however, to appreciate what the company attempted to do. In the spirit of its long-time legacy of getting out ahead of disruption, the company identified a competitor that was quickly disrupting the floral business. Per the company:

ProFlowers had entered the floral industry as a disruptor by reimagining floral delivery to consumers. Unlike the Debtors' "asset-light" B2B business model, ProFlowers took ownership of the floral inventory and fulfilled orders directly through a company-operated supply chain. By sourcing finished bouquets directly from farms, limiting product selection, pricing strategically into the consumer demand curve, and leveraging analytically-driven direct response marketing to generate large volumes at peak periods (i.e., Valentine's Day and Mother's Day), ProFlowers appealed to a broad market of consumers who wanted an efficient order process coupled with lower cost purchases.

There’s more:

In addition to these potential opportunities, FTD also viewed the Provide Acquisition as the means to strategically position itself for success within a changing industry. At the time of the Provide Acquisition, the disruptive impact of ProFlowers was perceived as a threat to traditional business models within the floral industry (and to the Florist Member Network specifically). FTD was concerned that, if it failed to adapt and embrace shifting industry paradigms, competitors would take advantage and acquire ProFlowers to FTD's detriment. Accordingly, FTD effected the Provide Acquisition.

We clown on companies all of the time for failing to heed the signs of disruption. But, that’s not actually the case here. This company was, seemingly, on its game. Where it failed, however, was with the post-acquisition integration. It’s awfully hard to realize synergies when businesses effectively run as independent entities. Per the company:

In particular, a number of key post-acquisition targets, such as (a) floral brand alignment, (b) necessary technological investments in the combined business (e.g., the consolidation of technology/ecommerce platforms), and (c) the integration of marketing and business teams, have lagged. As a result, both the Provide Commerce and the Debtors' legacy brands suffered from internal friction and suboptimal structures within the Debtors' enterprise.

And while the company failed to integrate Provide Commerce, the industry never stopped evolving. Competitors didn’t just take the acquisition as a sign that they ought to fold up their tents and relinquish the flower industry to FTD. F*ck no. To the contrary, this is where…wait for it…AMAZON INC. ($AMZN) ENTERS THE PICTURE:***

While the Debtors struggled to unify their businesses and implement the Provide Acquisition, the floral industry – and consumer expectations – continued to evolve. Following the example set by ProFlowers, other companies began to deliver farm-sourced fresh bouquets directly to customers, increasing competition in the B2C space. In addition, the expanding influence of e-commerce platforms like Amazon transformed customer expectations, particularly with respect to ease of experience and the fast, free delivery of goods. Given the perishable and delicate nature of the product, delivery and service fees were standard in the floral industry. As e-commerce companies trained consumers to expect free or nominal cost delivery, floral service fees became anathema to many customers.

Well, Amazon AND venture capital-backed floral startups (i.e., The Bouqs Company - $43mm of VC funding) that could absorb losses in the name of customer acquisition.

The company also blames a significant number of trends that we’ve covered here in PETITION for its demise. Like, for instance, increased shipping and online marketing costs (long Facebook Inc. ($FB)), low barriers to entry for other DTC businesses (long Shopify Inc. ($SHOP)), and “the growing presence of grocers and mass merchants providing low-cost floral products and chocolate-dipped strawberries during peak holidays” (long Target Inc., ($T)Walmart Inc. ($WMT)Trader Joe’s, etc.).

Collectively, market pressures contributed to declining sales and decreased order volumes, impairing the B2C businesses' ability to leverage and capitalize on scale.

In other words, (a) chocolate-dipped strawberries have no f*cking moat whatsoever and (b) as with all other things retail, this is a perfect storm story that is best explained by factors beyond just the f*cking “Amazon Effect” (the most obvious one being: a ton of debt).

Consequently, the company has been mired in a year-plus-long process of triage; it tried to cap-ex its way out of problems, but that didn’t work; it brought in new leadership but…well…you see how that turned out; it attempted to “reinvent” its user experience to combat its techie VC-backed upstart competitors with no results; and, it sought to optimize efficiencies. None of this could stem the tide of underperformance, bolster liquidity, and, ultimately, prevent debt covenant issues. The company currently has $149.4mm of secured indebtedness on its balance sheet (comprised of a $57.4mm term loan and $92mm under a revolving credit facility). The company reports approximately $72.4mm of unsecured debt owed to providers of goods and services.

In a strange fit of irony, it was the most romantic holiday of the calendar year that spelled doom for FTD. The company’s Valentine’s Day 2018 was pathetic: aggregate consumer order volume declined 5% and, even when people did use FTD, the average order size fell by 3%.

Valentine’s Day 2019 was no better. The company materially underperformed projections again. In addition to constraining liquidity further, this had the added effect of cooling any interest prospective buyers might have in the company pre-bankruptcy.

So, where are we now?

The crown jewel of the company is the company’s B2B retail business. This segment generated $150.3mm in revenue and $42.7mm in operating income in 2018. Operating margin is approximately 30%. The B2C business (including FTD.com), on the other hand, lost $4.6mm in ‘18 (on $727.9mm of revenue) and had -1% operating margin in 2018. (PETITION Note: while these numbers are in many respects abysmal, its fun to think that if they belonged, sans debt, to one of those VC-backed upstarts, they’s probably be WAY GOOD ENOUGH for the company to IPO in today’s environment…flowers-as-a-service anyone?). Clearly, there is nothing “iconic” about this brand outside of the floral network/community.

Anywho, the company is selling the company for parts. On Mary 31, the company effectuated a sale of Interflora for $59.5mm. On June 2, the company entered into an asset purchase agreement with Nexus Capital Management LP for the purchase of certain FTD assets and the ProFlowers business for $95mm. It also entered into non-binding letters of intent to sell other assets, including Shari’s Berries to Farids & Co. LLC (which is owned by the founder of Edible Arrangements LLC, the gnarliest company we’ve ever encountered when it comes to gifts.).

All of which is to say, R.I.P. FTD. We’ll be sure to send flowers. From Bouqs.

*Why are we picking on UPS? It is listed as the largest unsecured creditor to the tune of $23.2mm. Surely they’ll be clamoring for “critical vendor” status given the core function they provide to FTD’s business.

**At one point the papers say, $120mm, at another $200mm.

***We didn’t actually realize this but, yes, of course you can buy fresh flowers on Amazon.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure:

    • Secured Indebtedness:

      • $92mm Revolver

      • $57.4mm Term Loan

    • Unsecured Indebtedness

      • $72.4mm of Various Trade Claims

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Jones Day (Heather Lennox, Brad Erens, Thomas Wilson, Caitlin Cahow) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceshi, Paul Heath, Brett Haywood, Megan Kinney)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLP (Alan Holtz, Scott Tandberg, Jason Muscovich, Job Chan, Bassaam Fawad, J.C. Chang)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company & Piper Jaffray Companies

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:


⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC⛽️

White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC

May 28, 2019

Hey look. It’s Tuesday. It must be time for another oil and gas bankruptcy filing! White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC is the latest oil and gas company to make an oh-so-2015-like appearance in bankruptcy court. No need to knock your skull or check your watch: yes, it is very much 2019.*

The company, formerly known as American Energy — Woodford LLC, was originally formed in 2013 by American Energy Partners LP, a shared services platform founded by Aubrey McClendon, the eccentric wildcatter who plowed his life (literally) and billions of dollars of cash into the exploration and production business. In 2014, The Energy & Minerals Group LP (“EMG”) and other investors cut an equity check and, in this case, it didn’t take Mr. McClendon as long as usual to fail: by 2016, the company and its businesses were separated from American Energy to become White Star, a standalone company independent of the American Energy platform. Of course, in typical McClendon fashion, the company sprayed and prayed for a while prior to the transition, gobbling up Mississippian Lime and Woodford Shale assets along the way.

Which is not to say that, post separation/transition, the company just sat on its hands. In 2016 and thereafter, the company extended its shopping spree. First it acquired additional Mississippian Lime and Woodford Shale assets from Devon Production Company LP for approximately $200mm (funded in part by equity from ESG and borrowings under the company’s revolving credit facility). Then it acquired Lighthouse Oil and Gas LP (which was 49.4% minority owned by EMG, but whatevs) through a combination of equity and more borrowings under the credit facility. Finally, the company expanded its portfolio into the Sooner Trend Anadarko Canadian Kingfisher area with borrowings under its credit facility. If you’ve been paying attention, yes, E&P is a capital intensive business: there’s a reason why so many of these companies are levered up the wazoo.

What did that capital buy? “As of December 31, 2018, the Debtors had proved reserves of approximately 84.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (“boe”) across approximately 315,000 net leasehold acres….” But, to be sure, this is a company that focuses its exploration and production on “unconventional” resource plays. Said another way, it is a horizontal driller and hydraulic fracker: its assets tend to produce in high volume for two or so years and then tail off considerably requiring capital to acquire and develop a steady stream of new wells. Of course, an investment in new wells only works if the commodity environment permits it to. With oil and gas trading where it has been trading, well…suffice it to say…the environment is proving unaccommodating. Per the company:

“Despite controlling significant leasehold and mineral acreage in the MidContinent region, due to the declines in commodity prices in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the Debtors’ financial condition, the Debtors ceased drilling new wells in April 2019 and have not resumed such activities as of the Petition Date.”

Consequently, the company suffered a net loss of $114mm in 2018 after losing $14mm in 2017; it has negative working capital of $61mm as of 12/31/18 and $70mm as of the petition date. This sucker is burning cash.

The company’s capital structure looks as follows:

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

The current capital structure is the result of clear triage undertaken by the company in the midst of a severe commodity downturn. WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH: nearly every oil and gas exploration and production company under the sun was forced into some sort of balance sheet transaction around the 2015 time period — many in-court, others out-of-court in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy. Here, notably, the $10.3mm of unsecured notes represent the remnants of a distressed exchange that took place in 2015 whereby approximately $340mm of unsecured notes (with a 9% cash-pay interest coupon) were exchanged for approximately $348mm 12% second lien notes. Thereafter, in late 2015 and extending through August 2016, the company entered into a series of cash and equity transactions that took out the second lien notes in a cash-draining attempt to strengthen the balance sheet and extend liquidity (by way of reduced interest expense)**. The company was effectively playing whack-a-mole.

Alas, the company is in bankruptcy. That happens when your primary sources of capital are large equity checks, borrowings under a credit facility, and proceeds from producing oil and gas properties in a rough price environment. Of course, not all oil and gas properties are created equal either. This company happens to frack in challenging territory. Per the company:

Independent oil and gas companies, such as the Debtors, with Mississippian Lime-weighted assets in the Mid-Continent region have been particularly hard-hit by volatile market conditions in recent years and the majority of the Debtors’ peers in the region have filed for chapter 11 since 2015. This is in large part due to operational challenges unique to the region, including complex geological characteristics. One of these challenges is the Mississippian Lime’s relatively high ratio of “saltwater” to produced oil and gas. During the normal production of oil and gas, saltwater mixed with hydrocarbon byproducts comes to the surface, and its separation and disposal increases production costs. Low production volumes and higher than expected production costs, together with allegations that increased saltwater injection by the operators in the area caused increased seismic activity, resulted in many operators reducing activity and many capital providers discounting asset values in the region.

Recognizing the dire nature of the situation, the company’s RBL lenders effectuated a debilitating borrowing base redetermination that created a deficiency payment that the company simply couldn’t manage. This triggered a “potential” Event of Default under the facility. Thereafter, the company entered into an amendment with the RBL lenders with the hope of securing some capital to refinance the RBL. Spoiler alert: the company couldn’t get it done. The amendment also dictated that the company attempt to secure a buyer so as to repay the debt. To chapter 11 filing is meant to aid that marketing and sale process.*** To aid this process, the company has a commitment from MUFG Union Bank NA, its prepetition RBL Agent, for a DIP credit facility of $28.5mm as well as the use of cash collateral.

*We’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight that in the “AlixPartners 14th Annual Turnaround & Restructuring Experts Survey” released in February 2019, oil and gas was listed as the second most likely sector to face distress, with 36% of respondents predicting it would be a hot and heavy sector (up from 31% the in 2018).

**The company also refinanced its RBL, sold midstream and non-strategic properties and adjusted midstream pipeline commitments.

***Some trigger happy creditors beat the company to the punch here. On May 24, five “purported” creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the company in the Western District of Oklahoma. Considering Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations Inc. ($GE) is among the top 5 largest creditors, we can’t say we’re that surprised.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge )

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (Andrew Dietderich, Brian Glueckstein, Alexa Kranzley) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnel LLP (Derek Abbott, Gregory Werkheiser, Tamara Mann, Joseph Barsalona)

    • Independent Director: Patrick Bartels Jr.

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Ed Mosley)

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • RBL Agent: MUFG Union Bank NA

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Justin Rawlins)

    • TL Agent: EnLink Oklahoma Processing LP

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

⛽️New Chapter 22 Filing - Hilltop Energy LLC⛽️

Hilltop Energy LLC

May 16, 2019

Hilltop Energy LLC, a Dallas-based E&P company with assets in Texas, has filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware, its second bankruptcy in four years. The company also filed its wholly-owned subsidiary, Hilltop Asset LLC (together, the “Debtors”).

The company’s predecessor, Cubic Energy Inc., filed for bankruptcy in late 2015, confirmed a prepackaged plan of reorganization in February 2016 and never emerged from bankruptcy (due to an ongoing adversary proceeding involving the chapter 11 debtors’ CEO and prior operator). Nevertheless, pursuant to the confirmed plan, secured noteholders swapped their notes for membership interests in the reorganized Cubic Energy and 14% first priority senior secured takeback paper due 2021. This is how these chapter 22 Debtors came to be owned by Anchorage Capital Group LLC and Corbin Opportunity Fund LP. General unsecured creditors and equity otherwise got wiped out.

This is the company’s capital structure:

  • $5mm Superpriority Notes + $30mm 14% First Priority Senior Secured Notes

  • $$18.5mm Superpriority PIK Notes + First Priority PIK Notes

Why is the company in bankruptcy? Let’s break this down into its component parts:

The Company has been cash flow negative every year since its formation following the chapter 11 cases of Cubic and its affiliates, as the revenue generated by producing wells is not sufficient to cover operating expenses and "workover" expenses, which is maintenance capex to keep the wells flowing.

Ugh. Here we go again. Flashback to the finding in this Delaware order from February 2016:

“The valuation analysis contained in the Disclosure Statement (x) is reasonable, persuasive, credible, and accurate as of the date such analysis or evidence was prepared, presented, or proffered, (y) utilizes reasonable and appropriate methodologies and assumptions and (z) has not been controverted by other evidence.”

Source: Cubic Energy Disclosure Statement

Source: Cubic Energy Disclosure Statement

Ok, sure. The court finding may have been right — “as of the date.” But the assumptions proved to be dramatically askew. Take, for instance, the workover expense line-item. The company indicates an aggregate $600k hit there. What does the company have to say about this now?

Although production declines are expected in the oil and gas industry, the Debtors have faced several unanticipated challenges since emerging from the Cubic Chapter 11 Cases. Since emergence, over 20% of the Debtors’ producing gas wells have stopped producing due to downhole operational and/or technical issues. During this same time period, the Debtors also invested in production uplift projects—including an estimated $4 million on workover and/or recompletion projects for three wells—but the efforts to increase production from those wells were unsuccessful. The effects of these production problems on the Debtors’ revenue have been compounded by the weak natural gas market over the past few years.

That’s quite a miss. But it’s not the only one. Significantly, the company also notes:

The Debtors’ gross production has declined from approximately 10.5 million cubic feet per day ("mmcfd"), in March 2016 to roughly 5.0 mmcfd as of the date hereof. (emphasis added)

That is what it is but it begs the question: out of whose a$$ did the company pull the assumptions behind the company’s chapter 11 projections? Per the Disclosure Statement:

Daily Production of natural gas is forecast based upon anticipated January 2016 daily production of 15,500 mcf per day and calculated on a 1% month-over-month decline curve on existing drilled and producing wells.

So, uh, we’re not math experts, but a 1% decline month-over-month doesn’t get you to 10.5 mcf per day A MERE TWO MONTHS LATER. Which begs the question: were the projections actually accurate and credible “as of the date”? This certainly seems to indicate otherwise.

Consequently, the Debtors saw an impending maturity and were like, “oh sh*t”:

Although the Debtors have been able to service their debt obligations (primarily by paying interest in the form of additional notes), over time, the yield of the Debtors' producing oil and gas wells has been and may continue to be in constant decline.

This is top notch spin. Yeah, sure, we suppose issuing PIK debt is a form of debt “service” but c’mon. Really??

Consequently, the Debtors anticipate that they will generate less revenue and cash flow and, ultimately, be unable to satisfy their debt obligations before or at maturity.

Which is in 2021. So, here we are again: cue up the CHAPTER 22!!

The prepackaged plan will give 100% of the membership interests in the reorganized debtors and $1.47mm of cash to its senior secured noteholder, eliminating the $53mm of debt. The Debtors’ prepetition operator, Rivershore, will get 55% of the equity in the Hilltop Asset.

And we’re all left to wonder whether this is just a chapter 33 waiting in the wings. According to the new projections, that’s entirely up to Rivershore’s willingness to make an equity contribution in 2021:

Source: Chapter 22 Disclosure Statement

Source: Chapter 22 Disclosure Statement

  • Jurisdiction: D of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)

  • Capital Structure: $5mm superpriority senior secured notes, $30mm first priority senior secured notes, PIK notes (Wilmington Trust Company NA).

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Cole Schotz PC (Norman Pernick, J. Kate Stickles, Katherine Monica Devanney)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Senior Secured Noteholder: J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Lender: Chase Lincoln First Commercial Corporation

      • Legal: Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Richard Cobb, Holly Smith)

    • Company Operator: Rivershore Operating LLC

      • Legal: Gray Reed & McGraw LLP (Jason Brookner, Ryan Sears)


⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Edgemarc Energy Holdings LLC⛽️

Edgemarc Energy Holdings LLC

May 15, 2019

Pennsylvania-based Edgemarc Energy Holdings LLC and its eight affiliated debtor affiliates are the latest in a string of oil and gas related bankruptcy filings. Don’t let $73/barrel brent crude and $63/barrel West Texas Intermediate prices full you: this is one of many oil and gas filings on the near term horizon.

Edgemarc is a natural gas E&P company focused on the Appalachian Basin in Ohio and Pennsylvania; it and its affiliates control approximately 45k net acres and have drilled and developed 60 producing wells. Now, everyone knows that, right now, the Permian Basin in West Texas is the shizz and, therefore, hearing about the Appalachian Basin may put some of you on edge. But, here, there was an extraordinary externality that really helped push the company into bankruptcy, other more macro factors notwithstanding.

In September 2018, a pipeline and gathering system under construction by a third-party (ETC Northeast Pipeline LLC) exploded. This pipeline was meant to be the gathering and processing avenue for the debtors’ natural gas. Imagine spending a ton of time milking a farm full of cows only to have the production facility designed for processing and transporting the milk explode right as you were about to bring your product to market. Kinda hard to make money in that scenario, right? The same applies to drilling for natural gas: its hard to generate revenue when you can’t process, transport and sell it. And, unfortunately, repair hasn’t been easy: what was supposed to be a “within weeks” project now looks poised to push well into 2020.

According to the debtors, a subsequent dispute with ETC prevented the debtors from flowing their gas through alternative pipelines. Consequently, the debtors “had no other means of selling gas from the affected wells” and opted to “shut in” their Pennsylvania wells and pause all remaining Pennsylvania operations — a hit to 33% of the company’s production activity. Compounding matters, the debtors and ETC are now embroiled in litigation. 😬

Suffice it to say that any company that suddenly loses the ability to sell 33% of its product will struggle. Per the company:

The Debtors’ inability to sell gas from their Pennsylvania properties had a substantial negative impact on their liquidity and ability to satisfy their funded debt, contractual and other payment obligations.

Ya think?!?!? The debtors have approximately $77mm of funded debt; they also has fixed transportation services agreements pursuant to which they agreed to fixed amounts of transportation capacity with various counterparties that exposes the debtors to financial liability regardless of whether they actually transport nat gas. This is so critical, in fact, that the debtors have already filed motions seeking to reject transportation services agreements with Rover Pipeline LLC, Rockies Express Pipeline LLC, and Texas Gas Transmission LLC. Combined, those three entities constitute 3 of the top 4 creditors of the estate, to the tune of over $6mm. These obligations — along with a downward redetermination of the borrowing base under the debtors’ revolving credit facility — severely constrained the debtors’ ability to operate. The debtors have, therefore, filed for chapter 11 with the hope of finding a buyer; they do not have a stalking horse purchaser lined up (though they do have a commitment for a $107.79mm DIP from their prepetition lenders, of which $30mm is new money). The company generated consolidated net revenue of $116.9mm in fiscal 2018.

Significantly, the company is seeking to reject a “marketing service agreement” and “operational agency agreement” with BP Energy Company ($BP), pursuant to which BP agreed to purchase and receive 100% of the debtors’ nat gas capacity. We gather (see what we did there?) that it’s hard to perform under those agreements when you can’t transport your product: accordingly, BP is listed as the debtors’ largest unsecured creditor at ~$41mm. BP’s rights to setoff and/or recoupment (PETITION Note: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP just happened to write about these two remedies this week here) will be a major facet of this case: if BP is able to exercise remedies, the debtors ability to operate post-restructuring will be threatened. Per the company:

Docket #17, Rejection Motion.

Docket #17, Rejection Motion.

The privately-held company is owned primarily by affiliates of Goldman Sachs and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension. Absent “holdup value,” we can’t imagine they’ll get any return on their investment given the circumstances.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

  • Capital Structure:

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Darren Klein, Lara Samet Buchwald, Aryeh Falk, Jonah Peppiatt) & (local) Landis Rath & Cobb (Adam Landis, Kerri Mumford, Kimberly Brown, Holly Smith)

    • Directors: Patrick J. Bartels Jr., Scott Lebovitz, Sebastien Gagnon, Baird Whitehead, Zvi Orvitz, Romeo Leemrijse, Verlyn Holt, Jack Golden, George Dotson, Callum Streeter, Alan Shepard

    • Financial Advisor: Opportune LLC and Dacarba LLC

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Partners

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition & DIP Agent: Keybank NA

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Timothy Davidson, Joseph Rovira) & (local) Connolly Gallagher LLP (Jeffrey Wisler)

    • Equityholders: Goldman Sachs & Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board

      • Legal: Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (Richard Mason, Emil Kleinhaus, Michael Cassel) & (local) Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Steven Kortanek, Patrick Jackson, Joseph Argentina Jr.)

    • ETC

      • Legal: Akerman LLP (John MItchell, David Parham, Yelena Archiyan) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, TImothy Cairns)

🌑New Chapter 11 Filing - Cloud Peak Energy Inc.🌑

In what ought to come as a surprise to absolutely no one, Cloud Peak Energy Inc. ($CLD) and a slate of affiliates FINALLY filed for bankruptcy.

Let’s take a moment of silence for coal country, shall we? If this is what MAGA looks like, we’d hate to see what happens when a global downturn eventually hits. There’s gonna be blood in the water.

Sounds like hyperbole? Note that since 2016, there have been a slate of coal-related bankruptcies, i.e., Westmoreland Coal CompanyMission Coal Company LLC, and now Cloud Peak Energy Inc. Blackhawk Mining LLC appears to be waiting in the wings. We suppose it could be worse: we could be talking about oil and gas country (and we will be, we certainly will be…and SOON.).

Cloud Peak is an impressive company. Since its formation in 2008, it has become one of the largest (subbituminous thermal coal) coal producers in the US — supplying enough coal to satisfy approximately 2% of the US’ electricity demand. Its three surface mines are located in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana; it sold approximately 50mm tons of coal in 2018 to 46 domestic and foreign end users.*

In the scheme of things, Cloud Peak’s balance sheet isn’t overly complicated. We’re not talking about billions of dollars of debt here like we saw with Walter EnergyPeabody Energy, Arch Coal, Patriot Coal or Alpha Natural Resources. So, not all coal companies and coal company bankruptcies are created equal. Nevertheless, the company does have $290.4mm of ‘21 12% secured notes (Wilmington Trust NA) and $56.4mm of ‘24 6.375% unsecured notes (Wilmington Trust NA as successor trustee to Wells Fargo Bank NA) to contend with for a total of $346.8mm in funded debt liability. The company is also party to a securitization facility. And, finally, the company also has reclamation obligations related to their mines and therefore has $395mm in third-party surety bonds outstanding with various insurance companies, backed by $25.7mm in letters of credit. Coal mining is a messy business, homies.

So why bankruptcy? Why now? Per the company:

The Company’s chapter 11 filing, however, was precipitated by (i) general distress affecting the domestic U.S. thermal coal industry that produced a sustained low price environment that could not support profit margins to allow the Company to satisfy its funded debt obligations; (ii) export market price volatility that caused decreased demand from the Company’s customers in Asia; (iii) particularly challenging weather conditions in the second quarter of 2018 that caused spoil failure and significant delays in coal production through the remainder of 2018 and into 2019, which reduced cash inflows from coal sales and limited credit availability; and (iv) recent flooding in the Midwestern United States that has significantly disrupted rail service, further reducing coal sales.

To summarize, price compression caused by natural gas. Too much regulation (which, in turn, favors natural gas over coal). Too much debt. And, dare we say, global warming?!? Challenging weather and flooding must be really perplexing in coal country where global warming isn’t exactly embraced with open arms.

Now, we may be hopping to conclusions here but, these bits are telling — and are we say, mildly ironic in a tragic sort of way:

In addition to headwinds facing thermal coal producers and export market volatility, the Company’s mines suffered from unusually heavy rains affecting Wyoming and Montana in the second quarter of 2018. For perspective, the 10-year average combined rainfall for May, June, and July at the Company’s Antelope Mine is 6.79 inches. In 2018, it rained 10.2 inches during that period. While certain operational procedures put in place following heavy flooding in 2014 functioned effectively to mitigate equipment damage, the 2018 rains interrupted the Company’s mining operations considerably.

It gets worse.

The problem with rain is that the moisture therefrom causes “spoil.” Per the company:

Spoil is the term used for overburden and other waste rock removed during coal mining. The instability in the dragline pits caused wet spoil to slide into the pits that had to be removed by dragline and/or truck-shovel methods before the coal could be mined. This caused significant delays and diverted truck-shovel capacity from preliminary stripping work, which caused additional production delays at the Antelope Mine. The delays resulting from the spoil failure at the Antelope Mine caused the Company to have reduced shipments, increased costs, and delayed truck-shovel stripping in 2018. Consequently, the reduced cash inflows from coal sales limited the Company’s credit availability under the financial covenants in the Amended Credit Agreement prior to its termination, and limited access to any new forms of capital.

But, wait. There’s more:

Additionally, the severe weather affecting the Midwest region of the United States in mid-March 2019 caused, among other things, extensive flooding that damaged rail lines. One of Cloud Peak’s primary suppliers of rail transportation services – BNSF – was negatively impacted by the flooding and has been unable to provide sufficient rail transportation services to satisfy the Company’s targeted coal shipments. As of the Petition Date, BNSF’s trains have resumed operations, but are operating on a less frequent schedule because of repairs being made to rail lines damaged by the extensive flooding. As a result, the Company’s coal shipments have been materially impacted, with cash flows significantly reduced through mid-June 2019.

Riiiiiiiight. But:

More about Moore here: the tweet, as you might expect, doesn’t tell the full story.

Anywho.

The company has been burning a bit over $7mm of liquidity a month since September 2018. Accordingly, it sought strategic alternatives but was unable to find anything viable that would clear its cap stack. We gather there isn’t a whole lot of bullishness around coal mines these days.

To buy itself some time, therefore, the company engaged in a series of exchange transactions dating back to 2016. This enabled it to extinguish certain debt maturing in 2019. And thank G-d for the public markets: were it not for a February 2017 equity offering where some idiot public investors hopped in to effectively transfer their money straight into noteholder pockets, this thing probably would have filed for bankruptcy sooner. That equity offering — coupled with a preceding exchange offer — bought the company some runway to continue to explore strategic alternatives. The company engaged J.P. Morgan Securities LLC to find a partner but nothing was actionable. Ah….coal.

Thereafter, the company hired a slate of restructuring professionals to help prepare it for the inevitable. Centerview Partners took over for J.P. Morgan Securities LLC but, to date, has had no additional luck. The company filed for bankruptcy without any prospective buyers lined up.

Alas, the company filed for bankruptcy with a “sale and plan support agreement” or “SAPSA.” While this may sound like a venereal disease, what it really means is that the company has an agreement with a significant percentage of both its secured and unsecured noteholders to dual track a sale and plan process. If they can sell the debtors’ assets via a string of 363 sales, great. If they have to do a more fulsome transaction by way of a plan, sure, that also works. These consenting noteholders also settled some other disputes and support the proposed $35mm DIP financing

*Foreign customers purchased approximately 9% of ‘18 coal production.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: $290mm 12% ‘21 secured debt (Wilmington Trust NA), $56.4mm unsecured debt (BOKF NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (Paul Heath, David Meyer, Jessica Peet, Lauren Kanzer, Matthew Moran, Steven Zundell, Andrew Geppert, Matthew Pyeatt, Matthew Struble, Jeremy Reichman) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceschi, John Knight)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Alan Boyko)

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners (Marc Puntus, Ryan Kielty, Johannes Preis)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Major shareholders: Renaissance Technologies LLC, The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Dimensional Fund Advisors LP, Kopernik Global Advisors, Blackrock Inc.

    • DIP Agent: Ankura Trust Company LLC

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Aryeh Ethan Falk, Christopher Robertson) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Curtis Miller, Paige Topper)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey

    • Prepetition Secured Noteholder Group (Allianz Global Investors US LLC, Arena Capital Advisors LLC, Grace Brothers LP, Nomura Corporate Research and Asset Management Inc. Nuveen Alternatives Advisors LLC, Wexford Capital LP, Wolverine Asset Management LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Aryeh Ethan Falk, Christopher Robertson) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Curtis Miller, Paige Topper)

    • Indenture Trustee: BOKF NA

      • Legal: Arent Fox LLP (Andrew Silfen, Jordana Renert) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinson US LLP (Matthew Ward)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (BOKF NA, Nelson Brothers Mining Services LLC, Wyoming Machinery Company, Cummins Inc., ESCO Group LLC, Tractor & Equipment Co., Kennebec Global)

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Jennifer Marines, Todd Goren, Daniel Harris, Mark Lightner) & Morris James LLP (Carl Kunz III, Brya Keilson, Eric Monzo)

      • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Leon Szlezinger)

Update: 7/7/19 #379

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Triangle Petroleum Corporation

Triangle Petroleum Corporation

May 8, 2019

If it walks like a chapter 22 and quacks like a chapter 22…it…may…notactually…be a chapter 22??

Triangle Petroleum Corporation (“TPC”) filed a prepackaged plan of reorganization with the District of Delaware to consummate a balance sheet restructuring. TPC is an independent energy holding company with a focus on the Williston Basin of North Dakota; its assets include a joint venture interest in Caliber Midstream Holdings LP, a midstream services company, leases of commercial and multi-unit residential buildings in North Dakota, and net operating losses. On the debt side of the balance sheet, the company had a $120mm 5.0% convertible promissory note issued to NGP Triangle Holdings, LLC (“NGP”).

So, what’s up with that convertible note? Wholly-owned direct or indirect subsidiaries of TPC — including Triangle USA Petroleum Corporation — filed for bankruptcy back in June 2016 to address their capital structure and, in the course of confirming a plan of reorganization, wiped out their stock. That stock, naturally, was an asset of TPC and, consequently, the New York Stock Exchange delisted TPC, constituting a “Fundamental Change,” under the note and triggering a requirement that TPC repurchase the convertible note for $154mm. TPC didn’t do so. Upon failing to do so, TPC triggered an event of default. Subsequently, J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”) purchased the note from NGP.

Thereafter, as part of discussions about a forbearance, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA provided the company with a term loan and the company and JPMS amended and restated the convertible note, granting JPMS a second lien in the process. JPMS, however, ultimately concluded that forbearing to nowhere wasn’t exactly a great strategy and so the chapter 11 filing will leave the term loan unimpaired, swap JPMS’ second lien secured note for 100% of TPC’s equity, ride through (what is a de minimis amount of) unsecured claims and wipe out equity, which had been trading over the counter. As of the petition date, the company had $2mm outstanding under the term loan and $167mm outstanding under the newly secured note.

Given that JPMS is the only voting party, this is a pretty easy plan to effectuate. Suffice it to say, JPMS voted yes to the prepackaged plan which means, going forward, it will own the interests in Caliber, Bakken Real Estate and, significantly, the valuable net operating losses.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Kelley Cornish, Alexander Woolverton) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Andrew Magaziner, Shane Reil)

    • Board of Directors: Gus Halas, James Shein, Randal Matkaluk

    • Financial Advisor: Development Specialists Inc. (Mark Iammartino)

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition Lender: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA & J.P. Morgan Securities LLC

      • Legal: Duane Morris LLP (Lawrence Kotlar, Joel Walker)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Hospital Acquisition LLC

Hospital Acquisition LLC

May 6 & 7, 2019

Texas-based Hospital Acquisition LLC and dozens of other affiliated companies operating in the acute care hospital, behavioral health and out-patient would care space have filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware.* The debtors operate 17 facilities in 9 states for a total of 865 beds; their revenue “derives from the provision of patient services and is received through Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements and payments from private payors.

Technically, this is a chapter 22. In 2012, the debtors’ predecessor reeled from the effects of Hurricane Katrina and reduced reimbursement rates and filed for bankruptcy. The case ended in a sale of substantially all assets to the debtors.

So, why is the company in bankruptcy again? Well, to begin with, re-read the final sentence of the first paragraph. That’s why. Per the company:

…internal and external factors have lead the Debtors to an unmanageable level of debt service obligations and an untenable liquidity position. In 2015, Medicare’s establishment of patient criteria to qualify as an LTAC-compliant patient facility led to significant reimbursement rate declines over the course of 2015 and 2016 as changes were implemented. Average reimbursement rates for site neutral patients, representing approximately 57% of 2016 cases, is estimated to drop from $23,000 to $9,000 across the portfolio. When rates declined sharply, the Debtors were unable to adjust. Further, the number of patients that now qualify by Medicare to have services provided in an LTAC setting has declined substantially, resulting in a significant oversupply of LTAC beds in the market.

To offset these uncontrollable trends, the company undertook efforts to convert a new business plan focused around, among other things, closing marginally performing hospitals and diversifying the business into post-acute care “to compete in the evolving value-based health care environment.” To help effectuate this plan, the debtors re-financed its then-existing revolver, entered into its $15mm “priming” term loan, and amended and extended its then-existing term loan facility. After this transaction, the company had total consolidated long-term debt obligations totaling approximately $185mm.

So, more debt + revised business plan + evolving macro healthcare environment = ?? A revenue shortfall, it turns out. Which put the debtors in a precarious position vis-a-vis the covenants baked into the debtors’ debt docs. Whoops. Gotta hate when that happens.

The debtors then engaged Houlihan Lokey to explore strategic alternatives and engaged their lenders. At the time of filing, however, the debtors do not have a stalking horse agreement in place; they do hope, however, to have one in place by mid-July.

*There are also certain non-debtor home health owners and operators in the corporate family that are not, at this time, chapter 11 debtors.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

  • Capital Structure: $23.9mm RCF, $9.4mm LOCs, $15mm “Priming Term Loan” ($7.7mm funded), $136.8mm TL

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Scott Alberino, Kevin Eide, Sarah Link Schultz) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (M. Blake Cleary, Jaime Luton Chapman, Joseph Mulvihill, Betsy Feldman)

    • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Inc. (Geoffrey Coutts)

    • Investment Banker: BRG Capital Advisors LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Equityholders: Monarch Master Funding Ltd., Twin Haven Special Opportunities Fund IV LP, Blue Mountain Credit Alternatives Master Fund LP, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc., Oakstone Ventures Inc.

    • White Oak Healthcare Finance LLC

      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Arthur Steinberg, Scott Davidson) & (local) The Rosner Law Group LLC (Frederick Rosner, Jason Gibson)

    • Marathon Asset Management

      • Legal: Ropes & Gray LLP (Matthew Roose)

    • Prepetition Term Loan Agents: Seaport Loan Products LLC & Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Ned Schodek, Jordan Wishnew) & (local) Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Jeremy Ryan, R. Stephen McNeill, D. Ryan Slaugh)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Greenberg Traurig LLP (David Cleary, Nancy Peterman, Dennis Meloro) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Erin Fay, Daniel Brogan)

Updated 5/18

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Kona Grill Inc. ($KONA)

Kona Grill Inc.

April 30, 2019

Let’s be honest: we’ve given this sh*t stain of a company far too much coverage given its size. Yet, it’s part of a broader casual dining narrative that is important to follow and, significantly, we took it upon ourselves to highlight how this thing was SO CLEARLY headed towards bankruptcy a year ago considering the company is (somewhat inexplicably) publicly-traded ($KONA). We first mentioned it in this Members’-only piece in April 2018. We dug deeper in this Members’-only briefing on August 2018. Additional mentions came here, here, here (“…there is no way this thing DOESN’T end up in bankruptcy court soon. It just blew out its board. It is on to its umpteenth CEO in a matter of years. Revenues fell 15.7% in the most recent reported quarter. Same-store sales fell 14.1%. 14.1%!!!! It’s just a matter of ‘when’ at this point.”), and, finally, as recently as April 28, 2019, here, wherein we wrote “[s]tick a fork in it.

Well, stick a fork in it, indeed. The company and several affiliated companies are now chapter 11 debtors in the District of Delaware.

To refresh your recollection, the company is a casual dining restaurant chain with 27 locations (down from 40+ locations when we first started discussing the company over a year ago). “The restaurants feature contemporary American favorites, award-winning sushi and an extensive selection of alcoholic beverages.” Award winning sushi, huh? We did some googling and were unable to ascertain which fine organization conferred upon Kona Grill Inc. an award for its fine sushi. But we digress.

As you might expect from such a long-time-coming sh*t show, the debtors’ first day filing papers are pure comedy chock full of hyperbolic bull sh*t. It’s amusing what the debtors say and it’s laughable what they don’t say. The first day declaration reads like marketing materials: it states that the company offers “an upscale contemporary ambience” with an “exceptional” dining experience and a “legendary” happy hour. The fact that this company is in bankruptcy belies the claim that the experience is exceptional. As for legend, Arya Stark is a legend; Tony Stark is a legend. Michael Jordan is a legend. Kona Grill has a bar that serves drinks. We can assure you with 100% certainty that there is absolutely nothing legendary about it. Indeed, revenues in fiscal ‘18 were $156.9mm, down 12.4% YOY, and, as of the petition date, the company had a meaningfully non-legendary $1.2mm of cash on hand. Legendary, our a$$es.

The company is party to a $33.2mm credit agreement split between a revolving loan and a term loan and has been in a state of perpetual amendment since Q1 2017. The company also owes unsecured trade creditors $8mm.

Why is the company in bankruptcy? Here’s where we get comedy by omission. Yes, sure, they acknowledge that they doubled their restaurants between ‘13 and ‘17, spent a ton on marketing to reverse negative same-store sale trends, and then engaged in an ill-advised stock repurchase program in 2016/2017, further draining much needed liquidity. Thereafter, the company was forced to deploy the standard playbook: cease opening new locations, shutter some underperforming stores (PETITION Note: the company filed a motion seeking to reject 18 leases already), fire people, cut back on training and staffing, etc. G-d help the people who actually ate there during this period: we can only imagine what happened to the food quality. What the company doesn’t say, though, is that there has been a revolving door of CEOs. We suppose the debtors ought to be commended for not completely throwing prior management teams under the bus. This may have something to do with active lawsuits between the company and a former CEO.

What’s crazy is that the company didn’t hire a banker until March 2019. This is a company that should have been marketed long ago. Notably, there’s no stalking horse buyer lined up. And while the company does have a commitment from KeyBank for $39.2mm of DIP financing (of which only $6mm is new money), the company also has a hard deadline of August 9, 2019 to avoid a default. Will it be able to find a buyer now?

We suppose we’ll find out how “legendary” things are after all.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge )

  • Capital Structure: $33.2mm

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (James O’Neill, John Lucas, Jeremy Richards)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Christopher Wells, Jonathan Tibus)

    • Investment Banker: Piper Jaffrey

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: KeyBank National Association

      • Legal: Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC (Mary Caloway)

🎥New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Fuse LLC (a/k/a Fuse Media)🎥

Fuse LLC

April 22, 2019

California-based Fuse LLC, a multicultural media company composed principally of the cable networks Fuse and FM, filed a prepackaged chapter 11 along with 8 affiliated debtors in the District of Delaware to effectuate a swap of $242mm of outstanding secured debt for $45mm in term loans (accruing at a STRONG 12% interest and maturing in five years), new membership interests in the reorganized company and interests in a litigation trust. General unsecured creditors will recover nothing despite being owed approximately $10mm to $25mm.

The company is well known to millions of US homes: approximately 61mm homes get Fuse, an independent cable network that targets young multicultural Americans and Latinos. FM’s music-centric content reached approximately 40.5mm homes “at its peak.” The company has three principal revenue streams: (a) affiliate fees; (b) advertising; and (c) sponsored events; it generated $114.7mm in net revenue for the fiscal year ended 12/31/18 and “had projected affiliate fees of approximately $495 million through 2020.

Why is it in bankruptcy? In a word, disruption. Disruption of content suppliers (here, Fuse) and content distributors (the traditional pay-tv companies). Compounding the rapid changes in the media marketplace is the company’s over-levered balance sheet, an albatross that hindered the company’s ability to innovate in an age of “peak TV” characterized by endless original and innovative content.

The company illustrates all of this nicely:

“…the overall pay-TV industry is in a period of substantial transformation as the result of the introduction into the marketplace in recent years of high quality and relatively inexpensive and consumer friendly content alternatives (e.g., Netflix, Hulu and others). The ongoing marketplace changes have resulted in, and will continue to cause, a material decline in pay-tv subscribers and related affiliate fee revenue as a result of a declining number of new subscribers, "cord-cutting" (the cancellation of an existing pay-tv subscription), and "cord-shaving" (the downgrading of a pay-tv subscription from a higher priced package to a lower priced package). Each quarter the Company receives less revenue from its traditional pay-tv distribution partners as the result of the decline in subscribers receiving the Company's networks. And new sources of revenue for the Company, although developing and in progress, have not grown sufficiently to offset revenue declines in the legacy business. As a result of these trends, the refinancing of the Company's debt was not viable.”

Said another way, on a macro level, Netflix Inc. ($NFLX), Amazon Inc’s ($AMZN) Prime service, Hulu ($DIS) and various other OTT services have taken a huge chunk out of conventional bundlers and now victims are shaking from the tree. On a more micro level, the company is subject to distribution agreements with pay-TV operators. The majority of agreements were guaranteed through 2020, representing contracted revenue estimated at approximately $495mm through 2020. But the company’s debt, however, prevented it from investing in programming, marketing and original content at the same pace as its rivals. Consequently, Comcast and Verizon Fios ($VZ)— which represent significant percentages of the debtors’ subscriber base and, in turn, revenue — stopped distributing Fuse at the end of 2018. Compounding matters, DirecTV recently notified the company that it, too, intended to terminate its distribution agreement with the debtors — which is now subject to litigation in California. Talk about a hat trick!!

The company intends to use cash collateral to finance its cases. If successful, the company will emerge from bankruptcy with a substantially reduced balance sheet, having cut its debt by approximately 80%. After de-levering, the company believes it…

“… will be better able to effectively support its core linear networks business, as well as pursue growth areas, such as virtual multichannel video programming distribution (e.g., YouTube TV and Hulu Live), advertising supported distribution (AVOD), and complementary areas such as live events and music festivals. The Company also will be well-positioned post-emergence to explore strategic transactions that can accelerate greater growth in new areas for stakeholders.”

We suspect Fuse won’t be the last content supplier to shake out from this evolution in the media space.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: $242mm 10.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2019

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Richard Pachulski, Ira Kharasch, Maxim Litvak, James O’Neill)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Michael Katzenstein)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Supporting Noteholders

      • Legal: Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP (Brad Scheler, Peter Siroka, Emil Buchman, Andrew Minear) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Michael Merchant)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Achaogen Inc.

Achaogen Inc.

April 15, 2019

Biopharma is where it’s at!!

San Francisco-based Achaogen Inc. ($AKAO) is the latest in a slate of biopharma debtors who have found their way into bankruptcy court — here, the District of Delaware. Achaogen is focused on “the development and commercialization of innovative antibiotic treatments against multi-drug resistant gram-negative infections.” To date, its operations have been centered around the discovery, development and commercialization of products, making it as far as clinical trials in certain instances. As if inspired by the fact that its filing came on the heels of the much-anticipated Game of Thrones (final) Season 8 premiere, the company colorfully notes its primary purpose:

Achaogen designed its lead product, ZEMDRI® (plazomicin), to fight what the Center for Disease Control (“CDC”) calls a “nightmare bacteria” and has listed as the highest category threat of “urgent.” ZEMDRI can be used to treat patients who have limited or no alternative treatment options from infections with these nightmare bacteria. Even with its current financial situation, Achaogen continues to commercialize ZEMDRI, in part because Achaogen believes that ZEMDRI can save lives for patients who may literally have no alternative.

Nightmare bacteria!! Sheesh that’s chilling.

Even more chilling is the company’s discussion of gram-negative bacteria — found “everywhere, in virtually all environments on Earth that support life.” These bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to common antibiotics. Achaogen calls this “a global crisis…we take for granted.” The company’s core (patented) product, ZEMDRI, is designed to “retain its effectiveness in killing these more resistant bacteria.” While ZEMDRI received FDA approval for IV-treatment of patients with complicated urinary tract infections in July 2018, the FDA rejected ZEMDRI for treatment of patients with bloodstream infections, citing a lack of substantial evidence of effectiveness.

What does the company have going for it? Again, as of July 2018, it has a commercially viable product in the United States. It also has global commercialization rights. And patent protect in the US through approximately 2031 or 2032. It sells to either specialty distributors or physician-owned infusion centers. It has agreements with Hovione Limited and Pfizer for the manufacturing of its product. Finally, it has another product in development, C-Scape, which is an oral antibiotic for treatment of patients suffering from urinary tract infections caused by a particular bacteria.

So, what’s the issue? As PETITION readers have come to learn, the development and manufacture of biopharma products is a time and capital intensive process. Indeed, the company has an accumulated deficit of $559.4mm as of December 31, 2018. This bit is especially puzzling given the company’s position that the world confronts a “global crisis”:

In the past year, there has been a dramatic downturn in the availability of financing from both the debt and equity markets for companies in the anti-infective field, based in part on the withdrawal from the space by certain large pharmaceutical companies. For example, Novartis recently announced that it is shutting down its antibacterial and antiviral research, which was followed by similar moves from Eli Lilly, Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.3 Allergan has also recently announced its intention to divest its anti-infective business, consisting of three commercialized products. This “big pharma flight” from antiinfective research, development and commercialization has created significant challenges for early-stage biotech companies seeking to develop and commercialize novel and much needed drugs in this sector, as opportunities for partnerships, joint R&D relationships, and merger/acquisition transactions have diminished. This sector-wide trend has negatively affected not just Achaogen but many of its competitors. Achaogen, however, has been especially impacted because it has reached the point in its life cycle where it needs substantial capital infusion to drive commercialization of its recently FDA approved drug, ZEMDRI.

Look: we don’t take everything debtors say as gospel. After all, first day pleadings are an opportunity to frame the story and set the tone of a case. But if the company is right about what it’s saying and nobody appears to give two sh*ts, well, color us a wee bit concerned. Why isn’t anybody talking about this?

Anyway, in February 2018, the company entered into a loan and security agreement with Silicon Valley Bank for $50mm. The original agreement provided SVB with a security interest in virtually all of the company’s assets — including proceeds of intellectual property — but not a security interest in the IP itself. $15mm remains outstanding under the loan. In November 2018, the company retained Evercore Group LLP to run a strategic sale process but no viable purchaser emerged. It’s not worth saving the world unless you can make some dinero, we suppose.

After engaging in various liquidity maximization efforts (including job cuts), fundraising initiatives (including an insufficient equity raise), and licensing discussions with entities abroad, the company ultimately decided that nothing would generate enough liquidity for the company to avoid chapter 11. The company notes, “although Achaogen’s out-of-court sale process did not yield any acceptable bids, many parties had expressed interest in bidding at any potential 363 auction sale, where it could pursue the Assets free and clear of existing liabilities.” The company, therefore, filed for chapter 11 to pursue a new sale process; it has no stalking horse bidder teed up. To market its assets, the company has replaced Evercore with Cassel Salpeter & Co. LLC.

In support of the bankruptcy case, SVB committed to provide the company with a $25mm DIP credit facility of which $10mm is new money and $15mm is a roll-up of the aforementioned pre-petition debt. In exchange, SVB now gets a security interest in the company’s IP.

The company’s unsecured debt is comprised of lease obligations, minimum purchase requirements under its manufacturing contract, a success fee tied to the company’s FDA approval, and $18.7mm of trade debt. New Enterprise Associates Inc., a reputed Silicon Valley venture capital firm, is the company’s largest equity holder with approximately 10.76% of the company’s shares. Prior to its 2014 IPO, the company had raised $152.1mm starting with its Series A round in August 2004: it IPO’d at a valuation of $200.4mm, having issued 6.9mm shares at $12/share to the public. It’s equity is likely worth f*ck all. Well, not exactly: we suppose this isn’t ENTIRELY “f*ck all”:

Screen Shot 2019-04-15 at 2.48.04 PM.png

But it’s pretty darn close. Now the issue is what price the IP will fetch in a bankruptcy sale process. It will have to be tens of millions of dollars for NEA to have any sort of recovery.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

  • Capital Structure: $15mm secured debt (Silicon Valley Bank)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Hogan Lovells US LLP (Erin Brady, Richard Wynne, Christopher Bryant, John Beck) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott, Andrew Remming, Matthew Talmo, Paige Topper)

    • Financial Advisor: Meru LLC

    • Investment Banker: Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC

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

  • Other Professionals:

    • Prepetition & DIP Lender ($25mm): Silicon Valley Bank

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP ( Alexander Rheaume, Todd Goren, Benjamin Butterfield, David Ephraim) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor, Stacy Newman)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Hovione Limited, EsteveQuimica SA, Solar Capital Ltd.,. Crystal BioScience, World Courier)

New Chapter 11 Filing - Hexion Holdings LLC

Hexion Holdings LLC

April 1, 2019

What we appreciate that and, we hope thanks to PETITION, others will eventually come to appreciate, is that there is a lot to learn from the special corporate law, investment banking, advisory, and investing niche labeled “restructuring” and “distressed investing.” Here, Ohio-based Hexion Holdings LLC is a company that probably touches our lives in ways that most people have no knowledge of: it produces resins that “are key ingredients in a wide variety of industrial and consumer goods, where they are often employed as adhesives, as coatings and sealants, and as intermediates for other chemical applications.” These adhesives are used in wind turbines and particle board; their coatings prevent corrosion on bridges and buildings. You can imagine a scenario where, if Washington D.C. can ever get its act together and get an infrastructure bill done, Hexion will have a significant influx of revenue.

Not that revenue is an issue now. It generated $3.8b in 2018, churning out $440mm of EBITDA. And operational performance is on the upswing, having improved 21% YOY. So what’s the problem? In short, the balance sheet is a hot mess.* Per the company:

“…the Debtors face financial difficulties. Prior to the anticipated restructuring, the Debtors are over nine times levered relative to their 2018 adjusted EBITDA and face annual debt service in excess of $300 million. In addition, over $2 billion of the Debtors’ prepetition funded debt obligations mature in 2020. The resulting liquidity and refinancing pressures have created an unsustainable drag on the Debtors and, by extension, their Non-Debtor Affiliates, requiring a comprehensive solution.”

This is what that capital structure looks like:

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 12.28.48 PM.png
Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 12.29.02 PM.png

(PETITION Note: if you’re wondering what the eff is a 1.5 lien note, well, welcome to the party pal. These notes are a construct of a frothy high-yield market and constructive readings of credit docs. They were issued in 2017 to discharge maturing notes. The holders thereof enjoy higher priority on collateral than the second lien notes and other junior creditors below, but slot in beneath the first lien notes).

Anyway, to remedy this issue, the company has entered into a support agreement “that enjoys the support of creditors holding a majority of the debt to be restructured, including majorities within every tier of the capital structure.” The agreement would reduce total funded debt by $2b by: (a) giving the first lien noteholders $1.45b in cash (less adequate protection payments reflecting interest on their loans), and 72.5% of new common stock and rights to participate in the rights offering at a significant discount to a total enterprise value of $3.1b; and (b) the 1.5 lien noteholders, the second lien noteholders and the unsecured noteholders 27.5% of the new common stock and rights to participate in the rights offering. The case will be funded by a $700mm DIP credit facility.

*Interestingly, Hexion is a derivative victim of the oil and gas downturn. In 2014, the company was selling resin coated sand to oil and gas businesses to the tune of 8% of sales and 28% of segment EBITDA. By 2016, segment EBITDA dropped by approximately $150mm, a sizable loss that couldn’t be offset by other business units.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Andrew Parlan, Hugh Murtagh, Caroline Reckler, Jason Gott, Lisa Lansio, Blake Denton, Andrew Sorkin, Christopher Harris) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Amanda Steele, Brendan Schlauch)

    • Managers: Samuel Feinstein, William Joyce, Robert Kaslow-Ramos, George F. Knight III, Geoffrey Manna, Craig Rogerson, Marvin Schlanger, Lee Stewart

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company LLC (Zul Jamal)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Noteholders (Angelo Gordon & Co. LP, Aristeia Capital LLC, Barclays Bank PLC, Beach Point Capital Management LP, Capital Research and Management Company, Citadel Advisors LLC, Contrarian Capital Management LLC, Credit Suisse Securities USA LLC, Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP, DoubleLine Capital LP, Eaton Vance Management, Federated Investment Counseling, GoldenTree Asset Management LP, Graham Capital Management LP, GSO Capital Partners LP, Heyman Enterprise LLC, Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management LLC, OSK VII LLC, Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, Silver Rock Financial LP, Sound Point Capital Management LP, Tor Asia Credit Master Fund LP, UBS Securities LLC, Whitebox Advisors LLC)

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Daniel Fisher, Naomi Moss, Abid Qureshi)

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Crossover Noteholders (Aegon USA Investment Management LLC, Aurelius Capital Master Ltd., Avenue Capital Management II LP, Avenue Europe International Management, Benefit Street Partners LLC, Cyrus Capital Partners LP, KLS Diversified Asset Management LLC, Loomis Sayles & Company LP, Monarch Alternative Capital LP, New Generation Advisors LLC, P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP)

      • Legal: Milbank LLP (Samuel Khalil, Matthew Brod)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of 1.5 Lien Noteholders

      • Legal: Jones Day (Sidney Levinson, Jeremy Evans)

    • Pre-petition RCF Agent & Post-petition DIP Agent ($350mm): JPMorgan Chase Bank NA

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

    • Trustee under the First Lien Notes: U.S. Bank NA

      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (James Carr, Kristin Elliott) & (local) Dorsey & Whitney LLP (Eric Lopez Schnabel, Alessandra Glorioso)

    • Trustee of 1.5 Lien Notes: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

    • Trustee of Borden Indentures: The Bank of New York Mellon

    • Sponsor: Apollo

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors: Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; Agrium US, Inc.; The Bank of New York Mellon; Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America; PVS Chloralkali, Inc.; Southern Chemical Corporation; Wilmington Trust; Wilmington Savings Fund Society; and Blue Cube Operations LLC

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (Kenneth Eckstein, Douglas Mannal, Rachael Ringer) & (local) Bayard PA (Scott Cousins, Erin Fay, Gregory Flasser)

      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Samuel Star)

Updated:

🚽New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Orchids Paper Products Company🚽

Orchids Paper Products Company

April 1, 2019

We first wrote about Orchids Paper Products Company ($TIS) back in November 2018 in “🚽More Trouble in Paper-Ville (Short A$$-Wipes)🚽.” It is a piece worth revisiting because it sums up the situation rather nicely. We wrote:

Orchids Paper Products Company ($TIS) is a Okahoma-based producer of bulk tissue paper which is later converted into finished products like paper towels, toilet paper and paper napkins; it sells its products for use in the “at home” market under private label to dollar stores, discount retailers and grocery stores. Its largest customers include the likes of Dollar General Corp. ($DG)Walmart Inc. ($WMT) and Family Dollar/Dollar Tree, which, combined, account for over 60% of the company’s sales. Given the rise of the dollar stores and discount retailers and the rise in private label generally, you’d think that this company would be killing it. Spoiler alert: it’s not. In fact, it is, by definition, insolvent.

And:

This company doesn’t produce enough toilet paper to wipe away this sh*tfest. See you in bankruptcy court.

And that’s precisely where they (and affiliates) are now — in the District of Delaware.

And the story hasn’t really changed: the debtors still struggle from operational issues related to their facilities, too much competition (causing margin compression and loss of pricing power), rising input costs, and customer defections. To make matters worse, given the debtors’ deteriorating financial position, raw materials suppliers reduced credit terms given the debtors’ public reporting of its troubles. Consequently, virtually all of the debtors’ financial metrics got smoked. Gross profit? Smoked. Cash flow? Smoked. Net income? Smoooooooked.

Speaking of “smooooooked,” the company twice notes its termination of their investment banker, Guggenheim Securities. Bankers get replaced all of the time: not entirely sure why they felt the need to make such an issue of it here. That said, Guggenheim apparently marketed the company for months without finding a prospective buyer that would clear the debt. The company, therefore, hired Houlihan Lokey ($HL) to market the company. The result? They couldn’t find a buyer that would clear the debt. Nothing like paying a new banker AND presumably paying some sort of tail to your old banker just to end up with your pre-petition secured lender as your stalking horse bidder (and DIP lender)! Sheesh.

As we said, “[t]his company doesn’t produce enough toilet paper to wipe away this sh*tfest.”

  • Jurisdiction: (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $187.3mm RCF/TL (Ankura Trust Company, L.L.C.), $11.1mm New Market Tax Loan

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Shanti Katona, Jerry Switzer Jr.)

    • Board of Directors: Steven Berlin, John Guttilla, Douglas Hailey, Elaine MacDonald, Mark Ravich, Jeffrey Schoen

    • Financial Advisor: Deloitte Transactions and Business Analytics LLP (Richard Infantino)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Large Equityholder: BML Investment Partners LP

    • Prepetition RCF Admin Agent: Ankura Trust Company

    • DIP Admin Agent: Black Diamond Commercial Finance LLC

    • DIP Lender: Orchids Investment LLC

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Daniel McGuire) & (local) Fox Rothschild LLP (Seth Niederman)

    • Stalking Horse Bidder

      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Kimberly Debeers, Ron Meisler)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Mary Seymour) & CKR Law (David Banker)

Updated 5/18

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Southcross Energy Partners LP⛽️

Southcross Energy Partners LP

April 1, 2019

We’ve been noting — in “⛽️Is Oil & Gas Distress Back?⛽️“ (March 6) and “Oil and Gas Continues to Crack (Long Houston-Based Hotels)“ (March 24) that oil and gas was about to rear its ugly head right back into bankruptcy court. Almost on cue, Vanguard Natural Resources Inc. filed for bankruptcy in Texas on the last day of Q1 and, here, Southcross Energy Partners LP kicked off Q2.

Dallas-based Southcross Energy Partners LP is a publicly-traded company ($SXEE) that provides midstream services to nat gas producers/customers, including nat gas gathering, processing, treatment and compression and access to natural gas liquid (“NGL”) fractionation and transportation services; it also purchases and sells nat gas and NGL; its primary assets and operations are located in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas, though it also operates in Mississippi (sourcing power plants via its pipelines) and Alabama. It and its debtor affiliates generated $154.8mm in revenues in the three months ended 09/30/18, an 11% YOY decrease.

Why are the debtors in bankruptcy? Because natural gas prices collapsed in 2015 and have yet to really meaningfully recover — though they are up from the $1.49 low of March 4, 2016. As we write this, nat gas prices at $2.70. These prices, combined with too much leverage (particularly in comparison to competitors that flushed their debt through bankruptcy) and facility shutdowns, created strong headwinds the company simply couldn’t surmount. It now seeks to use the bankruptcy process to gain access to much needed capital and sell to a buyer to maximize value. The company does not appear to have a stalking horse bidder lined up.

The debtors have a commitment for $137.5mm of new-money post-petition financing to fund its cases. Use of proceeds? With the agreement of its secured parties, the debtors seek to pay all trade creditors in the ordinary course of business. If approved by the court, this would mean that the debtors will likely avoid having to contend with an official committee of unsecured creditors and that only the secured creditors and holders of unsecured sponsor notes would have lingering pre-petition claims — a strong power move by the debtors.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $81.1mm funded ‘19 RCF (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $430.875mm ‘21 TL (Wilmington Trust NA), $17.4mm unsecured sponsor notes (Wells Fargo NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Darren Klein, Steven Szanzer, Benjamin Schak) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming, Joseph Barsalona II, Eric Moats)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition RCF & Unsecured Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (William Wallander, Brad Foxman, Matt Pyeatt) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinson US LLP (Ericka Johnson)

    • Prepetition TL & DIP Agent ($255mm): Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Seth Kleinman, Alan Glantz)

    • Post-Petition Lenders and Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Joseph Minias, Paul Shalhoub, Leonard Klingbaum, Debra McElligott) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn)

    • Southcross Holdings LP

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (Natasha Labovitz)

    • Stalking Horse Bidder:

Updated 9:39 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - F+W Media Inc.

F+W Media Inc.

March 10, 2019

WAAAAAAY back in September 2018, we highlighted in our Members’-only piece, “Online Education & ‘Community’ (Long Helen Mirren),” that esteemed author and professor Clayton Christensen was bullish about the growth of online education and bearish about colleges and universities in the US. We also wrote that Masterclass, a SF-based online education platform that gives students “access” to lessons from the likes of Helen Mirren(acting), Malcolm Gladwell (writing) and Ken Burns (documentary film making) had just raised $80mm in Series D financing, bringing its total fundraising to $160mm. Online education is growing, we noted, comporting nicely with Christensen’s thesis.

But we didn’t stop there. We counter-punched by noting the following:

Yet, not all online educational tools are killing it. Take F+W Media Inc., for instance. F+W is a New York-based private equity owned content and e-commerce company; it publishes magazines, books, digital products like e-books and e-magazines, produces online video, offers online education, and operates a variety of e-commerce channels that support the various subject matters it specializes in, e.g., arts & crafts, antiques & collectibles, and writing. Writer’s Digest is perhaps its best known product. Aspiring writers can go there for online and other resources to learn how to write.

For the last several years F+W has endeavored to shift from its legacy print business to a more digital operation; it is also beginning to show cracks. Back in January, the company’s CEO, COO and CTO left the company. A media and publishing team from FTI Consulting Inc. ($FTI) is (or at least was) embedded with new management. The company has been selling non-core assets (most recently World Tea Media). Its $125mm 6.5% first lien term loan due June 2019 was recently bid at 63 cents on the dollar (with a yield-to-worst of 74.8% — yields are inversely proportional to price), demonstrating, to put it simply, a market view that the company may not be able to pay the loan (or refinance the loan at or below the current economics) when it comes due.

Unlike MasterClass and Udacity and others, F+W didn’t start as an all-digital enterprise. The shift from a legacy print media business to a digital business is a time-consuming and costly one. Old management got that process started; new management will need to see it through, managing the company’s debt in the process. If the capital markets become less favorable and/or the business doesn’t show that the turnaround can result in meaningful revenue, the company could be F(+W)’d(emphasis added)

Nailed it.

On March 10, 2019, F+W Media Inc., a multi-media company owning and operating print and digital media platforms, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware along with several affiliated entities. We previously highlighted Writer’s Digest, but the company’s most successful revenue streams are its “Crafts Community” ($32.5mm of revenue in 2018) and “Artist’s Network” ($.8.7mm of revenue in 2018); it also has a book publishing business that generated $22mm in 2018. In terms of “master classes,” the bankruptcy papers provide an intimate look into just how truly difficult it is to transform a legacy print business into a digital multi-media business.

The numbers are brutal. The company notes that:

“In the years since 2015 alone, the Company’s subscribers have decreased from approximately 33.4 million to 21.5 million and the Company’s advertising revenue has decreased from $20.7 million to $13.7 million.”

This, ladies and gentlemen, reflects in concrete numbers, what many in media these days have been highlighting about the ad-based media model. The company continues:

Over the past decade, the market for subscription print periodicals of all kinds, including those published by the Company, has been in decline as an increasing amount of content has become available electronically at little or no cost to readers. In an attempt to combat this decline, the Company began looking for new sources of revenue growth and market space for its enthusiast brands. On or around 2008, the Company decided to shift its focus to e-commerce upon the belief that its enthusiast customers would purchase items from the Company related to their passions besides periodicals, such as craft and writing supplies. With its large library of niche information for its hobbyist customers, the Company believed it was well-positioned to make this transition.

What’s interesting is that, rather than monetize their “Communities” directly, the company sought to pursue an expensive merchandising strategy that required a significant amount of upfront investment. The company writes:

In connection with this new approach, the Company took on various additional obligations across its distribution channel, including purchasing the merchandise it would sell online, storing merchandise in leased warehouses, marketing merchandise on websites, fulfilling orders, and responding to customer service inquiries. Unfortunately, these additional obligations came at a tremendous cost to the Company, both in terms of monetary loss and the deterioration of customer relationships.

In other words, rather than compete as a media company that would serve (and monetize) its various niche audiences, the company apparently sought to use its media as a marketing arm for physical products — in essence, competing with the likes of Amazon Inc. ($AMZN)Walmart Inc. ($WMT) and other specialty hobbyist retailers. As if that wasn’t challenging enough, the company’s execution apparently sucked sh*t:

As a consequence of this shift in strategic approach, the Company was required to enter into various technology contracts which increased capital expenditures by 385% in 2017 alone. And, because the Company had ventured into fields in which it lacked expertise, it soon realized that the technology used on the Company’s websites was unnecessary or flawed, resulting in customer service issues that significantly damaged the Company’s reputation and relationship with its customers. By example, in 2018 in the crafts business alone, the Company spent approximately $6 million on its efforts to sell craft ecommerce and generated only $3 million in revenue.

Last we checked, spending $2 to make $1 isn’t good business. Well, unless you’re Uber or Lyft, we suppose. But those are transformative visionary companies (or so the narrative goes). Here? We’re talking about arts and crafts. 🙈

As if that cash burn wasn’t bad enough, in 2013 the company entered into a $135mm secured credit facility ($125mm TL; $10mm RCF) to fund its operations. By 2017, the company owed $99mm in debt and was in default of certain covenants (remember those?) under the facility. Luckily, it had some forgiving lenders. And by “forgiving,” we mean lenders who were willing to equitize the loan, reduce the company’s indebtedness by $100mm and issue a new amended and restated credit facility of $35mm (as well as provide a new $15mm tranche) — all in exchange for a mere 97% of the company’s equity (and some nice fees, we imagine). Savage!

As if the spend $2 to make $1 thing wasn’t enough to exhibit that management wasn’t, uh, “managing” so well, there’s this:

The Company utilized its improved liquidity position as a result of the Restructuring to continue its efforts to evolve from a legacy print business to an e-commerce business. However, largely as a result of mismanagement, the Company exhausted the entire $15 million of the new funding it received in the six (6) months following the Restructuring. In those six (6) months, the Company’s management dramatically increased spending on technology contracts, merchandise to store in warehouses, and staffing while the Company was faltering and revenue was declining. The Company’s decision to focus on e-commerce and deemphasize print and digital publishing accelerated the decline of the Company’s publishing business, and the resources spent on technology hurt the Company’s viability because the technology was flawed and customers often had issues with the websites.

What happened next? Well, management paid themselves millions upon millions of dollars in bonuses! Ok, no, just kidding but ask yourself: would you have really been surprised if that were so?? Instead, apparently the board of directors awoke from a long slumber and decided to FINALLY sh*tcan the management team. The board brought in a new CEO and hired FTI Consulting Inc. ($FTI) to help right the ship. They quickly discovered that the e-commerce channel was sinking the business (PETITION Note: this is precisely why many small startup businesses build their e-commerce platforms on top of the likes of Shopify Inc. ($SHOP) — to avoid precisely the e-commerce startup costs and issues F+W experienced here.).

Here is where you insert the standard operational restructuring playbook. Someone built out a 13-week cash flow model and it showed that the company was bleeding cash. Therefore, people got fired and certain discreet assets got sold. The lenders, of course, took some of those sale proceeds to setoff some of their debt. The company then refreshed the 13-week cash flow model and…lo and behold…it was still effed! Why? It still carried product inventory and had to pay for storage, it was paying for more lease space than it needed, and its migration of e-commerce to partnerships with third party vendors, while profitable, didn’t have meaningful enough margin (particularly after factoring in marketing expenses). So:

Realizing that periodic asset sales are not a long-term operational solution, the Company’s board requested alternative strategies for 2019, ranging from a full liquidation to selling a significant portion of the Company’s assets to help stabilize operations. Ultimately, the Company determined that the only viable alternative, which would allow it to survive while providing relief from its obligations, was to pursue a sale transaction within the context of a chapter 11 filing.

Greenhill & Co. Inc. ($GHL) is advising the company with respect to a sale of the book publishing business. FTI is handling the sale of the company’s Communities business. The company hopes both processes are consummated by the end of May and middle of June, respectively. The company secured an $8mm DIP credit facility to fund the cases.

And that DIP ended up being the source of some controversy at the First Day hearing. Yesterday morning, Judge Gross reportedly rebuked the lenders for seeking a 20% closing fee on the $8mm DIP; he suggested 10%. Per The Wall Street Journal:

Judge Gross said he didn’t want to play “chicken” with the lenders, but that he didn’t believe they should use the bankruptcy financing to recoup what they were owed before the chapter 11 filing.

Wow. Finally some activist push-back on excessive bankruptcy fees! Better late than never.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure:

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Kenneth Enos, Elizabeth Justison, Allison Mielke, Jared Kochenash)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Michael Healy)

    • Investment Banker: Greenhill & Co.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition & Postpetition DIP Agent ($8mm): Fortress Credit Co. LLC)

      • Legal: Halperin Battaglia Benzija LLP (Alan Halperin, Walter Benzija, Julie Goldberg) & (local) Bielili & Klauder LLC (David Klauder)

    • DIP Lenders: Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund LP, New F&W Media M Holdings Corp LLC, PBB Investments III LLC, CION Investment Corporation, Ellington Management Group, or affiliates thereof to be determined.

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (LSC Communications US, Inc. and Palm Coast Data LLC)

      • Legal: Arent Fox LLP (Robert Hirsh, Jordana Renert) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo, Brya Keilson)

      • Financial Advisor: B. Riley FBR (Adam Rosen)

Updated 4/23

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - DIESEL USA, Inc.

DIESEL USA, Inc.

March 5, 2019

Three things immediately occurred to us when we saw the news that Diesel USA Inc. filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware:

  1. That makes perfect sense — Jersey Shore went off the air a long time ago;

  2. This is “The Mattress Firm Effect” in action — a retailer using a quick trip in bankruptcy to, on an expedited basis, flush out some burdensome leases and otherwise leave parties in interest unimpaired; and

  3. More surprising than the company filing for bankruptcy is the law firm filing it for bankruptcy. Arent Fox LLP, while a fine firm for sure, isn’t exactly known for its debtor-side chops. Just saying.

The numbers around this one are…well…interesting. The company’s brick-and-mortar retail operations consist of 28 retail store locations in 11 states, comprised of 17 full-price retail stores and 11 factory outlet stores. Net sales were:

  • In 2014: $83mm for full-price retail and $42mm for outlet (Total: $125mm); and

  • In 2018: $38mm for full-price retail and $34.5mm for outlet (Total: $72.5mm).

In terms of percentages:

  • In 2014: brick and mortar represented 64% of net sales; and

  • In 2018: brick and mortar represented 70% of net sales.

We see a couple of significant problems here.

Despite the superlatives that the company’s CRO generously uses to describe the company, i.e., “cutting-edge,” and “cultural icon,” the numbers reflect a BRAND — let alone the business — in significant trouble. Sure, net sales are down generally, but the distribution has gotten wildly askew. The numbers reflect a bare reality: Diesel simply isn't a brand people will pay full price for anymore. This couldn’t be more stark. And that’s a big problem when the company is (or was) party to expensive height-of-the-real-estate-market leases in prime locations like Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue. Diesel, quite simply, isn’t “Fifth Avenue,” let alone “Madison Avenue.”* We’re not convinced the company is being realistic when it says that it has “retained a loyal customer base.” The numbers plainly say otherwise. Moreover, in an age where digital sales are increasingly more important, the business has become MORE dependent on brick-and-mortar as opposed to its wholesale and e-commerce channels.**

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s the company’s CRO:

…in 2015 prior management implemented a strategic initiative that was focused on repositioning Diesel stores and products in premium locations and with premium customers so as to place them side-by-side with other premium fashion brands across the retail, online, and wholesale platforms. Unfortunately, since its implementation, the Debtor’s net sales have significantly decreased while its losses have significantly increased.

The market has spoken: Diesel is, according to the market, simply not “premium.”

And by “market” we also mean wholesalers. The company opted to stop distributing its products to wholesale partners “that were deemed not to fit the premium image.” Now, we can only imagine that included discount retailers. Basically, SOME OF THE RETAILERS WHO HAVE PERFORMED THE BEST OVER THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS. But wait: it gets even worse: the wholesale customers the company DID retain pursued voluminous “chargebacks.” Per the company:

As is common in the retail industry, the Debtor provides certain customers with allowances for markdowns, returns, damages, discounts, and cooperative marketing programs (collectively, the “Chargebacks”). If the Debtor’s customers fail to sell the Debtor’s products, they generally have the right to return the goods at cost or issue Chargebacks, which are netted against the Debtor’s accounts receivable. Due to mounting Chargebacks from wholesale customers, the Debtor was forced to significantly reduce its wholesale activities in recent years.

Basically, nobody is buying this sh*t. Not in stores. Not in wholesale.

And, yet, the company holds premium leases:

The primary means of implementing the 2015 strategy was to reposition the Debtor’s full-price retail and outlet stores to “premium”, high-profile, and high-visibility locations, which was executed by opening certain new stores and relocating others to “premium” locations while closing others deemed not to fit the new strategic positioning model. The result was, despite the losses suffered in connection with the Fifth Avenue store, management’s negotiation and entry into several expensive, long-term leases for certain of the Debtor’s retail locations, such as the Debtor’s “Flagship” store on Madison Avenue, which do not expire by their terms until 2024-2026. Of course, it was then (and remains today) an inopportune time to make long-term commitments to costly retail leases and the significantly increased lease expenses have not been offset by increased sales, which, in fact, have dropped precipitously.

…numerous of the Debtor’s stores are producing heavy losses. The Debtor’s unprofitable stores combined to produce negative EBITDA of approximately $10.7 million in 2018, nearly all of which flowed from full-price retail stores. The Debtor’s profitable stores are not enough to off-set the losses, as the 17 fullprice stores combined to produce negative EBITDA of approximately $8.7 million in 2018.

Now, the company does indicate that certain (seemingly outlet) stores remain profitable, as do the wholesale and e-commerce operations.*** So, there’s that. New management is in place and their plan includes (a) using the BK to negotiate with landlords, shutter some locations, shutter and relocate others, opening new smaller stores and refit existing locations; (b) deploying influencer marketing generally and aiming more efforts towards females (and hoping and praying that athleisure — a term we didn’t see ONCE in the entire first day declaration — doesn’t continue to hold sway and steer people away from jeans, generally);**** (c) growing e-commerce; and (d) revitalizing the wholesale business with key selective wholesale partners. This plan is meant to take hold in the next three years and “will require significant capital investments.” (PETITION Note: cue the chapter 22 preparation). The company intends to effectuate its new business plan via a plan of reorganization pursuant to which it will reject certain executory contracts. All in, the company hopes to be confirmed in roughly 5 weeks. Aggressive! But, like Mattress Firm, trade creditors are “current” and there’s no debt otherwise, so the schedule isn’t entirely out of the realm of possibility.

But this is the part that REALLY gets us. If you’ve been reading PETITION long enough — particularly our “We Have a Feasibility Problem” series — you know by now that you ought to be AWFULLY SKEPTICAL of management team’s rosy projections. Per the company:

The Debtor’s projections indicate that the Reorganization Business Plan will return the Debtor to stand-alone profitability by 2021 assuming successful store closures through this Chapter 11 Case, thereby ensuring its ability to continue operating as a going-concern, saving over 300 jobs, and creating new ones through the new store openings.

Generally, we’ll take the under. Though, we have to say: at least they’re not audaciously projecting a miraculous profit in 2019.

How will they achieve all of these lofty goals? The company’s foreign parent will invest $36mm over the three-year period of the business plan because…well…why the hell not? Everyone loves a Hail Mary.


*The company suffered from an ill-advised and poorly-timed real estate spending spree. Between 2008 and 2015, right as brick-and-mortar really started to decline and e-commerce expand, the company expended $90mm on leases. As for Fifth Avenue, per the company, “the Debtor’s store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, which opened in 2008 and closed in 2014, by itself received approximately $18 million in capital expenditures during its tenure while generating substantial losses.

**The company doesn’t appear to have put much into its e-commerce growth. While e-commerce now represents 12% of net sales, sales are only incrementally higher in absolute numbers (from $8mm in 2014 to $12mm in 2018). The wholesale channel, on the other hand, has gone in the opposite direction. Net sales went from $61mm (2014) to $19mm (2018) and now represent only 19% of net sales (down from 32%).

***It seems, though, that outlet stores, wholesale and e-commerce resulted in negative $2mm EBITDA if the math from the above quote is correct. Curious.

****Score for Facebook Inc. ($FB)!


  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Arent Fox LLP (George Angelich, David Mayo, Phillip Khezri) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Kenneth Enos, Travis Buchanan)

    • Claims Agent: Bankruptcy Management Solutions d/b/a Stretto (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:



New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Pernix Therapeutics/Pernix Sleep Inc.

Pernix Therapeutics/Pernix Sleep Inc.

February 18, 2019

In our January 30th Members’-only briefing entitled “😢Who Will Remember Things Remembered?😢 ,” we included a segment subtitled “Pharma Continues to Show Distress (Long Opioid-Related BK)” in which we discussed how Pernix Therapeutics Holdings Inc. ($PTX) looked like an imminent bankruptcy candidate. We noted how the company had previously staved off bankruptcy thanks to a refinancing transaction with Highbridge Capital Management. That refinancing now looks like a perfectly-executed loan-to-own strategy: Phoenix Top Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Highbridge, will serve as the stalking horse bidder of the company’s assets in exchange for $75.6mm plus the assumption of certain liabilities. Highbridge will also, after a competitive process pitted against other debtholders like Deerfield Management Company LP, provide the Debtors with a $34.1mm DIP facility — of which $15mm is new money, $5mm is an accordian facility, and the rest is a roll-up of the pre-petition ABL.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge [ ])

  • Capital Structure: see link above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Huebner, Eli Vonnegut, Christopher Robertson) & (local) Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Kerri Mumford, Jennifer Cree, Nicolas Jenner)

    • Financial Advisor: Guggenheim Partners LLC (Stuart Erickson)

    • Investment Banker: Ernst & Young LLP

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Stalking Horse Purchaser: Phoenix Top Holdings LLC (a Highbridge Capital Management affiliate)

    • Large debtholder: Deerfield Management Company LP

      • Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Sarah Ward)

Updated: 2/19/19 at 8:51 CT