💩New Chapter 11 Filing - uBiome Inc.💩

uBiome Inc.

September 4, 2019

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Back in our July 4th weekend edition, we wrote the following:

#BustedTech. One year you’re on the Forbes’ 2018 Next Billion-Dollar Startups list and the next year you’re getting raided by the FBI. This is the story of uBiome, a SF-based microbiome startup. Per Forbes:

The new interim CEO of troubled microbiome startup uBiome, Curtis Solsvig, is a longtime turnaround and restructuring expert at financial advisory firm Goldin Associates and the former chief restructuring officer of failed drone startup Lily Robotics.

One man’s billion-dollar valuation is another man’s clean-up job. 

And, now, another man’s bankruptcy.

Annnd another man’s sacrifice:

The Debtor filed this Chapter 11 Case to provide an innovative business with a fresh start under new management, and to preserve approximately 100 jobs through a court-supervised sale process that is intended to maximize the value of the Debtor’s assets for the benefit of all stakeholders.

…certain business practices formulated and implemented by the Debtor’s original founders have resulted in cessation of certain aspects of the Debtor’s business, investigations by certain federal and state investigatory bodies (the “Investigations”), loss of revenue and significant potential contingent liabilities.

Godspeed founders. You just got napalmed. AGAIN.

And as they should. The debtor has been in triage for some time now.

The company empowers consumers to access analysis of their DNA/microbiomes via the use of at-home kits. Said another way, people poop in an $89.99 “explorer kit” and the company analyzes the sample through (a) a proprietary gene sequencing process and (b) a cloud-based database of microbiomes to determine what’s what in the customer’s GI system — a much less invasive discovery methodology than the gut-wrenching (pun intended) colonoscopy. The consumer receives results that provide suggestions for diet, weight control, gut inflammation, sleep disorders and non-dietary supplements. Frankly, this all sounds rather bada$$.

The company also had a clinical business. Doctors could prescribe the tests and bill the customers’ insurance. Similarly, the company launched a clinical product geared towards the analysis of vaginal swabs (i.e., STDs, HPV, gyno disorders). Together these clinical products were called “SmartX.”

Suffice it to say, this idea was big. The company’s founders leveraged the open-source results from the Human Microbiome Project (launched by the National Institutes of Health) and built something that could really make a lot of people’s lives easier. The venture capitalists saw the opportunity, and the tech media celebrated the company’s rapid capital raises and increasing valuation: $1.5mm seed in ‘14, $4.5mm in August ‘14 (led by a16z)$15.5mm Series B in October ‘16, and $83mm Series C in September ‘18(PETITION Note: the company now says it raised $17mm in ‘16 and $59mm in ‘18, exclusive of $36.4mm of mostly-now-converted convertible notes, which means that the media appears to have been fed, or reported, wrong numbers).* Valuation? Approx $600mm.

Armed with gobs of money, the company established some valuable IP (including over 45 patents and your poop data, no joke) and commercial assets (its certified labs). On the other side of the ledger, there is $5.83mm of outstanding secured debt and $3.5mm of unsecured debt, ex-contingent liabilities including…wait for it…”[p]otential fines for civil and criminal penalties resulting from the Investigation….” Ruh roh.

The Founders implemented certain business strategies with respect to the SmartX products that were highly problematic, contained significant operational (but not scientific) flaws and, in some instances, were of questionable legality. These issues included improper insurance provider billing practices, improper use of a telemedicine physician network (known as the External Clinical Care Network), overly aggressive and potentially misleading marketing tactics, manipulation of customer upgrade testing, and improper use of customer inducements. Moreover, certain information presented to potential investors during the three rounds of capital raise my have been incorrect and/or misleading. Although uBiome believes the science and technology behind uBiome’s business model in this developing area is sound, these issues – among others – have resulted in significant legal exposure for the Debtor.

Score one for VC due diligence! The USA for the ND of California, the FBI, the DOJ and the SEC are all up in the company poop now. This investigation, much like the opioid crisis, also calls into question the ethical practices of doctors. Because we really ought not trust anybody these days.

Anyway, the company has since taken measures to right the ship. The board suspended and then sh*tcanned the founders and recruited new independents. They’ve verified that the company suffered from bad business practices rather than bad science or lab practices (Elizabeth Holmes, holla at us!!). And they’ve hired bankers to market the company’s assets (no stalking horse bidder at filing, though). The company received a commitment from early investor 8VC for a $13.83mm DIP of which $8mm in new money; it will take slightly more than 60 days to see if a buyer emerges. One selling point according to the company: it plans for its Explorer Kits to be in CVS Health Corp. ($CVS)! That’d be great if CVS planned for that too. Womp womp.

Anyway, the way bankruptcy is going these days chapter 11 probably ought to be renamed chapter 363.

*There are many reasons why d-bag startup founders hype their own raises. First, it promotes an aura of success which can help acquire new customers. Second, they love the adulation (see Elizabeth Holmes). Third, it helps with recruiting. And, fourth, the VCs must like it and use it for subsequent fundraising (given that they never correct the record).

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $5.83mm credit facility (Silicon Valley Bank)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Joseph Barry, Andrew Magaziner, Joseph Mulvihill, Jordan Sazant)

    • Board of Directors: Kimberly Scotti, L. Spencer Wells, D.J. (Jan) Baker

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Goldin Associates LLC (Curtis

    • Investment Banker: GLC Advisors & Co LLC

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Silicon Valley Bank

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Alexander Rheaume, Todd Goren, Benjamin Butterfield) & Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor, Katharina Earle)

    • DIP Participants: 8VC Fund I LP, 8VC Entrepreneurs Fund I LP

      • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Matthew Williams, Eric Wise, Jason Zachary Goldstein) & Cole Schotz PC (Norman Pernick, Patrick Reilley)

⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Shale Support Global Holdings LLC⛽️

Shale Support Global Holdings LLC

July 11, 2019

When privately-owned companies that most people have never heard of file for bankruptcy, it naturally raises the following logical question: with oil and gas once again imploding, how many off-the-run companies are going to wind their way into bankruptcy court? 🤔 We reckon quite a number.

Shale Support Global Holdings LLC, a private Louisiana-based proppant supplier to oilfield servicing companies that, in turn, service E&P companies, filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas. The company and 7 affiliated debtors (the “Debtors”) have little by way of assets ($3.15mm) and much more by way of debt ($127.8mm). MOR Bison LLC and BBC Holding LLC own 69.24% and 29.67% of the company, respectively.

The company started in 2014 to solve the problem of expensive logistics costs emanating out of the transport of sand to frac sites. The company sought to vertically integrate the ownership of sand mines with, among other things, a drying facility and a transload facility; its mines are in Mississippi. Given what has occurred in oil and gas country since 2014, it seems abundantly clear that the timing here was just a bit off. “How off,” you ask? Per the Debtors:

Demand for frac sand is significantly influenced by the level of well completions by E&P and OFS companies, which depends largely on the current and anticipated profitability of developing oil and natural gas reserves. As such, Shale Support’s business is highly correlated with well completions, which is, in-turn, is dependent on both commodity prices and producers’ ability to deliver oil to the market. Over the past five years, commodity prices have been highly volatile resulting in an unpredictable demand curve and a significant amount of OFS and E&P bankruptcies. Compounding these demand issues, Shale Support operates in a highly-competitive industry that has seen a dramatic increase in supply. This new supply has come from basin-specific regional producers (that have dramatically lower logistic costs) as well as larger, often better-capitalized, competitors. Regional suppliers and Shale Support’s larger competitors are both in a position to exert significant, downward pressure on pricing for proppants.

Said another way, as off as humanly possible. With a supply/demand imbalance in 2H ‘18, the company saw revenue fall over 40% in 2018. 😬 This was in large part due to the fact that, despite falling proppants prices, the Debtors are locked in to fixed cost contracts with railcar transport providers. With this mix plus over $127mm in outstanding debt obligations, liquidity became an issue.

For over a year now, the Debtors have been in a state of perpetual marketing. Piper Jaffrey & Co., the Debtors’ banker, could not, however, locate a buyer. In the midst of discussions with potential strategic and financial buyers, the price of frac sand continued to fall. Per the Debtors:

Unsurprisingly, no party submitted an indicative expression of interest, a non-binding offer or a valuation of Shale Support. The stated justification from these parties centered around market conditions, location of the reserves, quality of sand, availability of buyer cash, and consistent underperformance of business relative to forecasts.

Efforts to refinance the debt were equally unsuccessful given the declining asset value upon which a new loan would be based. Ultimately, the Debtors defaulted under their prepetition term loan agreement and, over the course of multiple months of waivers, negotiated with their lenders with the hope of “building consensus around a de-leveraging transaction.” Spoiler alert: there’s no prepackaged plan on file here nor is there a bid procedures motion accompanied by a stalking horse asset purchase agreement so suffice it to say that whatever consensus there might be is limited to the commitment of a $16.6mm DIP credit facility. And that forces the issue: under the DIP milestones, the Debtors must confirm a plan of reorganization within 98 days. Will the lenders equitize? Given the astounding job the first day papers do of making the assets seem attractive, is there a chance in hell a buyer emerges? Stay tuned.

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

  • Capital Structure: $116mm ‘21 10% cash/12% PIK Term Loan (including interest, etc.), $11.6mm ‘21 ABL (Siena)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Greenberg Traurig LLP (Shari Heyen, Karl Burrer, David Eastlake, Eric Howe)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Gary Barton)

    • Investment Banker: Piper Jaffray & Co. (Richard Shinder)

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition Term Loan & DIP Agent ($16.6mm): BSP Agency LLC (DIP Lenders: Providence Debt Fund III LP, Benefit Street Debt Fund IV LP, and Benefit Street Partners SMA LM LP).

      • Legal: Baker Botts LLP (Emanuel Grillo)

    • Prepetition Revolving Lender: Siena Lending Group LLC

      • Legal: Thompson Coburn LLP (David Warfield, Victor A. Des Laurier)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - The LaSalle Group Inc.

The LaSalle Group Inc.

May 2, 2019

Short Nana.

Texas-based The LaSalle Group Inc., an owner of 40 memory care assisted living communities across 9 states, and a handful of affiliated debtors filed for bankruptcy on May 2, 2019 and things ain’t looking pretty for the unsecured creditors: the company is administratively insolvent. The company owes $3.7mm at the parent level and then has ~$27.8mm of opco level debt among four debtor LLCs that are all owned 52% by a third-party investor (“Realco Silverado Investor”). Realco Silverado Investor seeks to purchase the opcos for $29mm, just enough to clear the debt at the opco level. Per the company, “[i]n the event this sale closes…[the notes]…should all be paid in full, all employees will have continual job opportunity, and all residents will remain in the residence they and their loved ones have chosen.” The bright side? This sounds like a good result for those most in need of it.

Why is the company in bankruptcy? It states:

“A surge in construction of assisted living facilities in recent years has created a supply-demand imbalance resulting in greater competition for residents and lower rates. This market dynamic has significantly impacted LaSalle and its affiliated entities (collectively, the “Autumn Leaves Group”) from a cash flow perspective. The Autumn Leaves Group has struggled with occupancy rates in certain markets which has significantly impacted revenue and cash flow.”

Moreover, LaSalle is the guarantor of substantially all of the secured debt and lease obligations. Its cash flow constraints precluded it from servicing its debt, culminating in approximately 30 lawsuits currently pending against LaSalle. As if that wasn’t bad enough, LaSalle also suffered the brunt of a United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division Memorandum Opinion and Order granting a motion for conditional certification of a collective action against it related to alleged hourly rate wage claims. And as if THAT wasn’t bad enough, LaSalle also faces various suits from vendors and other creditors for disputed unpaid claims. They’re all about to get hosed. The assets that aren’t sold to Realco Silverado Investor will be liquidated.

  • Jurisdiction: N.D. of Texas (Judge Jernigan)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Crowe & Dunlevy PC (Vickie Driver, Christina Stephenson, Christopher Staine)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Harney Partners (Karen Nicolaou)

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

🚚New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - New England Motor Freight Inc.🚚

New England Motor Freight Inc.

February 11, 2019

New England Motor Freight Inc. (“NEMF”) and its affiliated debtors filed for bankruptcy in the District of New Jersey. NEMF provides less-than-truckload transportation services; its debtor affiliates also provide, among other things, truckload carrier services, equipment leasing, third party logistics services, transportation brokerage services, and non-vessel operation common carrier operations between the US and Puerto Rico. Collectively, the debtors employ approximately 3,450 full-time and part-time employees, of which 1,900 are members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO and are covered by collective bargaining agreements. While the company generated gross revenues around $370mm in each of the last two fiscal years, it filed for bankruptcy to effectuate (a) an orderly liquidation of the majority of its business and (b) the sale of its truckload and third-party logistics businesses (which, together, account for approximately 9% of the company’s revenues). The company has approximately $57.1mm of vehicle financing debt exclusive of interest and fees and another $30.4mm in outstanding letters of credit.

Interestingly, the company notes:

While the company’s operations were profitable for decades since the current ownership group acquired NEMF in 1977, the Debtors have suffered a downward trend over recent years, which was exacerbated in late 2018 by the unexpected loss of key accounts, the shortage of drivers, a new Union contract with onerous retroactive terms, and the L/C Lenders’ ultimate unwillingness to restructure the Debtors’ letters of credit obligations under terms acceptable to the Debtors.

And, here, more on the union situation:

Changes and competition within the industry have had an ongoing negative impact on the Debtors’ revenues. The Debtors’ workforce is made up of approximately 3,450 full-time and part-time employees. The Union workforce consists of approximately: 1,425 truck drivers, and 475 dock workers, for a total of approximately 1,900 Union employees. The non-union workforce consists of, approximately: 145 truck drivers at Eastern, 600 part-time workers (primarily dock workers), and 805 other employees, for a total of approximately 1,550 non-union employees. Employee costs for the Debtors are, in the aggregate, substantially above industry normsMost of the LTL companies competing with the Debtors operate under non-unionized conditions. At the same time, there has developed an industry-wide shortage of drivers, putting the Debtors, with an aging fleet of vehicles, at a severe disadvantage. (emphasis added)

Given the company’s proximity to New York, its relationship with Amazon Inc. ($AMZN), and the role of unions in the ultimate break-up between New York City and Amazon (which happened a day later), we thought this story was particularly intriguing.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of New Jersey (Judge Sherwood)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Gibbons P.C. (Karen A. Giannelli, Mark B. Conlan, Brett S. Theisen) & (local) Wasserman, Jurista & Stolz, P.C. (Donald Clarke, Daniel Stolz)

    • Financial Advisor: Phoenix Management Services LLC (Vince Colistra)

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

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Charlotte Russe Holding Inc.

Charlotte Russe Holding Inc.

February 3, 2019

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

The company’s capital structure consists of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

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

  • Company Professionals:

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

    • Independent Director: David Mack

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

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Stuart Erickson)

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

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

    • Liquidation Consultant: Malfitano Advisors LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

    • Prepetition Term Agent: Jefferies Finance LLC

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

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

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

      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Edward Kim)

Updated 2/14/19 at 1:41 CT

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Mayflower Communities Inc. (d/b/a The Barrington of Carmel)😷

Mayflower Communities Inc. (d/b/a The Barrington of Carmel)

January 30, 2019

Mayflower Communities, Inc. (d/b/a The Barrington of Carmel), a non-profit senior living retirement community of 271 units in the State of Indiana, filed for bankruptcy in the Northern District of Texas earlier this week. As a continuing care retirement community (“CCRC”), Barrington provides a battery of services to its residents ranging from recreational activities to assisted living, memory support, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. Residents can get apartment homes on site.

The business model, however, is…well, interesting. Per the Company:

CCRCs, however, are often operationally and financially complex. More specifically, CCRCs can be challenging to operate because they require the maintenance of a broad range of services to seniors in varying stages of the aging process. Additionally, CCRCs require a steady flow of new residents in order to maintain day-to-day operations and to remain current on financial obligations, including, most importantly, obligations to current and former residents.

New residents = new revenue, which is also needed to meet debt obligations and comply with resident refund obligations.

Revenue comes from entrance fees ranging from approximately $316k to $650k, monthly serve fees from $2,800 to $7,600, and other per diem fees for skilled nursing, optional services fees and unit upgrade fees. In exchange, however, Barrington takes on a significant commitment. Per the company:

Unlike a pure rental retirement community, whereby a resident pays monthly fees for services (which fees may increase as the resident’s needs change), the Continuing Care Contract is a life care residency contract whereby a resident will pay an Entrance Fee and fixed monthly fees for Barrington’s commitment to provide life care services for the duration of the resident’s life, regardless of whether (i) the resident’s needs change over time which may require additional services to be provided by Barrington, or (ii) the costs of providing such services increase for Barrington. Significantly, Barrington’s commitment to provide life care services continue even if the resident’s financial condition deteriorates and is unable to continue to make its payments.

Non-profit, indeed. That sounds like a recipe for fiscal disaster.

The company reported $96.5mm in assets and $151.9mm in liabilities, including oversight fees owed to its management company, $52.4mm in resident refund obligations, $92.7mm (plus accrued interest) of long-term municipal bond obligations and $4.1mm of subordinated note obligations.

The aforementioned debt is a big problem. Compounding matters is the fact that the senior housing market in the geographic vicinity is “very competitive” which led to rental price and, by extension, margin, compression. Lower-than-projected revenues combined with the debt led to Barrington defaulting on its municipal bond obligations back in November. Consequently, the Bond Trustee commenced a receivership action. To forestall the Bond Trustee’s subsequent efforts to, among other things, displace the board and sole member, pursue a sale of the facility, and potentially reject continuing care contracts, the company filed for bankruptcy wherein it will leverage the “automatic stay” and “potentially pursue a sale of the Facility.”

  • Jurisdiction: N.D. of Texas

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: DLA Piper LLP (Thomas Califano, Rachel Nanes, Andrew Zollinger)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Ankura Consulting LLC (Louis Robichaux IV) & Larx Advisors Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Cushman & Wakefield U.S., Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Maremont Corporation

Maremont Corporation

January 22, 2019

Michigan-based Maremont Corporation, a subsidiary of publicly-traded non-debtor automobile component manufacturer Meritor Inc. ($MTOR), has filed for bankruptcy along with three affiliates in the District of Delaware. The company was a manufacturer, distributor and seller of aftermarket auto products — many of which contained asbestos; currently, it has no ongoing operations and its only assets are an intercompany receivable, a rent-producing commercial property with Dollar General as a tenant, a few bank accounts, and some insurance assets. In contrast, the company has significant liabilities — notably asbestos-related liabilities including defense and other costs associated with defending 13k pending personal injury and wrongful death claims.

The company, in consultation with its parent and committees of Future Claimants and current Asbestos Claimants, arrived at a prepackaged plan under section 524(g) of the Bankruptcy Code. The plan envisions a personal injury trust to be funded, in large part, by Meritor (via the repayment of a remaining receivable, a contribution of intercompany payables and a $28mm settlement payment) and a channeling injunction that protects the company (and Meritor) from future suit and liability arising out of the company’s asbestos legacy. Instead, any and all asbestos-related personal injury claims may only be pursued against, and paid from, the personal injury trust.

Meritor, like most of the stock market, got beaten up yesterday. There’s no telling whether the multi-million dollar payout here had anything to do with that.

Source: Yahoo!

Source: Yahoo!


For the uninitiated, this (horrifically boring) bankruptcy filing presents us with a good opportunity to highlight a potential structure (and its limitations) for any imminent Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E”) chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. PG&E’s issues — as have, by this point, been extensively documented — largely emanate out of (i) some oppressive California state liability laws (inverse-condemnation — definitely), (ii) man-made global warming and resultant mudslides and wildfires (probably), and (iii) at least a glint of negligence (probably). While the company has $18.4b of (mostly unsecured) debt, the catalyst to bankruptcy may be its multi-billion dollar liability from the aforementioned CA-state laws and years of environmental disaster.

Similar to Maremont, PG&E is likely to end up with some kind of plan of reorganization that features a litigation trust (for affected claimants) and a channeling injunction. Except, as John Rapisardi and Daniel Shamah of O’Melveny & Myers point out, there are limitations to that structure. They write:

There is one significant obstacle to any PG&E bankruptcy: the likely inability to discharge liabilities associated with wildfires that have not yet occurred. There have been numerous mass tort bankruptcies in the past that have been resolved through the formation of a litigation trust and channeling injunction, forcing litigants into a single forum where claims are satisfied through trust assets. See, e.g., 11 U.S.C. §524(g) (channeling injunction for asbestos debtors); In re TK Holdings, Doc. No. 2120, Case No. 17-11375 (Bankr D. Del.) (confirmation order with channeling injunction for debtor that manufactured airbags with defective components). But that structure only works for claims based on prior conduct or acts. PG&E, in contrast, faces perennial liability associated with wildfires and inverse condemnation. It may be challenging to discharge the inverse-condemnation liabilities associated with a post-petition wildfire. See 28 U.S.C. §959(a) (debtors-in-possession may be sued “with respect to any of their acts or transactions in carrying on business connected with such property.”).

Prior conduct or acts, huh? A discontinued product that happened to contain asbestos fits that bill. Likewise, a remedied airbag (the TK Holdings referenced above refers to Takata Airbags). Sadly — especially for Californians, there is nothing prior about environmental issues. Those are very much a present and future thing.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Carey)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (James Conlan, Andrew O’Neill, Alison Ross Stromberg, Blair Warner, Alex Rovira) & (local) Cole Schotz PC (Norman Pernick, J. Kate Stickles)

    • Claims Estimation Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal Disputes and Investigations LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Future Claimants Representative: James L. Patton Jr.

      • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP

      • Claims Estimation Advisor: Ankura Consulting Group LLC

💄New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Beauty Brands LLC💄

Beauty Brands LLC

January 6, 2019

A second beauty bankruptcy in three weeks. We previously noted:

On December 19, 2018, a week after Glossier CEO Emily Weiss revealed that the direct-to-consumer beauty brand hit $100mm in sales, Glansaol, a platform company that acquires, integrates and cultivates a portfolio of prestige beauty brands — including a direct-to-consumer brand — filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York.

Now, a Kansas City-based brick-and-mortar beauty retailer with 58 stores in 12 states, Beauty Brands LLC, filed for bankruptcy over the weekend in the District of Delaware. Though we’ve never heard of it, it is no small shop: the company generated $125mm of net sales for fiscal year ended February 3, 2018. 70% of its revenue came from retail products and 30% from salon and spa services. The company had an e-commerce platform that accounted for 6.2% of net sales. It does not own any real property, leasing each of its stores.

In December, the company’s lender, PNC Bank NA, declared a default on the company’s credit facility. Why? Per the Company:

Beauty Brands’ liquidity and financial position has been adversely affected by declining sales and rising costs associated with doing business as a predominantly “brick and mortar” retailer. These factors have adversely impacted the Debtors’ profitability and its liquidity, which in turn has made it increasingly difficult to source replenishment inventory, which in turn contributes to further declines in the Company’s sales.

Well, that certainly paints a nice picture of how trouble can spiral out of control. Compounding matters is the fact that the company decided to expand in the face of a changing brick-and-mortar retail environment…

From 2014 through 2016, Beauty Brands unsuccessfully attempted to reposition its brand identity and store model by opening 11 new format store locations, which required significant capital expenditures, deferral of other investment opportunities, and management’s focus on the new format stores to the detriment of its existing store locations. These new format store locations, which remain operational, have underperformed Beauty Brands’ expectations and contributed to operating losses incurred by the Debtors.

Despite pre-petition efforts to sell the company as a going concern, no buyers were forthcoming. Therefore, the company hired Hilco Merchant Resources LLC to commence a firm-wide liquidation. Nevertheless, the company holds out hope — given some 11th hour interest by two potential buyers — that it can auction approximately 33 of its stores (“Core Stores”). In the meantime, Hilco is pursuing “GOB” sales of the 23 remaining stores (“Closing Stores”)(PETITION Note: the company’s papers say there are 58 stores, and yet only 56 stores are accounted for in the company’s description of Core Stores and Closing Stores, though there is mention of one “Dark Store”). Hilco will also serve as the Stalking Horse Bidder for the Core Stores.

The company will pursue a short post-petition marketing and sale process with an aim towards an early February 2019 sale. The company will use a committed $9mm DIP from pre-petition agent, PNC Bank NA, to fund the process.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)

  • Capital Structure: $17.5mm ($6.9mm funded, including fees + interest)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Ashby & Geddes P.A. (Gregory Taylor, Stacy Newman, Katharina Earle, David Cook)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: RAS Management Advisors LLC (Timothy Boates, Michael Rizzo)

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Middle Markets LLC (Dermott O’Flanagan)

    • Liquidator: Hilco Merchant Resources LLC

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc.

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: PNC Bank NA

      • Legal: Blank Rome LLP (Gregory Vizza, John Lucian)

    • Replacement Stalking Horse Bidder: Absolute Beauty LLC

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Joshua Sussberg, Gene Goldmintz, Joshua Greenblatt) & (local) Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Dominic Pacitti)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (TIGI Linea Corp., Deva Concepts LLC, L’Oreal USA S/D Inc.)

      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Eric Wilson, Jason Adams, Lauren Schlussel) & (local) Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Carol Cabello)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Republic Metals Refining Corporation

Source: Pexels.com

Source: Pexels.com

November 2, 2018

Republic Metals Refining Corporation (and affiliates), a Miami-based family-owned refiner of gold and silver, filed for bankruptcy to run an orderly sale process of their assets and operations. Last spring, the debtors discovered “a significant discrepancy” in their inventory accounting that, ultimately, led to summer-time default notices from their various senior lenders. The lenders, however, were mostly kept at bay until the filing because the debtors appeared, on multiple occasions, to be close to a going concern sale.

Close. But no cigar.

In the absence of a pre-petition buyer and/or stalking horse bidder, the debtors will now continue their potential sale process or, alternatively, engage in a process to liquidate. The debtors have an agreement with their senior lenders for the consensual use of cash collateral for a short period to attempt a sale, liquidate, and implement a plan for the wind down of the debtors’ estates.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York

  • Capital Structure: $177mm senior debt

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Akerman LLP (Susan Balaschak, Andrea Hartley, Katherine Fackler, John Mitchell, Esther McKean)

    • Financial Advisor: Paladin Management Group LLC (Scott Avila)

    • Investment Banker: SSG Capital Advisors LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Senior Lender: ICBC Standard Bank Plc

      • Legal: Haynes and Boone LLP (J. Frasher Murphy, Eli Columbus, Geoffrey Raicht)

    • Senior Lenders: Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., New York Branch, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., Bank Hapoalim B.M., Mitsubishi International Corporation, Techemet Metal Trading LLC, Woodforest National Bank, and Bank Leumi USA.

      • Legal: Luskin Stern & Eisler LLP (Richard Stern, Alex Talesnick)

New Chapter 11 Filing - Open Road Films LLC

Open Road Films LLC

9/6/18

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

The company notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Chapter 11 Filing - EBH Topco LLC (a/k/a Element Behavioral Health Inc.)

EBH Topco LLC (a/k/a Element Behavioral Health Inc.)

5/23/18 

Behavioral health services and residential drug and alcohol addition treatment provider in 13 treatment centers across 8 states filed for bankruptcy. If that sounds boring: it's because it is. Which would explain why the Wall Street Journal felt compelled to drop in that its also the facility that treated Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan. SEO just shot through the roof. Anyway, the company stated,

While the Company has had ongoing financial difficulties, the overall census of the facilities and revenue has declined since 2017. The decline in out-of-network admissions, lower reimbursement rates by insurance providers and the decline in the average length of stay were all contributing factors to the financial losses of the Company. While the Company attempted to increase census through ongoing marketing efforts of its in-house sales team and internet advertising, the increased cost of these efforts did not result in the increase in revenue to improve the financial results of the Company and offset the Company’s cash burn. Financial performance for the fiscal year 2017 was $103.7 million in revenue, $129.6 million in expenses, and EBITDA of $(25.9) million with a total net income/(loss) of $(51.2) million.

Given that the company started in 2008 and then pursued an acquisition-based growth strategy, it seems like they didn't underwrite to current conditions. Ouch. 

Just a few weeks ago, Project Build Behavioral Health, LLC purchased the first lien paper and after an initial buyer of the assets fell through, agreed to be the company' stalking horse bidder in bankruptcy subject to an expedited sale process (the sale hearing is slated for late June); it intends to credit bid its debt. The company has a proposed $14.2 million DIP credit facility lined up to fund the cases. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
  • Capital Structure: $76mm '19 first lien term loan and revolver debt (Madison Capital Funding LLC), $29mm '20 second lien term loan (Cortland Capital Market Services LLC)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Shani Katona, Stephen Astringer, Jeremy Johnson)
    • CRO/Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Martin McGahan)
    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Lender/Stalking Horse Bidder: Project Build Behavioral Health, LLC
      • Legal: McDonald Hopkins LLC (David Agay, Scott Opincar, Michael Kaczka) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Lenders
      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Jonathan Levine, Daniel Harris)
    • Equity sponsors: NEA, Frazier Healthcare Ventures, Formation Capital

New Chapter 11 Filing - AcuSport Corporation

AcuSport Corporation

5/1/18

AcuSport Corporation, an Ohio-based (i) distributor of outdoor and shooting sports products and (ii) consultant to independent retailers, has filed for bankruptcy. Why? #MAGA!! That's why. 

In the company's words,

At a time when the defense market experienced a downturn in demand, the civilian small arms and ammunition market of the firearms industry was doing well. Consumers were concerned about the possibility of stricter gun control laws, which led to increased sales. Many firearms manufacturers, retailers, and distributors, including AcuSport, understood that consumers anticipated Hillary Clinton would win the presidential election in 2016. The common belief shared by businesses in the firearms industry was that demand would increase if Clinton was elected as President because consumers expected the new administration to seek to implement gun-control legislation. As a result, AcuSport, along with other firearms businesses, prepared for a spike in demand by, among other things, purchasing substantial amounts of inventory.

This should sound familiar. Remington Outdoor Company had a similar narrative when it filed for bankruptcy. Hilary Clinton's election loss has apparently wreaked havoc on the gun industry. To put some numbers around this, AcuSport's revenue decreased 30% in fiscal 2017 YOY. And yet it apparently has substantial inventory -- a fact borne out by its who's who list of top creditors. Gun lovers will recognize some of the names: Sturm Ruger & Company Inc. ($RGR), Glock Inc., Sig Sauer Inc., and others. If you're not a gun lover and happen to be a bankruptcy professional, you should recognize two others: Remington Arms Co. and Colt's Manufacturing Co. The latter two know their way around a bankruptcy court.

This turn of events triggered a default under the company's Wells Fargo-provided credit facility. The company proposes to sell to Ellett Brothers LLC, which has executed a stalking horse asset purchase agreement for a purchase price of $7.75 million plus the value of AcuSport's inventory. Subject to AcuSport's option and an administrative fee, the purchaser will also collect any accounts receivable existing at the time of closing. 

All of the Trump/NRA lovefests in the world can't seem to prevent gun-related companies from going bankrupt. Ironic. #MAGA!!

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Ohio (Judge Hoffman)
  • Capital Structure: $17.5mm debt (Wells Fargo Bank NA)      
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP (Jason Dejonker, Cullen Kuhn) & (local) Allen Kuehnle Stovall & Neuman LLP (Thomas Allen, Richard Stovall, Erin Gapinski)
    • Financial Advisor: Huron Consulting Services LLC (Daniel Wikel)
    • Investment Banker: Huron Transaction Advisory LLC (Geoffrey Frankel)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Lender: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Jacob Marshall, Jeremy Downs, Michael Tucker) & (local) Ulmer & Berne LLP (Reuel Ash)
    • Prospective Buyer: Ellett Brothers LLC
      • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Timothy Walsh, Megan Preusker) & (local) Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP (Lawrence Oscar, Daniel DeMarco)

Updated 5/4 at 7:05 CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - Wachusett Ventures LLC

Wachusett Ventures LLC

March 26, 2018

Skilled nursing operator in Massachusetts and Connecticut has filed for bankruptcy. The company blamed legacy expenses, management distress and macro issues for its filing. Per the filing, 

"...the Debtors have not been immune to the macroeconomic and industry-wide economic issues impacting the skilled nursing industry. Like others in the industry, the Debtors face declining reimbursement rates, pressure from declining occupancy rates across the country caused by the increased use of home care and other factors, and wage pressure." 

Y'all had better get used to this rationale. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Massachusetts (Judge Bailey)
  • Capital Structure: ~$7mm of funded debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Nixon Peabody LLP (RIchard Pedone, Christopher Desiderio, Christopher Fong)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano (*click on company name above for free docket access)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - PhaseRX Inc. ($PZRX)

PhaseRX Inc.

  • 12/11/17 Recap: Seattle-based and once-VC-backed publicly-traded ($PZRX) biopharma company focused on therapeutics developed to treat enzyme deficiencies in the liver via intracellular enzyme replacement therapy (after a pivot from from focusing on the treatment of liver cancer) filed for bankruptcy. The company seeks a sale through bankruptcy. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $500k promissory note (Titan Multi-Strategy Fund Ltd.), $16.2mm 8% convertible notes, $4mm 5% term loan, $5.1mm secured loan (Hercules Capital Inc.)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Shanti Katona, Nicholas Griebel)
    • Investment Banker: Cowen & Company 
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Large Equityholders/Venture Capital: (Arch Venture Fund VII LP, 5AM Ventures, Savoy Therapeutics Corp., Versant Venture Capital III LP)
    • Hercules Capital Inc. 
      • Legal: Cole Schotz PC (Patrick Reilley, Stuart Komrower)

Updated 12/12/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Velocity Pooling Vehicle LLC

Velocity Pooling Vehicle LLC

  • 11/15/17 Summary: A few weeks ago we questioned whether the restructuring industry ought to be focusing more on the automotive space, asking whether the bankruptcy of GST Autoleather Inc. was the canary in the coal mine. Now, here, Velocity Pooling Vehicle LLC (d/b/a Motorsport Aftermarket), an Indianapolis-based motorcycle aftermarket parts seller has filed for bankruptcy to address its balance sheet in the face of declining trends in the motorcycle market. The company has announced a consensual restructuring pursuant to which it will equitize its debt; it intends to fast-track the case and emerge from bankruptcy in Q1 '18. The company has secured a $135mm DIP credit facility. Term lenders Monomoy Capital Partners, BlueMountain Capital and Contrarian Partners are coming out with the equity in the company. More to come.
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Carey)
  • Capital Structure: $295mm '21 TL (Wilmington Trust NA), $85mm '22 second lien TL     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Jeff Marwil, Paul Possinger, Christopher Hayes, Jeramy Webb) & (local) Cole Schotz P.C. (Norman Pernick)
    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access once link appears)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Administrative Agent: Wells Fargo Bank, NA
      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Prisca Kim) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Brett Haywood)
    • Ad Hoc Group
      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Jayme Goldstein, Daniel Ginsberg, Matthew Garofalo) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn)

Updated 11/17/17 6:11 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Bestwall LLC

Bestwall LLC

  • 11/2/17 Recap: Nothing like a big juicy asbestos case. Here, the company filed for bankruptcy to establish an asbestos trust to deal with current and future asbestos claimants on a permanent and equitable basis. It has been dealing with litigation for nearly 40 years - over the course of hundreds of thousands of cases - and because it thinks it will be the target of continued litigation "through at least 2050," it thought it best to file and take advantage of the Bankruptcy Code's scheme for dealing with asbestos-related claims. 
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of North Carolina (Judge Beyer) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Jones Day (Gregory Gordon, Daniel Prieto, Jeffrey Ellman, Amanda Rush, Brad Erens) & (local) Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson PA (Garland Cassada, David Schilli, Andrew Tarr)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Other Parties in Interest:
      • Creditor: Georgia-Pacific LLC
        • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton (Natasha Labovitz, Mark Goodman)

Updated 11/8/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Vasari LLC (d/b/a Dairy Queen)

Vasari LLC

  • 10/30/17 Recap: Texas-based large franchise operator of Dairy Queen brand restaurants operating approximately 70 locations across Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico filed for bankruptcy. Burdened under the weight of its debt, its lease obligations, and franchise fees, the company struggled to generate revenue to offset its obligations. Why? Well, somewhat surprisingly, the company doesn't immediately dive into the "restaurant excuse bin" (air-quotes) with hackneyed narratives like "bad weather," "experiential desires" and "millennials don't SNAP upside-down frozen treats." Rather, the company notes, "[t]he difficulties faced by the Debtor can largely be traded to the much publicized decline in oil prices. The decline in oil prices has severely impacted the job market for oil related jobs in regions of west Texas and east Oklahoma and has thus resulted in cross-industry declines in revenues in areas heavily dependent on oil related jobs." The company continues, "Since bouncing from a 12 year low, oil prices have begun to rebound; however, oil-related jobs have not. Without oil-related jobs, certain DQ locations will likely continue to underperform, causing a drain on the Debtor's resources." Hurricane Harvey was the cherry on top, disrupting operations in 17 locations. Now, the company intends to use bankruptcy to continue to evaluate its store footprint, shed some stores, and pursue a sale of the remaining locations. 
  • Jurisdiction: N.D. of Texas (Judge Mullin)
  • Capital Structure: $10.8mm debt (Cadence Bank NA), $777k PIK subordinated promissory note.    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Husch Blackwell LLP (Vickie Driver, Christina Stephenson, Ryan Burgett, Alexander Terras)
    • Financial Advisor: Mastodon
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition/DIP Lender: Cadence Bank NA
      • Legal: Morris Manning & Martin LLP (Frank DeBorde, David Mayo) & (local) Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP (Holland O'Neil, Jason Binford)  
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Gray Reed & McGraw LLP (Jason Brookner, Michael Bishop, Lydia Webb)

Updated 11/17/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - MAC Acquisition LLC (aka Romano's Macaroni Grill)

MAC Acquisition LLC (aka Romano's Macaroni Grill)

  • 10/18/17 Recap: Back in 2015, Ignite Restaurant Group offloaded Romano's Macaroni Grill to RedRock Partners LLC in an attempt to bolster its liquidity and avoid bankruptcy. It failed: the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year (case summary here). Perhaps that had something to do with the fact that the sale was for a measly $8mm, "a price akin to dumping your unwanted junk on Craigslist." Now, Romano's Macaroni Grill has filed for bankruptcy to restructure its balance sheet and further an operational restructuring, including dealing with lessor damage claims arising out of terminated leases (the company closed 37 company-operated locations in 2017; it has 93 company-owned restaurants remaining exclusive of non-debtor franchises). The company blames its chapter 11 filing on (i) the inability to generate sufficient cashflow, sales and margin to cover operating expenses let alone service its debt (TTM EBITDA as of 8/17 was -$12mm), and (ii) increased costs for both commodities and labor. We note that this provision in the company's bankruptcy papers is indicative of a larger trend befalling the casual dining segment: "The Debtors’ operations and financial performance have been adversely affected by a number of economic factors, but perhaps most notably by an overall downturn for the casual dining industry. The preferences of such customers have shifted to cheaper, faster alternatives. On the other end of the spectrum, there is a trend among younger customers to spend their disposable income at non-chain “experience-driven” restaurants, even if slightly more expensive." In other words, this bankruptcy is partly Evan Spiegel (Snapchat, $SNAP) and Kevin Systrom's (Instagram, $FB) fault. The company has a restructuring support agreement with its major stakeholders to pursue a dual-track bankruptcy via a plan of reorganization and a potential sale upon the hiring of an investment banker (heads up: bankers!!). The company has secured a junior $5mm DIP credit facility from Raven Capital Management LLC. P.S. Nothing to see here for the REITS: Simon Property Group has made a notice of appearance in the matter. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)
  • Capital Structure: $12mm RCF (Bank of Colorado), $2.5mm TL (Bank of Colorado), $3.5mm LOC (Bank of Colorado), $5mm Funding Loan 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Jeffrey Krause, Michael Neumeister, Emily Speak, Brittany Schmeltz) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Edmon Morton, Ryan Bartley, Elizabeth Justison)
    • Financial Advisor/Chief Restructuring Officer: Mackinac Partners LLC (Nishant Machado, Pasquale Maturo)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Lender: Raven Capital Management LLC
      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Justin Rawlins, Carey Schreiber, Eric Sagerman) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor, Stacy Newman)
    • Bank of Colorado
      • Legal: Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin LLC (Thomas Horan, Johnna Darby, Brian Shaw) & (local) Markus Williams Young & Zimmermann LLC (James Markus)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Eric Wilson, Jason Adams, Lauren Schlussel) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Gregory Flasser)

Updated 11/8/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Exelco North America Inc.

Exelco North America Inc.

  • 9/26/17 Recap: International diamond distributor has filed a chapter 11 bankruptcy to stay its bank lender KBC Bank's attempts to foreclose. A prior proceeding had been underway in Antwerp prior to being withdrawn.
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (Kathryn Coleman, Jeffrey Margolin, Dustin Smith) & Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Andrew Magaziner)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Co. Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
  • Updated 11/8/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - Knight Energy Holdings LLC

Knight Energy Holdings LLC

  • 8/8/17 Recap: We were starting to sleep on the oil and gas services space. This trainwreck - which had been kicking around for quite a while - is finally in bankruptcy court. We could bore you with the usual details about services companies sucking wind ever since gas prices imploded - what was it? nearly 24 months ago? - but why waste precious space when we can amuse you with stories of drug racketeering instead? After all, "People Make the Difference." Hahaha. Anyway, we guess it's our duty to, in fact, bore you with some more of the mundane restructuring facts so we will once we have more information. For now, we understand that the filing is pursuant to a restructuring support agreement and the debtors seek a multi-draw DIP credit facility of $10mm. More to come.
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of Louisiana (Judge Summerhays)
  • Capital Structure: $mm debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Heller Draper Patrick Horn & Dabney, LLC (Douglas Draper, William Patrick III, Tristan Manthey, Cherie Nobles)
    • Financial Advisor: Opportune LLP (Gary Pittman)
    • Investment Banker: Bayshore Partners (Michael Turner)
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Sponsor: Clearlake Capital Group LP
    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz PC (Jan M. Hayden, Edward H. Arnold III, Lacey Rochester, Susan Matthews)

Updated 9/21/17