⛽️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 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 - LBI Media Inc.

LBI Media Inc.

November 21, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving y’all!! LBI Media Inc. and several affiliates FINALLY filed for bankruptcy today in the District of Delaware after years of questions about its financial health. The company is a privately held minority-owned Spanish-language broadcaster that owns or licenses 27 Spanish-language television and radio stations in the largest US markets; it services the largest media markets in the nation, including Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Miami, Houston and Dallas. It is also a victim of disruption.

The company notes that it has “faced the market pressures that have broadly affected U.S. television and radio broadcasters, including the 2008 recession and the diversion of advertising spend by companies to digital media.” Insert Facebook Inc. ($FB) here. That’s not all, though, of course: the company is also hampered by “a substantial debt load and corresponding interest expense obligations” which has stunted LBI’s financial performance, ability to invest and grow, and liquidity.

To address this situation, the company obtained an investment from its now-DIP lender, HPS Investment Partners, in April 2018 for a new first lien credit facility. This provided the company with much needed liquidity and, in turn, briefly extended the company’s runway out of bankruptcy court. The “make-whole” provision attached to the facility, however, became the subject of much controversy and an ad hoc group of second lien noteholders sued in New York state court for an injunction to hinder the transaction. Ultimately, the state court denied the noteholders.

But…but…the noteholders persisted. And this, apparently, left a bitter taste in the mouth’s of company management (and its counsel). Junior Noteholders, meet bus. 🚌🚌 The company notes:

Following the closing of the transaction, LBI sought to continue its growth efforts. However, such efforts were weakened by the Junior Noteholder Group, which continued to litigate against the Company, its founder and CEO, and HPS, the Company’s sole senior lender. The Junior Noteholder Group commenced multiple lawsuits, and threatened several more, distracting management from operations. These actions and threats not only hindered the Debtors’ efforts to improve their operations, but certain actions, including seeking to enjoin the first lien financing, risked pushing LBI into a precipitous freefall bankruptcy.

When coupled with the Debtors’ tightening liquidity (which was exacerbated by the expense of the Junior Noteholder Group litigation), the Junior Noteholder Group’s actions made it substantially more difficult for LBI to achieve the growth it had hoped for, and the Company determined that a comprehensive reorganization may be necessary.

Thereafter, settlement talks with the Junior Noteholders proved unsuccessful and, now, therefore, the company marches into bankruptcy court with a Restructuring Support Agreement (“RSA”) in hand with HPS whereby, subject to a “fiduciary out,” HPS will serve as (prearranged but hardly set in stone) Plan sponsor and swap its $233mm first lien senior secured notes for a majority equity interest in the company. The Plan — which at the time of this writing isn’t on the docket yet — reportedly provides for recoveries for other “supporting” constituencies. What’s that we hear? IT’S A (DEATH) TRAP!?!

(PETITION NOTE: for the uninitiated, a “death trap plan” is an inartful term for when the Debtor proposes and the senior lenders allows a recovery to trickle down the “priority waterfall” to junior lenders but only on account of said junior lenders’ support of, or vote for, the proposed Plan. In essence, its consideration for dispensing with “holdup value.” A “fiduciary out” gives the Debtor flexibility to, despite the RSA, agree to an alternative transaction that bests the HPS transaction without penalty or the need to pay a “break-up fee.”).

The plan provides the company with 75-day period to run a marketing process. While the company will market the company to potential strategic and financial investors, it is also making overtures to the Junior Noteholders to take out HPS’ claim(s) (without needing to satisfy the make-whole) and become the Plan sponsor such that it could walk away with 100% equity in the company.

All of which is to say: don’t let the terms “RSA” and “Plan” fool you. This is far from a consensual case being presented to the Bankruptcy Court Judge wrapped up in a shiny bow. The Junior Noteholders have been fighting the company and HPS for months: there is no reason to suspect that that will stop now merely because the company is a chapter 11 debtor.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Lane)

  • Capital Structure: $233mm 10% ‘23 senior secured notes, $262mm 11.5/13.5 ‘20 PIK toggle second priority secured notes, $27.95mm 11% ‘22 PIK unsecured Intermediate senior Holdco notes (TMI Trust Company), $8.46mm 11% ‘17 unsecured Holdco notes (U.S. Bank NA)    

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ray Schrock, Garrett Fail, David J. Cohen) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceschi)

    • Board of Directors: Jose Liberman, Lenard Liberman, Winter Horton, Rockard Delgadillo, Peter Connoy, Neal Goldman

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition First Lien & DIP Lender: HPS Investment Partners LLC ($38mm)

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Paul Basta, Jeffrey Safferstein, Sarah Harnett) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, M. Blake Cleary)

    • First Lien Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster (Jonathan Levine) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden)

    • Collateral Trustee for First Lien Notes: Credit Suisse AG

      • Legal: Locke Lorde LLP (Juliane Dziobak)

    • Ad Hoc Group of (Junior) Second Lien Noteholders

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Rachel Strickland)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Holdco Noteholders

      • Legal: Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Matthew McGuire)

Updated 11/21/18 at 8:27 CT

🛌New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Mattress Firm Inc.🛌

Mattress Firm Inc.

10/05/18

Recap: See our recap here.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)

  • Capital Structure: See below.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (Bojan Guzina, Michael Fishel, Gabriel MacConaill, Matthew Linder, Blair Warner) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton)

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Durc Savini)

    • Liquidator: Gordon Brothers Group LLC

      • Legal: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (Steven Reisman, Cindi Giglio) & (local) Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP (Mark Minuti, Lucian Murley)

    • Real Estate Advisors: A&G Realty Partners

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Barclays Bank PLC

      • Legal: Paul Hastings LLP (Andrew Tenzer, Michael Comerford) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Jason Madron)

    • Citizens Bank NA

      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Julia Frost-Davies, Marc Leduc, Laura McCarthy) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Jason Madron)

    • Steinhoff International Holdings N.V

      • Legal: Linklaters LLP (Robert Trust, Christopher Hunker, Amy Edgy) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott, Andrew Remming, Joseph C. Barsalona II)

    • Exit term loan financing backstop group (the “Backstop Group”): Attestor Capital LLP, Baupost Group, Centerbridge Partners LP, DK Capital Management Partners, Farrallon Capital Management L.L.C., KKR & Co. Partners LLP, Monarch Alternative Capital LP, Och-Ziff Capital Management, Silverpoint Capital

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Mitchell Seider, Adam Goldberg, Hugh Keenan Murtagh, Marc Zelina, Adam Kassner) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden, Karen Skomorucha Owens, F. Troupe Mickler IV)

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New Chapter 11 Filing - Nine West Holdings Inc.

Nine West Holdings Inc.

April 6, 2018

Nine West Holdings Inc., the well-known footwear retailer, has finally filed for bankruptcy. The company will sell its Nine West and Bandolino brands to Authentic Brands Group and reorganize around its One Jeanswear Group, The Jewelry Group, the Kasper Group, and Anne Klein business segments. The company has a restructuring support agreement in hand to support this dual-process. 

More on the situation here

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Chapman)

  • Capital Structure: See below.

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, James Stempel, Joseph Graham, Angela Snell, Anna Rotman, Jamie Aycock, Justin Alphonse Mercurio, Alyssa Russell)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Ralph Schipani III, Julie Hertzberg, Holden Bixler, Amy Lee, Richard Niemerg, Theodore Langer, Stuart Loop, Thomas Koch, Michael Dvorak)

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Dennis Dunne, Andrew Leblanc, Alexander Lees)

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (David Kurtz, Ari Lefkovits, David Hales, Mike Weitz, Nikhil Angelo, Okan Kender, Abigail Gay, Drew Deaton) & Consensus Advisory Services LLC

    • Authorized Officers: Stefan Kaluzny, Peter Morrow, Harvey Tepner, Alan Miller

    • Legal to the Authorized Officers: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP (Seth Goldman, Kevin Allred, Thomas Walper)

    • Financial Advisor to the Authorized Officers: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Jay Borow)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Stalking Horse Bidder/Buyer: Authentic Brands Group

      • Legal: DLA Piper LLP (Richard Chesley, Ann Lawrence, Rachel Ehrlich Albanese)

    • Prepetition ABL and FILO Agent: Wells Fargo NA

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

    • Administrative Agent for the prepetition secured and unsecured Term Loan Facilities: Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc.

    • Indenture Trustee for 3 series of Unsecured Notes: US Bank NA

      • Legal: White & Case LLP (J. Christopher Shore, Philip Abelson) & Seward & Kissel LLP (John Ashmead, Arlene Alves)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Secured Lenders (Farmstead Capital Management LLC, KKR Credit Advisors (US) LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Huebner, Darren Klein, Adam Shpeen)

      • Financial Advisor: Ducera Partners LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Crossover Lenders (Alden Global Capital LLC, Carlson Capital LP, CVC Credit Partners LLC, Silvermine Capital Management LLC, Trimaran Advisors)

      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Michael Rupe, Jeffrey Pawlitz, Michael Handler, Bradley Giordano)

      • Financial Advisor: Guggenheim Securities LLC

    • Brigade Capital Management, LP

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (Douglas Mannel, Rachael Ringer)

      • Financial Advisor: Moelis & Company

    • Ad Hoc Group of 2019 Unsecured Noteholders (Whitebox Advisors LLC, Scoggin Management LP, Old Bellows Partners LP, Wazee Street Opportunities Fund IV)

      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Rachel Strickland)

    • Ad Hoc Group of 2034 Unsecured Noteholders

      • Legal: Jones Day

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey

    • Administrative Agent for $247.5mm DIP ABL Facility

    • Administrative Agent for $50mm DIP TL Facility

    • Sponsor: Sycamore Partners LP

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Mark Thomas, Peter Young, Michael Mervis, Jared Zajac, Chantel Febus, Alyse Stach)

    • KKR Asset Management

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Dennis Dunne, Andrew Leblanc)

    • Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc.

      • Legal: Ropes & Gray LLP (Gregg Galardi, Gregg Weiner)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Aurelius Capital Master Ltd., GLAS Trust Company LLC, PBGC, Simon Property Group, Stella International Trading (Macao Commercial Offshore) Ltd., Surefield Limited, U.S. Bank NA)

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Daniel Golden, David Zensky, Deborah Newman, Arik Preis, Jason Rubin, Anthony Loring, Michael Byun, Patrick Chen)

      • Legal Conflicts Counsel: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP (David Rosner, Howard Schub)

      • Financial Advisor: Protiviti Inc. (Guy Davis, Suzanne Roski, Heather Williams, John Eldred, Justin Koehler, Brian Taylor, Russell Brooks, Matthew Smith, Blake Parker, Lee Slobodien, Omkar Vale, Lok Lam, Sean Sterling) & Province Inc. (Michael Atkinson, Jason Crockett, Eunice Min, Byron Groth)

      • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Saul Burian, Surbhi Gupta, Chris Khoury, Tejas Kullarwar, Matt Ender, Brendan Wu)

Updated 11/3/18 at 6:42 am CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Charming Charlie Holdings Inc.

Charming Charlie Holdings Inc.

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

12/13/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Appvion Inc.

Appvion Inc.

  • 10/2/17 Recap: The 100+-year old Appleton Wisconsin-based manufacturer of specialty coated paper has filed for bankruptcy. The company operates in two segments, the thermal paper segment and the carbonless paper segment. The thermal paper segment, on the surface, seems like it would be the most susceptible segment to technological disruption. It is used in four principal end markets: 1) point-of-sale for retail receipts and coupons (PETITION Note: you could understand why this would seemingly be in decline with Square and other P.O.S. stations now emailing receipts - not to mention more and more retail being done online); 2) label products for shipping, warehousing, medical and clean-room supplies (PETITION Query: perhaps the shipping labels offsets the paper receipts?); 3) tags and tickets for airline/baggage applications, events and transportation tickets, lottery and gaming applications (PETITION Note: one of us bought a baseball a scannable paperless ticket the other day from Stubhub...hmmm); and 4) printer, calculator and chart paper for engineering, industrial and medical diagnostic charts. The thermal paper segment is 60% of the company's net sales and has enjoyed annual average growth rates between 1-3%. Somewhat shockingly. PETITION Note: We would have liked to have seen those four sub-segments separated out. Meanwhile, the carbonless paper segment accounts for the other 40% of net sales; it produces coated paper products for design and print applications. The paper is used in a variety of end markets including government, retail, financial, insurance and manufacturing. This segment has been in structural decline since 1994, down approximately 7-11% annually due to the rise of new technologies in digital laser, inkjet and thermal printers. Oh, and electronic communications: the company just throws that in their bankruptcy papers like it's an afterthought. In other words, government and corporations are relying more on email than on the printed page which, duh, obviously impacts this segment. The company owns there manufacturing plants and leases three warehouses; it also has 915 union employees - owed $112.6mm in obligations - who probably ought to get ready to get bent (they are represented by the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (the “USW”). The company blames the chapter 11 filing on negative industry trends, an unsustainable degree of balance sheet leverage, inability to adequately address near-term maturities and rapidly deteriorating liquidity. Liquidity became even more of an issue after the company issued a "going concern" warning and received an S&P credit downgrade - two things that obviously made suppliers skittish and resulted in demands for disadvantageous trade terms. Recognizing decreased liquidity, the company appears to have taken as much cost out of the business as it can which, from the looks of the company's papers, may be artificially inflating the numbers on the thermal side in the face of technological innovation. PETITION Note: the assumptions the bankers concoct for this side of the business ought to be watched very carefully. Somewhat surprisingly, despite a full slate of advisors and months of lead-up to the filing, this is a classic free-fall into bankruptcy: there doesn't appear to be any restructuring support agreement with the lenders whatsoever. There is, however, a proposed $325.2mm DIP credit facility which would include $85mm of new money and a $240.2mm rollup of pre-petition money (in other words, the full amount of pre-petition TL & RCF monies outstanding, ex-interest). Nothing like being senior in the cap stack. Final PETITION Note: anyone think this will be the last paper-related bankruptcy in, say, the next 12 months? This is starting to look like 2007 all over again...
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $335mm first lien TL & $100 RCF ($240.8mm outstanding included accrued/unpaid interest), $250mm '20 9% second lien senior notes, $24mm A/R securitization, $6mm Industrial Development Bonds, $500k TL with the State of Ohio
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: DLA Piper (US) LLP (Richard Chesley, Stuart Brown, Jamila Willis, Kaitlin Edelman)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLP (Alan Holtz, Pilar Tarry, Nathan Kramer)
    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Ronen Bojmel)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Strategic Communications Consultant: Finsbury LLC
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Admin Agent: Wilmington Trust, NA
      • Legal: Covington & Burling LLP (Ronald Hewitt) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Fournier)
    • DIP Lenders
      • Legal: O'Melveny & Myers LLP (George Davis, Daniel Shamah, Matthew Kremer, Jennifer Taylor) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger P.A. (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Brett Haywood)
    • Prepetition Credit Agreement Admin Agent: Jefferies Finance LLC
      • Legal: Jones Day (Scott Greenberg, Brad Erens) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, Timothy Cairns)
    • Key Bank National Association
      • Legal: Reed Smith LLP (Peter Clark II, Jennifer Knox, Emily Devan)
    • Fifth Third Bank
      • Legal: Vedder Price PC (Michael Eidelman, Michael Edelman) & (local) Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Jeremy Ryan, R. Stephen McNeill, D. Ryan Slaugh)
    • Ad Hoc Committee of Holders of the 9% '20 Second Lien Senior Secured Notes (ADK Capital LLC, ALJ Capital Management LLC, Archer Capital Management LP, Armory Advisors LLC, Barings LLC, Mackenzie Investments, MAK Capital One LLC, Nomura Corporate Research and Assset Management, Riva Ridge Master Fund Ltd., Rotation Capital Management LP, Scott's Cove Management LLC)
      • Legal: Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP (Jayme Goldstein, Samantha Martin) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Matthew Lunn)
    • Second Lien Senior Secured Notes Indenture Trustee: US Bank NA
      • Legal: Foley & Lardner LLP (Richard Bernard, Derek Wright, Mark Prager)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Kenneth Rosen, Jeffrey Prol, Wojciech Jung) & (local) Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Michael Yurkewicz, Morton Branzburg, Sally Veghte)

Updated 10/26/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - Gulfmark Offshore Inc.

Gulfmark Offshore Inc.

  • 5/17/17 Recap: Everyone has been waiting for the offshore action and it's finally here. Except, its fairly anticlimactic. Here, the publicly-traded Houston-based offshore oil and gas logistics services provider filed for bankruptcy to effectuate a financial restructuring pursuant to a Restructuring Support Agreement signed with holders of its unsecured senior notes. The noteholders will get approximately 36% of the equity in the newly reorganized company along with rights to purchase an additional 60% equity slug pursuant to a backstopped $125mm rights offering. Existing equity will get a small equity "kiss" and some warrants. This is so boring that EVEN WE can't really find much to make fun of. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $100mm RCF ($72mm funded)(Royal Bank of Scotland), NOK600mm Norwegian Facility ($44.3mm funded)(DNB Bank ASA), $430mm '22 6.375% unsecured senior notes (funded)(US Bank NA)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Weil (Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich, Debora Hoehne) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Zachary Shapiro, Brett Haywood, Christopher De Lillo)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Brian Fox, Kevin Larin, RIchard Niemerg, Don Koetting, Lacie Melasi, Robert Country)
    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC (Stephen Hannan, David Andrews, Sachin Lulla, Pranav Goel, Arth Patel)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for access to free docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Indenture Trustee: US Bank NA
      • Legal: Foley & Lardner LLP (Derek Wright, Mark Prager)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Unsecured Noteholders
      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Dennis Dunne, Evan Fleck, Nelly Almeida) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Gregory Werkheiser, Robert Dehney)
        • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.
    • Prepetition Multicurrency RCF Lender: Royal Bank of Scotland
      • Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (Michael Torkin, Brian Glueckstein, David Zylberberg) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Joseph Barry, Ian Bambrick)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.
    • Prepetition NOK Lender: DNB Bank ASA
      • Legal: Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (Christopher Kiplok, Anson Frelinghuysen, Erin Diers) & (local) Bayard PA (Erin Fay)
      • Financial Advisor: Guggenheim Securities LLC
    • Gulfmark Rederi AS
      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (Jason Boland, William Greendyke) & (local) Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice LLP (Matthew Ward)

Updated 7/12/17 9:301 am CT

New Chapter 11 & CCAA Filing - Payless Shoesource Inc.

Payless Shoesource Inc.

  • 4/4/17 Recap: Private equity backed Kansas-based discount footwear retailer with over 4000 stores filed for bankruptcy because, well, right, it's a private equity backed retailer. Golden Gate Capital and Blum Capital Partners are the sponsors and we've previously covered their methods, uh, we mean "value-add" proposition. We probably won't even bother to read the filing documents because we're 98.9% confident they say the same sh*t every other retail case has said, e.g., poor e-commerce...blah blah...Amazon...blah blah...mall-based retail...blah blah...bad weather...blah blah...Showtime's Billions sucks...wait, what?...whatever, it does (who cares if that's relevant?)...millennial shopping habits...blah blah...bleeding top line and depressed comp store sales...blah blah...dividend recaps...blah blah blah. Apparently the retailer is going to close nearly 400 stores while it attempts to reorganize around what remains - all in accordance to a plan support agreement that the company has entered into with 2/3 of its term loan lenders and with the support of a $385mm DIP facility (of which $80mm is new money). Meanwhile, we'll see what kind of cascading effect this will have on (a) China's manufacturing sector which, apparently, has seen significant stretching of payables (up to 100 days) - a fact evidenced by the top 50 creditors list, and (b) our lovely "A" malls (notably, Simon Property Group made a notice of appearance before the first day pleadings were even completely filed). Finally, the CEO dropped the fact that the new business plan will focus on, among other things, "omnichannel expansion" and since that is the retail buzzword/phrase of the moment, we guess there's really nothing to see here: all will be fine. 
  • 4/6/17 Update: We read the documents and, generally speaking, everything we said above applies. Two other factors apparently worth mentioning as causes for the filing: inventory management issues (compounded by the West Coast port strikes) and foreign exchange issues.
  • Jurisdiction: E.D. of Missouri
  • Capital Structure: $300 ABL ($187mm out - Wells Fargo), $520mm '21 TL ($506mm out), $145mm '22 second lien TL (Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc.)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Nicole Greenblatt, William Guerrieri, Christine Pirro, Jessica Kuppersmith) & (local) Armstrong Teasdale LLP (Steven Cousins, Erin Edelman) & (Canadian counsel) Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP 
    • Legal to Independent Director: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP (Thomas Walper, Seth Goldman, Kevin Allred)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Robert Campagna)
    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Morgan Suckow)
    • Real Estate: RCS Real Estate Advisors (Ivan Friedman)
    • Liquidators: Great American Group LLC & Tiger Capital Group LLC
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free court docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Committee of First Lien Term Lenders (Alden Global Opportunities Master Fund, Credit Suisse Asset Management, GSO Capital Partners, Hawkeye Capital Management, Invesco Senior Secured Management, Octagon Credit Investors LLC, AIC Finance, Axar Capital Management)
      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Michael Rupe, Christopher Boies, Jeffrey Pawlitz, Austin Jowers, Michael Handler)
      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.
    • DIP ABL Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (Kevin Simard, Douglas Gooding, Jonathan Marshall) & (local) Thompson Coburn LLP (Mark Bossi)
    • First Lien Agent & DIP TL Agent: Morgan Stanley Senior Funding Inc. & Cortland Products Corp.
      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (Stephen Castro, David Rosenzweig, Danielle Ledford, Tim Walsh)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Robert Feinstein, Jeffrey Pomerantz, Bradford Sandler) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Matthew Layfield, Christopher Ward, Shanti Katona)
      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc.

Updated 4/18/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Limited Stores Company LLC

Limited Stores Company LLC

  • 1/17/17 Recap: Sun Capital owned multi-channel retailer with 250 locations (down from a peak of 750) filed for bankruptcy to continue its Hilco-assisted liquidation and sell its IP and e-commerce channel for a proposed ~$25.5mm sum to Sycamore Partners. Looks like some "A Malls" owned by Simon Property Group and GGP Limited Partnership just got nicked.  
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $50mm RCF (unfunded, BofA), $13.4 TL (Cerberus Business Finance LLC)   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Domenic Pacitti, Michael Yurkewicz)
    • Financial Advisor: RAS Management Advisors LLC (Timothy Boates)
    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC (Durc Savini, Ryan Mash, Michael Gottlieb, Ben Loveland, Justin Kundrat, Grace Dai)
    • Sponsor: Sun Capital Partners Inc.
    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano (*click on company name for docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Cerberus Business Finance LLC
      • Legal: Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern LLP (Michael Tuchin, David Fidler, Jonathan Weiss)
    • Sycamore Partners
      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Stempel)
    • TradeGlobal LLC
      • Legal: Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP (Elliot Smith) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Jason Adams, James Carr, James Shickich, Kristin Elliott) & Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Bradford Sandler, James O'Neill)
      • Financial Advisor: CBIZ Accounting Tax and Advisory of New York (Esther DuVal)

Updated 3/30/17