New Chapter 11 Filing - Hexion Holdings LLC

Hexion Holdings LLC

April 1, 2019

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

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

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

This is what that capital structure looks like:

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Noteholders

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

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Crossover Noteholdres

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

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of 1.5 Lien Noteholders

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

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

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

    • Trustee under the First Lien Notes and the Second Lien Notes: Wilmington Trust NA

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

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

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

    • Sponsor: Apollo

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

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

Updated:

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

F+W Media Inc.

March 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

Nailed it.

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

The numbers are brutal. The company notes that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure:

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Investment Banker: Greenhill & Co.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

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

Updated 8:18am CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Things Remembered Inc.

Things Remembered Inc.

2/6/19

This has been a rough week for "out-of-court" restructurings in the retail space. On the heals of Charlotte Russe's collapse into bankruptcy after an attempted out-of-court solution, Things Remembered Inc. filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware on February 6, 2019. We recently wrote about Things Remembered here. Let's dig in a bit more. 

The 53-year old retailer filed with a stalking horse purchaser, Ensco Properties LLC, in line to purchase, subject to a tight 30-day timeframe, a subset of the company's store footprint and direct-sales business. The company writes in the most Trumpian-fashion imaginable:

"Although stores not acquired will need to close, the going-concern sale wills save hundreds of jobs and potentially many more and provide an improved, and significantly less risky, recovery to stakeholders." What does "potentially many more" mean? Don't they know how many people are employed at the locations being sold as well as corporate support? Seems like a Trumpian ad lib of corresponding inexactitude. But, whatever. 

What caused the need for bankruptcy?

"Like many other retailers, the Company has suffered from adverse macro-trends, as well as certain microeconomic operational challenges. Faced with these challenges, the Company initiated multiple go-forward operational initiatives to increase brick-and-mortar profitability, such as store modernization through elimination of paper forms and the addition of iPads to streamline the personalization and sale process, and by shuttering a number of underperforming locations. The Company also sought to bolster the Debtors’ online-direct sale business, including aggressive marketing to loyal customers to facilitate sales through online channels, attracting new customers via an expanded partnership with Amazon, and increasing service capabilities for the business-to-business customer segment."

Read that paragraph and then tell us that retail management teams (and their expensive advisors) have any real clue how to combat the ails confronting retail. Elimination of paper forms? Ipads? Seriously? Sure, the rest sounds sensible and comes right out of today's standard retail playbook, i.e., shutter stores, bolster online capabilities, leverage Amazon's distribution, tapping into "loyal customers," etc. We're surprised they didn't mention AR/VR, Blockchain, "experiential retail," pop-ups, advertising on scooters, loyalty programs, and all of the other trite retail-isms we've heard ad nauseum (despite no one actually proving whether any or all of those things actually drive revenue). 

The rest of the story is crazy familiar by this point. The "challenging operating environment" confronting brick-and-mortar and mall-based retail, specifically, led to missed sales targets and depressed profitability. Naturally there were operational issues that compounded matters and, attention Lenore Estrada (INSERT LINK), "…vendors have begun to place pressure on the supply chain cost structure by delaying or cancelling shipments until receiving payment." Insert cash on delivery terms here. Because that's what they should do when a customer is mid-flush. 

Anyway, shocker: negative cash flows persisted. Consequently, the company and its professionals commenced a marketing process that landed Enesco as stalking horse bidder. Enesco has committed to acquiring the direct-sales business (which constitutes 26% of all sales in 2018 and includes the e-commerce website, hq, fulfillment and distribution center in Ohio and related assets) and approximately 128 stores (subject to addition or subtraction, but a floor set at 50 store minimum). Store closings of approximately 220 stores and 30 kiosks commenced pre-petition. A joint venture between Hilco Merchant Resources LLC and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC is leading that effort (which again begs the question as to how Gymboree is the only recent retailer that required the services of four "liquidators"). The purchase price is $17.5mm (subject to post-closing adjustments). $17.5mm is hardly memorable. That said, the company did have negative $4mm EBITDA so, uh, yeeeeeaaaaah. 

$18.7mm '19 revolving credit facility (Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC); $124.9mm 12% '20 TL. 

The capital structure represents the result of an August 30, 2016 out-of-court exchange that, let's be honest here, didn't do much other than incrementally lessen the debt burden, kick the can down the road and get some professionals paid. If this sounds familiar, it's because it's not all that different than Charlotte Russe in those respects. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: $mm debt     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Christopher Greco, Derek Hunger, Angela Snell, Spencer Winters, Catherine Jun, Scott Vail, Mark McKane) & (local) Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Matthew McGuire, Kimberly Brown, Matthew Pierce)

    • Legal (Canada): Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Robert Duffy, Brett Witherell)

    • Investment Bank: Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc. and Miller Buckfire & Co. LLC (James Doak)

    • Liquidators: Hilco Merchant Resources LLC and Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC

      • Legal: Pepper Hamilton LLP (Douglas Herman, Marcy McLaughlin)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Stalking Horse Purchaser: Enesco Properties LLC  (Balmoral Funds LLC)

      • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Jeffrey Pomerantz, Maxim Litvak, Joseph Mulvihill)

    • Lender: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (David Griffiths, Lisa Lansio) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceschi, Zachary Shapiro)

    • Sponsor: KKR & Co.

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Jewelry Concepts Inc., Gravotech Inc., Chu Kwun Kee Metal Manufactory, Brookfield Property REIT, Inc., Simon Property Group LP)

      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Eric Wilson, Jason Adams, Kristin Elliott, Lauren Schlussel) & (local) Connolly Gallagher (N. Christopher Griffiths, Shaun Michael Kelly)

      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Carol Cabello, Sanjuro Kietlinski, Jorge Gonzalez, Michael Martini)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Welded Construction L.P.

Welded Construction L.P.

October 22, 2018

Amidst concerns of nationwide pipeline shortages and, strangely, corresponding fears over too much pipeline capacity, it seems even more strange that a pipeline construction company would file for bankruptcy. Alas, on Monday, Welded Construction L.P., a Perrysburg Ohio-based pipeline construction contractor filed for bankruptcy in the district of Delaware despite slightly more than $1b in consolidated gross revenue in the twelve months ended 9/30/18.

We have to hand the company and its professionals some credit: they appear to be paying attention to what PETITION has been saying about the need for more efficiency in the restructuring profession as this case features one of the shortest First Day Declarations we’ve seen in recent memory. They cut right to it. No surplus. Which seems only right: surplus is definitely not something a pipeline construction contractor wants.

Sadly, that is apparently what it appears to have. Just not surplus liquidity, unfortunately. Rather they are alleged by some of their clients to have a surplus of cost overruns. And by alleged we don’t mean threatening emails or letters. We mean litigation. And then litigation has cooled the market for Welded and fed into liquidity issues.

The company is currently working on five pipeline construction projects for its various customers, a list that includes the likes of Sunoco (as affiliates of Energy Transfer Partners LP or “ETP”), Consumers Energy Company, and Williams Companies. The latter, upon completion of Welded’s construction work, is alleged to have withheld $23.5mm from a payment owed to the company and filed a lawsuit against the company alleging breach of contract. According to the company, this “created acute liquidity issues for the Debtors and concerns in the market about their viability as a going concern.” When there is a ton of pipeline construction business to be won, this timing couldn’t possibly be any worse.

Compounding matters is the fact that the company has sizable potential surety bond obligations to its insurers. The insurers, in turn, were granted security interests in the company’s assets but…uh…maybe didn’t perfect them? Whoops. Popping popcorn for this inevitable fight. There is no secured debt here other than some potential equipment financing.

Bored yet? Yeah, us too. But there is a lesson here about managing litigation risk. The lawsuit by Williams spooked other potential customers and enhanced the company’s already pressing liquidity concerns. The company states:

The Debtors vigorously dispute the allegations contained in the Williams Complaint. Since the filing of the Williams Complaint, the Debtors have engaged in dialogue with Williams and its other Customers in an attempt to consensually resolve the dispute and avert the need for the filing of these chapter 11 cases. However, the filing of the Williams Complaint was quickly made public to the market and Customers became increasingly concerned about how the payment of receivables would be utilized by the Debtors. In particular, Customers sought assurance that any new payables would be solely deployed toward expenses related to their particular Projects. As such, these discussions were unsuccessful, depriving the Debtors of the necessary liquidity to sustain their business operations outside of chapter 11 and absent negotiated arrangements with their Customers….

Subsequently, and just a few days ago, ETP sent a letter to the company purporting to terminate the company’s engagement on the ETP project. Crikey! The dominoes are falling.

That last bit of the above quote is key here. Armed with a $20mm DIP credit facility, the company intends to use the “breathing spell” afforded by the chapter 11 automatic stay to:

…negotiate arrangements to finalize the Debtors’ ongoing Projects with [customers], all with the overarching goal of maximizing the value of the Debtors’ estates for the benefit of the Debtors’ creditors and other stakeholders.

Sounds like the next few weeks are going to be riddled with intense negotiations. Sure sounds like the company’s survival depends upon it.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: No secured debt. $240mm of accrued liabilities.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (M. Blake Cleary, Sean Beach, Justin Rucki, Tara Pakrouh, Betsy Feldman)

    • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC (Frank Pometti)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • North American Pipeline Equipment Company, LLC, Bechtel Oil, Gas & Chemicals, Inc., and Ohio Welded Company LLC

      • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Michael Rosenthal, Matthew Kelsey, J. Eric Wise, Daniel Denny, Jason Friedman) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (William Bowden, Karen Skomorucha Owens, Katharina Earle)

    • Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company

      • Legal: Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC (Scott Zuber, Jonathan Bondy) & (local) Burr & Forman LLP (Richard Robinson, J. Cory Falgowski)

New Chapter 11 Filing - VER Technologies Holdco LLC

VER Technologies Holdco LLC

4/4/18

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 5/19/18

New Chapter 11 Filing - HCR Manorcare Inc.

HCR Manorcare

3/4/18 Recap: Ohio-based Carlyle-backed long-term care provider of 450 (i) skilled nursing and impatient rehab facilities, memory care facilities and assisted living facilities (the "Long-Term Care Business"), (ii) hospice and home health care agencies, and (iii) outpatient rehab clinics filed a prepackaged bankruptcy after months of back-and-forth with its REIT-parent and Master Lease counterparty, Quality Care Properties Inc. ($QCP). The bankruptcy will effectuate a transaction pursuant to which QCP will shed its REIT status and take on 100% of the stock in the reorganized HCR. 

Interestingly, retailers aren't the only businesses capitulating under the weight of their rent. Here, the revenues generated by the Long-Term Care Business weren't generating sufficient revenues to cover ordinary course operating expenses and monthly rent obligations to QCP. By way of illustration, 

"For the twelve months ended December 31, 2017, the Company had revenues of approximately $3.741 billion, 82% of which derived from the Long-Term Care Business, and reported a consolidated pre-tax loss from continuing operations of approximately $267.9 million. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had approximately $4.264 billion in total assets and approximately $7.118 billion in total liabilities, debt and financing obligations...."

Rough. In 2016, HCR paid approximately $442mm ($37mm a month) in minimum rent to QCP. In 2017, after extensive negotiations, the amount dipped to $290mm ($24mm a month). With amounts that staggering, no wonder the company struggled. 

The relationship between QCP and HCR emanates out of a 2011 sale-leaseback transaction. After said transaction, QCP became an independent publicly traded company. Significantly,

"At the time of the 2011 Transaction, the business environment in the post-acute/skilled nursing sector was favorable due to a number of factors, including an aging population, expected increases in aggregate skilled nursing expenditures, and supply constraints in the skilled nursing sector due to substantial barriers to entry. The parties negotiated the amount of rent payable under the MLSA against this background."

But, as we consistently point out here at PETITION, projections don't always pan out as planned. Indeed, after the consummation of the 2011 transaction, 

"...the operating environment for post-acute/skilled nursing facility operators has become significantly more challenging. Unfavorable trends for operators of skilled nursing facilities include (a) a shift away from a traditional fee-for-service model toward new managed-care models, which base reimbursement on patient outcome measures; (b) increased penetration of Medicare Advantage plans, which has reduced reimbursement rates, average length of stay and average daily census; (c) increased competition from alternative healthcare services such as home health agencies, life care at home, community-based service programs, senior housing, retirement communities and convalescent centers; and (d) reductions in reimbursement rates from government payors."

Obviously this is a bit of a problem when your have a month rent nut of $37mm. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)
  • Capital Structure: $400mm '18 9.5% TL debt (RD Credit LLC), $150mm '19 9.5% RCF, $445mm guaranty obligations under the Master Lease.
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Sidley & Austin LLP (Larry Nyhan, Dennis M. Twomey, William A. Evanoff, Allison Ross Stromberg, Matthew E. Linder) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Robert S. Brady, Edmon L. Morton, Justin H. Rucki, Ian J. Bambrick, Tara Pakrouh)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLC (John Castellano)
    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co.
    • Independent Directors: Sherman Edmiston, Kevin Collins
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest: TBD. 

Updated 3/5/18

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Orchard Acquisition Company LLC (The J.G. Wentworth Company)

The J.G. Wentworth Company

  • 12/12/17 Recap: What's the statute of limitations for getting tagged with the "Chapter 22" label? While this may be out of bounds thanks to the passage of time, this is not the company's first foray in bankruptcy court, having previously filed during the financial crisis in 2009. It subsequently emerged under new private equity ownership and then IPO'd in 2013. This time around, the specialty-finance company in the business of providing financing solutions ((e.g., mortgage lending (as an approved issuer with Ginnie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae), structured settlement, annuity and lottery payment purchasing, prepaid cards, and personal loans)) filed a prepackaged bankruptcy pursuant to which its lenders will be swapping debt for at least 95.5% of the new equity and some cash. Holders of partnership interests and tax-related claims will get the remaining equity (subject to dilution by the 8% of equity set aside for management allocations). The company will eliminate its $449.5mm of debt and have a $65-70mm revolving credit facility to utilize going forward. The company blames regulatory requirements and a highly competitive market that pressured rates, service levels, products, and fees for its downfall. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)
  • Capital Structure: $449.5mm '19 first lien TL (Jefferies Finance LLC)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP (Elisha Graff, Kathrine McLendon, Edward Linden, Randi Lynn Veenstra, Haley Garrett, Nicholas Baker, Bryce Friedman) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Sean Beach)
    • FInancial Advisor: Ankura Consulting
    • Investment Banker: Evercore 
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Jefferies Finance LLC
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Natasha Tsiouris, Erik Jerrard) & (local) Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Jeremy Ryan, R. Stephen McNeill, D. Ryan Slaugh)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (formerly CDG Group LLC)
    • New RCF Commitment Party (HPS Investment Partners LLC)
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Kelly DiBlasi, Damian Ridealgh) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Curtis Miller, Matthew Talmo)

Updated 12/13/17