🙈New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Fred's Inc.🙈

Fred’s Inc.

September 9, 2019

Dallas-based Fred’s Inc. and seven affiliated debtors have filed a long-awaited bankruptcy in the District of Delaware with the intent to unwind the business. The debtors are — or, we should say, were — discount retailers with full service pharmacies, focusing on fixed income families in small and medium-sized towns.

The bankruptcy papers — from a law firm largely known for litigation (a curious fact here until you consider that Alden Global Capital LLC is a large shareholder) — are remarkably sparse. No lengthy back story about the company and how “iconic” it is. Just, “it was founded in 1947, sold a lot of sh*t to people who have no other alternative and now we’re kaput.” No discussion of the interim, say, 70+ years. Not a mention in the First Day Declaration of the failed Walgreens/Rite-Aid transaction that would have given Fred’s a larger pharmacy footprint. Nothing about Alden’s stewardship. Nada. Not a word, outside of the motion to assume the liquidation consultant agreement, about the state of retail (and in that motion, only: “The Debtors faced significant headwinds given the continued decline of the brick-and-mortar retail industry.”). Given the case trajectory — an orderly liquidation — we suppose there’s really no need to spruce things up. There’s nothing really left to sell here.* All in, it’s, dare we say, actually kind of refreshing: finally we have a debtor dispensing with the hyperbole.

The debtors started 2018 with 557 locations. After four rounds of robust closures — 263 between April and June and another 178 between July and August — the debtors have approximately 125 locations remaining. Considering that those stores are now closing too and given that the average square footage per store was 14,684, the end result will be ~8mm of square footage unleashed on the commercial real estate market. We suspect that these small and medium-sized towns will have some empty storefronts for quite some time.

The debtors have a commitment from their pre-petition lenders for a $35mm DIP credit facility (which includes a rollup of pre-petition debt).

*The Debtors previously sold 179 of their pharmacy stores to a Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. ($WBA) subsidiary for $177 million in fiscal Q4 ‘18 and 38 more to a CVS Health Corp. ($CVS) subsidiary for ~$15 million in August.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)

  • Capital Structure: $15.1mm RCF (+ $8.8mm LOCs), $20.9mm (Cardinal Health Inc., secured by pharmacy assets), $1.4mm in other secured debt.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP (Adam Shiff, Robert Novick, Matthew Stein, Shai Schmidt) & Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott, Andrew Remming, Matthew Harvey, Joseph Barsalona)

    • Board of Directors: Heath B. Freeman, Timothy A. Barton, Dana Goldsmith Needleman, Steven B. Rossi, and Thomas E. Zacharias

    • Special Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Mark Renzi)

    • Investment Banker: PJ Solomon

    • Liquidator: SB360 Capital Partners LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Lender ($35mm): Regions Bank

      • Legal: Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs LLP (Eric Anderson, Bryan Bates) & Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight)

    • DIP Lender: Bank of America

      • Legal: Choate Hall & Stewart (John Ventola)

    • Large Shareholder: Alden Global Capital LLC

Update: 9/9/19 #19

⛽️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 Filing - Cloud Peak Energy Inc.🌑

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

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

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

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

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

So why bankruptcy? Why now? Per the company:

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

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

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

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

It gets worse.

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

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

But, wait. There’s more:

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

Riiiiiiiight. But:

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

Anywho.

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

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

  • Professionals:

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

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

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

    • DIP Agent: Ankura Trust Company LLC

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

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey

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

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

    • Indenture Trustee: BOKF NA

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

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

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

      • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Leon Szlezinger)

Update: 7/7/19 #379

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Achaogen Inc.

Achaogen Inc.

April 15, 2019

Biopharma is where it’s at!!

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

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

Nightmare bacteria!! Sheesh that’s chilling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

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

  • Professionals:

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

    • Financial Advisor: Meru LLC

    • Investment Banker: Cassel Salpeter & Co., LLC

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

  • Other Professionals:

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

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

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

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Southcross Energy Partners LP⛽️

Southcross Energy Partners LP

April 1, 2019

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

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

  • Professionals:

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

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition RCF & Unsecured Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

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

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

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

    • Post-Petition Lenders and Ad Hoc Group

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

    • Southcross Holdings LP

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (Natasha Labovitz)

    • Stalking Horse Bidder:

Updated 9:39 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - PGHC Holdings Inc.

PGHC Holdings Inc.

November 5, 2018

On Sunday night, the New England Patriots took down the Green Bay Packers but the official pizza of the team took an “L.” Indeed, New England local news reported that dozens of area Papa Gino’s locations had abruptly shut down. Now we know why. And, it turns out, the dozens were really 95 stores all in. Which, we’d be remiss not to note, affects 1,100 employees who are now out of jobs.

On Monday morning, PGHC Holdings Inc., the parent company of 141 company-owned and 37 franchisee-and-licensee-owned New England restaurant chains Papa Gino’s Pizzeria and D’Angelo Grilled Sandwiches, filed for bankruptcy to effectuate a sale to WC Purchaser LLC, an affiliate of Wynnchurch Capital. Wynnchurch will provide a DIP credit facility to fund the case.

We, here, at PETITION have highlighted disruption in the casual dining space ad nauseum. The debtors, in their filings, confirmed a lot of what we’ve been saying. They noted:

Consumer preferences have shifted from in-restaurant dining to delivery and carryout ordering, which require fewer overall restaurants and smaller restaurant size to service the same geographic area. As a result of these shifting consumer preferences, the Debtors’ existing footprint is too large — in terms of both number and size of restaurants. In addition, minimum wage increases across many of the Debtors’ markets combined with higher employee benefit costs associated with health plans have also pressured the Debtors’ cash flows. The Debtors also have faced increased competition and associated price pressure from national chains that have increased their footprint in the Debtors’ core New England markets. In addition to these and other operational factors, the Debtors have a substantial debt load that, as noted above, they have been unable to service and are in default under.

Consequently, the debtors have let leases expire, engaged in (mostly unsuccessful) negotiations with landlords on lease forgiveness, changed internal IT systems, emphasized digital media marketing and formulated a smaller more efficient restaurant concept. Nevertheless, these efforts didn’t generate enough revenue and profitability to enable the debtors to handle their debt burden.

Wynnchurch will provide the company with a $13.8mm DIP facility, permit the use of cash collateral, and credit bid the debt it took over to the tune of $20mm. In other words, this is effectively a “loan-to-own” play. Bravo!

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware

  • Capital Structure: $6.9mm Revolver A, $1.5mm Revolver B, $18.4mm Term Loan A (WC Financeco A LLC, as assignee), $34.2mm second lien debt (WC Financeco B LLC, as assignee), $27.9mm unsecured mezz debt (Hartford Life Insurance Company), $11.9mm unsecured mezz debt (Brookside Mezzanine Fund)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott, Matthew Harvey, Eric Moats)

    • Financial Advisor: CR3 Partners LLC

    • Investment Banker: North Point Advisors LLC

    • Real Estate Advisor: Hilco Real Estate LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Mezz Debt Lenders

      • Legal: Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (Douglas Gooding)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - FR Dixie Holdings Corp.

FR Dixie Holdings Corp.

November 2, 2018

Oilfield services company, Dixie Electric LLC, and its parent, FR Dixie Holdings Corp., have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware with a prepackaged plan of reorganization that eliminates $300mm of funded debt via a debt for equity swap. The privately-held (First Reserve) Houston-based provider of electrical infrastructure materials and services to the energy industry (primarily in the Permian and Bakken basins) has a commitment in hand for $17.5mm of DIP financing to fund the business in BK and $30mm in exit term loans to fund the business upon its emergence from BK.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2018, the unaudited and consolidated financial statements of the Company reflected revenue of $95.0 million and a net loss of $24.5 million. Given approximately $300mm in debt, these numbers presented the company with some serious challenges. The company also blames its bankruptcy filing on “decreased drilling and well completion activity, tightness in the skilled labor market and unprofitable lumpsum contracts.

The company’s bankruptcy papers include a commentary about the state of the post-downturn oil and gas market reflecting, not-so-surprisingly, (i) some discipline by oil and gas drillers and (ii) macro concerns about the labor market. The company notes:

Operators have become increasingly focused on service costs and have pushed for rate cuts and reduced overtime and fixed-priced work. The Company was also increasingly bidding against other firms for work, further putting pressure on margins. As the oil and gas market has recovered, operators have remained focused on costs and, while the Company has been pushing for rate increases, there is still less overtime work and more fixed-price work than existed prior to the downturn. In addition, the Company is experiencing higher labor rates and has not been able to fully offset those labor rate increases with the additional pricing increases.

Accordingly, the company has shut down business lines and stream-lined operations. The hope is that with a near-full deleveraging, it will be better positioned for the future. Given the support of its secured lenders and other parties in interest, the company appears headed in the right direction. The company seeks confirmation of its plan on December 13.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware

  • Capital Structure: $19.6mm revolver, $267.4mm TL (Wilmington Trust NA), $8mm unsecured loans    

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Elisha Graff, Kathrine McLendon, Edward Linden, David Baruch) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Edmon Morton, Sean Beach, Elizabeth Justison, Tara Pakrouh)

    • Financial Advisor: BDO USA LLP

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP (Peter Laurinaitis, Joseph Fallon)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Group of Prepetition Secured Lenders

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Ankura Consulting Group

Updated 11/2 7:45am 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 - 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 - Enduro Natural Resources LLC

Enduro Natural Resources LLC

5/15/18

Enduro Natural Resources LLC, an oil and natural gas producer with properties in North Dakota, Wyoming, Texas, Louisiana and New Mexico, has filed for bankruptcy to effectuate a three-package asset sale to three separate stalking horse bidders.  The company notes in an endearingly self-aware way, 

"Like many other upstream energy companies, the Debtors did not anticipate in the early part of this decade that they would eventually succumb to the demands of repaying the capital they borrowed to invest in their exploration and production activities. But the prices of crude oil and natural gas declined dramatically beginning mid-year 2014, as a result of robust nonOrganization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' ("OPEC") supply growth led by unconventional production in the United States, weakening demand in emerging markets, and OPEC's decision to continue to produce at high levels." 

While the company took a variety of measures to combat the effects of these externalities -- including operational fixes and a prior out-of-court restructuring transaction -- its leverage remained too high in relation to asset value. Indeed, in the aggregate, the combined offers for the three packages of assets equates to $77.5 million which doesn't even clear the first lien debt. 

Finally, the beauty of a huge wave of same-industry chapter 11 filings is that you start seeing the same players over and over again. Among its top creditors are some other oil and gas companies with plenty of experience in bankruptcy court, i.e., Exco Operating Company and Basic Energy Services and, soon, Pioneer Natural Resources. The good times continue to roll in the upstream exploration and production space. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $208.7mm first lien RCF (Bank of America NA), $141mm second lien debt (Wilmington Trust NA)   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Caroline Reckler, Matthew Warren, Jason Gott, Lindsay Henrikson) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Kara Hammond Coyle)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC
    • Investment Banker: Evercore LLC
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Sponsor & Major Second Lien Lender: Riverstone Holdings LLC
    • First Lien Agent: Bank of American NA
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian S. Schaible, Aryeh Ethan Falk) & (local) Morris, Nichols, Arsht, & Tunnell LLP
      • Financial Advisor: RPA Advisors

New Chapter 11 Filing - Orexigen Therapeutics Inc.

Orexigen Therapeutics Inc. 

3/12/18

Orexigen Therapeutics is a publicly-traded ($OREX) biopharmaceutical company with one FDA-approved product - "Contrave" - an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise for chronic weight management in certain eligible adults. (Before we continue, please take a minute to appreciate the exquisite creativity these folks deployed with the name, "Contrave." Control + crave = Contrave. We hope they didn't shell out too much cash money to the brand consultants for that one). 

Anyway, the drug could theoretically service the 36.5% of adults the Center for Disease Control & Prevention has identified as obese, a potential market of 91-93 million people in the United States alone. And that number is predicted to rise to 120 million people in the next several years. Yikes: that's 33% of the U.S. population. Apropos, the drug is the number one prescribed weight-loss brand in the US with over 1.8 million prescriptions written to date, subsuming 700,000 patients. The drug is also approved in Europe, South Korea, Canada, Lebanon, and the UAE. 

All of that surface-level success notwithstanding, the company has lost approximately $730 million since its inception. This is primarily because it has been spending the last 16 years burning cash on R&D, clinical studies for FDA approval, recruitment, manufacturing, marketing, etc., both in and outside the U.S. And people wonder why drugs are so expensive. The company believes it could be profitable by 2019 under its existing operating model and revenue forecasts; it enjoys a patent until 2030. 

Obviously the patent is critical because the company, through its banker, attempted a sale prior to the bankruptcy filing but proved unsuccessful. The goal of the bankruptcy filing, therefore, is to effectuate a sale with the benefit of "free and clear" status. While no stalking horse bidder is lined up, The Baupost Group LLC, is leading a group of secured noteholders (including Ecori Capital, Highbridge Capital and UBS O'Connor) to provide a $35 million DIP credit facility and buy the company some time. Will they end up owning it? 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $165mm 0% '20 convertible notes (The Baupost Group LLC), $115mm 2.75% '20 convertible notes ($25 million outstanding, Wilmington Trust NA), $49.6mm 2.75% '20 convertible exchange senior notes ($38.9 million outstanding, US Bank NA) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Hogan Lovells LLP (Christopher Donolo, Eric Einhorn, Christopher Bryant, Jon Beck, Sean Feener) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming, Jose Bibiloni)
    • Financial Advisor: E&Y
    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners 
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Collateral Agent & Prepetition Trustee: U.S. Bank NA
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (James Carr, Benjamin Feder)
    • DIP Lenders
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Eric Winston)
    • DIP Administrative Agent: Wilmington Trust Company
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter (Tyler Nurnberg)
    • DIP Lender: Highbridge Capital Management LLC
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Stephen Levine, Uchechi Egeonuigwe) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Elliott Greenleaf PC (Rafael Zahralddin-Aravena, Eric Sutty) & (local) Irell & Manella LLP (Jeffrey Reisner, Michael Strub Jr., Kerri Lyman)

Updated March 30, 2018

New Chapter 11 Filing - Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC

Philadelphia Energy Solutions LLC

  • 1/21/18 Recap: Operator of refining complex with combined distilling capacity of 335,000 barrels/day of crude oil - representing roughly 28% of the east coast's refining capacity - and located roughly 2.5 miles from downtown Philadelphia filed a prepackaged bankruptcy in Delaware for the purposes of effectuating a sale. The company blames (i) regulatory compliance costs that specifically penalize independent merchant refiners (related, specifically, to the Clean Air Act), (ii) adverse macroeconomic trends in energy, and (iii) adverse government policy decisions for its chapter 11 filing. The goal of the prepackaged filing is to allow for an infusion of $260mm in new capital, a $35mm reduction of interest expense, and to kick maturities out to 2022. We're a little late to the game here with our summary so we'll say something that we haven't seen anyone else say about this just yet: that is, that this never would be able to file in Delaware if Elizabeth Warren has her way and the new bankruptcy reform bill is passed. Just sayin. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: See chart below.
  • Company Professionals: 
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Edward Sassower, Matthew Fagen, Patrick Venter, Allyson Smith, Michael Slade, Richard Howell, Ciara Foster, Whitney Becker, Steven Serajeddini) & (local ) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, Timothy Cairns, Peter Keane)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC 
    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP
    • Claims Agent: Rust Consulting/Omni Bankruptcy (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Commitment Parties
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Aryeh Ethan Falk, Jonah Peppiatt) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Andrew Remming)
    • PNC National Association
      • Legal: Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (Joel Levitin, Richard Stieglitz Jr.) & (local) Reed Smith LLP (Kurt Gwynne, Emily Devan)
    • Sponsors
      • Carlyle Group & Sunoco Inc. (a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners LP)
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New Chapter 11 Filing - Hobbico Inc.

Hobbico Inc.

1/10/18

Chicago-based designer, manufacturer and distributor of hobby products like radio-control toys filed for bankruptcy after struggling from (i) too much debt, (ii) lack of investment in product innovation and in its core ecommerce platform, (iii) a systemic shift in the drone market (wherein Asian suppliers started competing by selling direct-to-consumer), (iv) the bankruptcy of a key supplier of racing products, and (v) disruption to its Asian supply chain. The company defaulted on its secured debt and is using the chapter 11 process in order to attempt to sell its business as a going-concern. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $74.5mm revolver and term loan (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $41.2mm subordinated secured note (Cyprium Investors IV AIV I LP)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP (Mark Berkoff, Nicholas Miller, Thomas Wolford) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Curtis Miller, Matthew Talmo, Andrew Golden)
    • Financial Advisor: CR3 Partners LLC (Tom O'Donoghue, Douglas Flannery, Chris Creger, Layne Deutscher) & Keystone Consulting Group LLC (Louis Brownstone)
    • Investment Banker: Lincoln International LLC (Alexander Stevenson)
    • Claims Agent: JND Corporate Restructuring (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Zachary Garrett, Prisca Kim, Jacob Marshall) & (local) Burr & Forman LLP (J. Cory Falgowski)
    • Lender: Cyprium Investors IV AIV I LP
      • Legal: Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (Joel Levitin, Richard Stieglitz Jr.)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Cullen and Dykman LLP (S. Jason Teele, Nicole Stefanelli, Michelle McMahon, Bonnie Pollack) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (Christopher Samis, L. Katherine Good, Stephen Gerald, Kevin Shaw)
      • Financial Advisor: Emerald Capital Advisors (John Madden)

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

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Herald Media Holdings Inc.

Herald Media Holdings Inc.

  • 12/8/17 Recap: Boston-based 170-year old legacy print news media company that owns and publishes (i) the Boston Herald and (ii) the bostonherald.com digital media site has filed for bankruptcy to effectuate an expedited 363 sale to Gatehouse Media Massachusetts I, Inc for "an all-in value of not less than $5,000,000." In a sign of the times known to literally everyone, the Company notes in its filing that "there has been an increase in news source and advertising alternatives that has continued to erode traditional print media sources of revenue. Incremental digital revenue has not been sufficient to offset the decline in print revenue." Interestingly - given that there is a lot of discussion today about the state of media and the push-pull of advertising dollars vs. subscription revenue - the company derives approximately 67% of its revenue from paid circulation (single copy sales and subscription sales) and approximately 33% from print and online advertising. Nevertheless, the company's projections reflect a nearly $3mm loss for fiscal year 2018. In an effort to combat declining revenues, the Company pursued cost-cutting initiatives (e.g., headcount reductions, outsourcing, etc.,) but no more levers remained available to pull. Indeed, "[g]iven the general economic climate for the newspaper industry and the company’s significant pension and retirement liabilities, no financing options are available for the company to continue with its current capital structure." Note that the company's top list of creditors reflects various unions under four different collective bargaining agreements (CBAs): those fixed costs aren't easy to shed outside of bankruptcy. Employee-related expenses including payroll, benefits and pension/retirement contributions account for 58% of operating expenses while production and distribution of the paper accounts for 23% of total operating expenses. Looking at those numbers, it becomes pretty obvious why this business became unsustainable. Notably, the propose sale is conditioned upon the Company rejecting all CBAs in bankruptcy so that the asset transfer is free and clear of those obligations. Gatehouse is offering a $500k DIP credit facility to fund the administration of the case.
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (William Baldiga, Sunni Belville, Tristan Axelrod) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Curtis Miller, Tamara Minott, Jose Bibiloni)
    • Investment Banker: Dirks Van Essen & Murray
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:

Updated 12/9/17 10:20 am CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - ExGen Texas Power LLC

ExGen Texas Power LLC

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

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

New Chapter 11 Filing - M&G USA Corporation

M&G USA Corporation

  • 10/24/17 Recap: Disruption via cliche and foreign competition. Here, the plastics maker and indirect subsidiary of petrochemical giant Mossi Ghisolfi Group filed for bankruptcy. The company had begun construction on a vertically-integrated plant in Corpus Christi Texas back in 2013 but then they ran headfirst into the single-most common construction cliche out there: delays and cost overruns. And that was before Hurricane Harvey compounded matters. The plant remains incomplete and, consequently, the company has "severe liquidity constraints" that it intends to address in bankruptcy - specifically, through a significant deleveraging. The company highlighted several other causes for its state of affairs: (i) higher raw material costs due to supply shortages, (ii) a recent wave of competing low-priced imports that flooded the US market (note: the company has outstanding petitions with the US Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission alleging that imports of polyethylene terephthalate resin from Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea, Pakistan and Taiwan are being "dumped" in the US market), and (iii) price-compression due to a competitors GOB sale. The company seeks approval of a $100mm DIP credit facility to fund its cases. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
  • Capital Structure: $1.7b outstanding principal amount of debt (see below)   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Jones Day (Scott Greenberg, Carl Black, Stacey Corr-Irvine, Michael Cohen, Nicholas Morin, Peter Saba, James Sottile IV, Daniel Merrett, Oliver Zeltner) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, James O'Neill, Joseph Mulvihill)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Dennis Stogstill)
    • Investment Banker: Rothschild Inc. (Neil Augustine)
    • Board of Directors: Alan Carr, Frederick Brace
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on link above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DAK Americas LLC 
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Alfredo Perez, Christopher Lopez) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Curtis Miller)
    • Equity Holders: Magnate S.a r.l.
      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP
    • DIP Lender: Banco Inbursa S.A., Institucion De Banca Multiple, Grupo Financiero Inbursa
      • Legal: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Large Unsecured Creditor: Indorama Ventures Montreal LP
      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Paul Kizel, Nicole Fulfree)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors:
      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Dennis Dunne, Abhilash Raval, Lauren Doyle) & (local) Cole Schotz P.C. (J. Kate Stickles, David Hurst)

Updated 11/19/17

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

New Chapter 11 Filing - Model Reorg Acquisition LLC (aka Perfumania Inc.)

Model Reorg Acquisition LLC (Perfumania Inc.)

  • 8/26/17 Recap: New York-based vertically-integrated specialty retailer (226 retail locations, mostly mall-based) and wholesale distributor of perfumes and fragrances (to the likes of Sears, Target, Walmart and Walgreens) filed for bankruptcy pursuant to a prepackaged plan of reorganization. The company is seeking approval of a $83,750,000 Wells Fargo DIP facility ("DIP") which will roll into an exit facility. What caused the filing? The overall retail bloodbath, naturally. Since 2015, the company has lost tens of millions of dollars, closed 105 retail locations, decreased the pace of brick-and-mortar openings and focused efforts - like the rest of the retail world - on e-commerce expansion. This way you could buy your one gallon bottle of CK One online rather than in a crappy mall stall. Awesome. The structure of this case is as follows: the DIP requires a completed case within 90 days to ensure that the reorganized (and newly private) company can take advantage of Q4 seasonality. The prepackaged plan leaves general unsecured creditors unimpaired and reinstates the unsecured notes. It also provides a $2/share recovery for shareholders who opt-in to a release of principals (notably, the shares were trading at $1.33/share at Friday's market close). The stockholder consideration will be paid via a $14.26mm equity infusion, which also serves as consideration for 100% of the reorganized equity. The transaction also preserves approximately $40mm of net operating losses and other tax attributes that will inure to the benefit of the owners. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $175mm senior credit facility ($18.78mm funded)(Wells Fargo Bank), $125.4mm unsecured debt +$54.8mm accrued and unpaid interest (3 different notes). Public equity ($PERF).     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (J. Gregory Milmoe, Lisa Laukitis, Raquelle Kaye, Anthony Clark)
    • Financial Advisor: Ankura Consulting Group LLC (Stephen Marotta)
    • Investment Banker: Imperial Capital LLC (Robert Warshauer)
    • Real Estate Advisor: A&G Realty Partners LLC (Andrew Graiser)
    • Liquidators: Hilco Merchant Resources LLC & Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Agent to Senior Credit Facility: Wells Fargo Bank
      • Legal: Otterbourg P.C. (Daniel Fiorillo)
    • CIII Holdings LLC
      • Legal: Nastasi Partners PLLC (Ancela R. Nastasi, Marshall E. Tracht, Moshie Solomon, William S. Katchen, Andrew Gottesman) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Robert Dehney, Curtis Miller)

Updated 9/18/17

First Day Declaration filed 8/26/17

First Day Declaration filed 8/26/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - True Religion Apparel Inc.

True Religion Apparel Inc.

  • 7/5/17 Recap: Another private equity backed retailer files for bankruptcy. Here, the "brand that is globally recognized for innovative, trendsetting denim jeans and apparel" has a fast-tracked prepackaged deal with its lenders and private equity sponsor to shed approximately 72% of its debt and continue its operational restructuring (read: more store closures). The Manhattan Beach California 128-store retailer (down after closing 30 stores worldwide) blamed a (i) "a macro consumer shift away from brick-and-mortar to online retail channels," (ii) a decline in the premium denim market segment in the fashion industry and corresponding rise of athleisure, (iii) fast fashion, (iv) the rise in competitive discounting to make up for lost foot traffic and sales, and (v) an over-levered balance sheet. We believe that the decline is primarily attributable to cheesy AF bedazzled and bejeweled jeans with heinous a$$-designs and stitching that no one other than the cast of the Jersey Shore would want to be caught dead in. Its initial claim-to-fame is its "iconic and trademarked" horsesh*t symbol...we mean, "iconic and trademarked horseshoe symbol." Seriously, how is True Religion ONLY #15 on this list of "50 Men's Fashion Trends That Never Should Have Happened"? We're truly asking. Anyway, the de-levered and operationally stream-lined company hopes to restructure around a business plan predicated upon a global e-commerce expansion, increased licensing, deployment of pop-up outlet stores, an expansion of its "Last Stitch" line, and other shenanigans in an attempt to keep this ugly brand from filing for Chapter 22 after the holiday season. On an aside, the pop-up strategy is interesting: the company notes that the outlet concept has been profitable, primarily because they are based on short-term 18-month-or-less leases with "little downside" for the company. Yikes, landlords. The company further noted that the conversion of True Religion locations to "Last Stitch" branded locations has been successful. Curious. Doesn't this signal that the True Religion brand is, uh, kinda worth f*ck all and the company's success is dependent upon shying away from it? Hmmm. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $60mm ABL (Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch), $400mm first lien TL (Delaware Trust Company, as successor to Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch), $85mm second lien TL (Wilmington Trust National Association, as successor to Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, David Bertenthal, James O'Neill)
    • Financial Advisor: Maeva Group LLC (Harry Wilson)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Sponsor: Towerbrook Capital Partners LP
      • Legal: Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz LLP (Joshua Feltman, Emil Kleinhaus) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell LLP (Derek Abbott, Daniel Butz)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Lenders (Apex Credit Partners LLC, Farmstead Capital Management LLC, Goldman Sachs Asset Management LP, Investcorp Credit Management US LLP, Palmer Square Capital Management LLC, Southpaw Asset Management LP, Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company and Ivy Investment Management Company, 
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Arik Preis, Allison Miller, Jason Rubin, Yochun Katie Lee) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Karen Skomorucha Owens, Stacy Newman)
      • Financial Advisor: Moelis & Company LLP
      • DIP Lender: Citizens Bank NA 
        • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Robert A.J. Barry, Julia Frost-Davies, Christopher Carter) & (local) Reed Smith LLP (Kurt Gwynne, Emily Devan)
      • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
        • Legal: Cooley LLP (Jay Indyke, Cathy Hershcopf, Seth Van Aalten, Max Schlan, Lauren Reichardt) & (local) Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Michael Yurkewicz, Sally Veghte)
        • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Peter Kravitz)

Updated 8/8/17