🙈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 Filing - Sportco Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)🔫

SportCo Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)

June 10, 2019

Callback to four previous PETITION pieces:

The first one — which was a tongue-in-cheek mock First Day Declaration we wrote in advance of Remington Outdoor Company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy — is, if we do say so ourselves, AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ. The same basic narrative could apply to the recent chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Sportco Holdings Inc., a marketer and distributor of products and accessories for hunting, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, June 10, 2019. Sportco’s customer base consists of 20k independent retailers covering all 50 states. But back to the “MUST READ.” There are some choice bits there:

Murica!! F*#& Yeah!! 

Remington (f/k/a Freedom Group) is "Freedom Built, American Made." Because nothing says freedom like blowing sh*t up. Cue Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." Hell, we may even sing it in court now that Toys R Ushas made that a thing. 

Our company traces its current travails to 2007 when Cerberus Capital Management LP bought Remington for $370mm (cash + assumption of debt) and immediately "loaded" the North Carolina-based company with even more debt. As of today, the company has $950mm of said debt on its balance sheet, including a $150mm asset-backed loan due June '19, a $550mm term loan B due April '19, and 7.875% $250mm 3rd lien notes due '20. Suffice it to say, the capital structure is pretty "jammed." Nothing says America like guns...and leverage

Indeed, this is true of Sportco too. Sportco “sports” $23mm in prepetition ABL obligations and $249.8mm in the form of a term loan. Not too shabby on the debt side, you gun nuts!

More from our mock-up on Remington:

Shortly after Cerberus purchased the company, Barack Obama became president - a fact, on its own, that many perceived as a real "blowback" to gun ownership. Little did they know. But, then, compounding matters, the Sandy Hook incident occurred and it featured Remington's Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle. Subsequently, speeches were made. Tears were shed. Big pension fund investors like CSTRS got skittish AF. And Cerberus pseudo-committed to selling the company. Many thought that this situation was going to spark "change [you] can believe in," lead to more regulation, and curtail gun sales/ownership. But everyone thought wrong. Tears are no match for lobby dollars. Suckers. 

Instead, firearm background checks have risen for at least a decade - a bullish indication for gun sales. In a sick twist of only-in-America fate, Obama's caustic tone towards gunmakers actually helped sell guns. And that is precisely what Remington needed in order to justify its burdensome capital structure and corresponding interest expense. With Hillary Clinton set to win the the election in 2016, Cerberus' convenient inability to sell was set to pay off. 

But then that "dum dum" "ramrod" Donald Trump was elected and he enthusiastically and publicly declared that he would "never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms."  While that's a great policy as far as we, here, at Remington are concerned, we'd rather him say that to us in private and declare in public that he's going to go door-to-door to confiscate your guns. Boom! Sales through the roof! And money money money money for the PE overlords! Who cares if you can't go see a concert in Las Vegas without fearing for your lives. Yield baby. Daddy needs a new house in Emerald Isle. 

Wait? "How would President Trump say he's going to confiscate guns and nevertheless maintain his base?" you ask. Given that he can basically say ANYTHING and maintain his base, we're not too worried about it. #MAGA!! Plus, wink wink nod nod, North Carolina. We'd all have a "barrel" of laughs over that.  

So now what? Well, "shoot." We could "burst mode" this thing, and liquidate it but what's the fun in that. After all, we still made net revenue of $603.4mm and have gross profit margins of 20.9%. Yeah, sure, those numbers are both down from $865.1mm and 27.4%, respectively, but, heck, all it'll take is a midterm election to reverse those trends baby. 

That was a pretty stellar $260mm revenue decline for Remington. Thanks Trump!! So, how did Sportco fare?

Trump seems to be failing to make America great again for those who sell guns.

But don’t take our word for it. Per Sportco:

In the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, the Debtors anticipated an uptick in firearms sales historically attributable to the election of a Democratic presidential nominee. The Debtors increased their inventory to account for anticipated sales increases. In the aftermath of the unexpected Republican victory, the Debtors realized lower than expected sales figures for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, with higher than expected carrying costs due to the Debtors’ increased inventory. These factors contributed to the Debtors tightening liquidity and an industry-wide glut of inventory.

Whoops. Shows them for betting against the stable genius. What are these carrying costs they refer to? No gun sales = too much inventory = storage. Long warehousemen.

Compounding matters, the company’s excess inventory butted with industry-wide excess inventory sparked by “the financial distress of certain market participants.” This pressured margins further as Sportco had to discount product to push sales. This “further eroded…slim margins and contributed to…tightening liquidity.” Per the company:

Many of the Debtors’ vendors and manufacturers suffered heavy losses as a result of the Cabela’s-Bass Pro Shop merger, Dick’s Sporting Good’s pull back from the market, and the recent Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies. Those losses adversely impacted the terms and conditions on which such vendors and manufacturers were willing to extend credit to the Debtors. With respect to the Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies, the dumping of excess product into the marketplace pushed prices—and margins— even lower. The resulting tightening of credit terms eroded the Debtors’ sales and further contributed to the Debtors’ tightening liquidity.

The company also blames some usual suspects for its chapter 11 filing. First, weather. Weather ALWAYS gets a bad rap. And, of course, the debt.

Riiiiiight. About that debt. When we previously asked “Who is Financing Guns?,” the answer, in the case of Remington, was Bank of America Inc. ($BAC)Wells Fargo Inc. ($WFC) and Regions Bank Inc. ($RF). Likewise here. Those same three institutions make up the company’s ABL lender roster. We’re old enough to remember when banks paid lip service to wanting to do something about guns.

One other issue was the company’s inability to…wait for it…REALIZE CERTAIN SUPPLY CHAIN SYNERGIES after acquiring certain assets from once-bankrupt competitor AcuSport Corporation. Per the company:

The lower than anticipated increase in customer base following the AcuSport Transaction magnified the adverse effects of the market factors discussed above and resulted in a faster than expected tightening of the Debtors’ liquidity and overall deterioration of the Debtors’ financial condition.

The company then ran into issues with its pre-petition lenders and its vendors and the squeeze was on. Recognizing that time was wearing thin, the company hired Houlihan Lokey Inc. ($HLI) to market the assets. No compelling offers came, however, and the company determined that a chapter 11 filing “to pursue an orderly liquidation…was in the best interest of all stakeholders.

R.I.P. Sportco.

*****

But not before you get in one last fight.

The glorious thing about first day papers is that they provide debtors with the opportunity to set the tone in the case. The First Day Declaration, in particular, is a narrative. A narrative told to the judge and other parties-in-interest about what was, what is, and what may be. That narrative often explains why certain other requests for relief are necessary: that is, that without them, there will be immediate and irreparable harm to the estate. The biggest one of these is typically a request for authority to tap a committed DIP credit facility and/or cash collateral to fund operations. On the flip side of that request, however, are the company’s lenders. And they often have something to say about that — objections over, say, the use of cash collateral are common.

But you don’t often see an objector re-write the entire frikken narrative and file it prior to the first hearing in the case.

Shortly after the bankruptcy filing, Prospect Capital Corporation (“PCC”), as the second lien term loan agent, unleashed an objection all over the debtors. Per PCC:

Just a few years ago, the Debtors were the largest distributor of firearms in the United States, with reported annual revenue of in excess of $770 million. Contrary to the First Day Declaration filed in these cases, the Debtors’ demise was not due to outside forces such as the “2016 presidential election,” “disruptions in the industry” and “natural disasters. Rather, as a result of dividend recapitalization transactions in 2012 and 2013, the Debtors’ equity owner, Wellspring Capital, “cashed out” in excess of $183 million. After lining their pockets with over $183 million, fiduciaries appointed by Wellspring Capital to be directors and officers of the Debtors grossly mismanaged the business and depleted all reserves necessary to weather the storms and the headwinds the business would face. In a short time, the business went from being the largest firearms distributor in the United States to being liquidated. As a result of years of mismanagement and the failure of the estates’ fiduciaries to preserve value, the Second Lien Lenders will, in all likelihood, recover only a small fraction of their $249.7 million secured loan claim. Years of mismanagement ultimately placed the Debtors in the position where they are in now….

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This sh*t just got much more interesting: y’all know we love dividend recapitalizations. Anyway, PCC went on to object to the fact that this is an in-court liquidation when an out-of-court process would be, in their view, cheaper and just as effective; they also object to the debtors’ proposed budget and use of cash collateral. The upshot is that they see very little chance of recovery of their second lien loan and want to maximize value.

Of course, the debtors be like:

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The numbers speak for themselves, they replied. They were $X of revenue between 2012 and 2016 and then, after Trump was elected, they’ve been $X-Y%. Plain and simple.

So where does this leave us? After some concessions from the DIP lenders and the debtors, the court approved the debtors requested DIP credit facility on an interim basis. The order preserves PCC’s rights to come back to the court with an argument related to cash collateral after the first lien lenders (read: the banks) are paid off in full (and any intercreditor agreement-imposed limitations on PCC’s ability to fight fall away).

Ultimately, THIS may sum up this situation best:

It’s genuinely difficult to pick the most villainous company in this story. Is it the company selling guns who made a big bet on people’s deepest fears and insecurities and then shit the bed? The private equity company bleeding the gun distributor dry and then running it straight into the ground? Or the other private equity company that is now mad it likely won’t get anything near what it paid out in the original loan to the distributor? Folks...let them fight.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $23.1mm ABL, $249mm term loan (Prospect Capital, Summit Partners)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Timothy Walsh, Darren Azman, Riley Orloff) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Brenna Dolphin, Lindsey Suprum)

    • Board of Directors: Bradley Johnson, Alexander Carles, Justin Vorwerk

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Winter Harbor LLC (Dalton Edgecomb)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Daniel McGuire, Gregory Gartland, Carrie Hardman) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Amanda Steele)

    • Agent for Second Lien Lenders: Prospect Capital Corporation

      • Legal: Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP (Adam Friedman, Jonathan Koevary) & (local) Blank Rome LLP (Regina Stango Kelbon, Victoria Guilfoyle, John Lucian)

    • Prepetition ABL Lenders: Bank of America NA, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Regions Bank NA

    • Large equityholders: Wellspring Capital Partners, Summit Partners, Prospect Capital Corporation

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Vista Outdoor Sales LLC, Magpul Industries Corporation, American Outdoor Brands Corporation, Garmin USA Inc., Fiocchi of America Inc., FN America LLC, Remington Arms Company LLC)

      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Jeffrey Cohen, Eric Chafetz, Gabriel Olivera) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo)

      • Financial Advisor: Emerald Capital Advisors (John Madden)

Update 7/7/19 #115

🏥New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Insys Therapeutics Inc.🏥

Insys Therapeutics Inc.

June 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What kind of independent effort? Color us suspicious.

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: No funded debt.

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

    • MDL Plaintiffs

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

Update 7/7/19 #244

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing -- FTD Companies Inc.

FTD Companies Inc.

June 3, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Amazing!

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

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

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

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

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

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

That sure escalated quickly. 😬

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

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

There’s more:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, where are we now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure:

    • Secured Indebtedness:

      • $92mm Revolver

      • $57.4mm Term Loan

    • Unsecured Indebtedness

      • $72.4mm of Various Trade Claims

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company & Piper Jaffray Companies

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:


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

Fuse LLC

April 22, 2019

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

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

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

The company illustrates all of this nicely:

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

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

  • Company Professionals:

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

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Supporting Noteholders

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

New Chapter 11 Filing - Hexion Holdings LLC

Hexion Holdings LLC

April 1, 2019

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

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

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

This is what that capital structure looks like:

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

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

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

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of 1.5 Lien Noteholders

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

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

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

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

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

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

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

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

    • Sponsor: Apollo

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

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

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

Updated:

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Imerys Talc America Inc.

Imerys Talc America Inc.

February 13, 2019

Merely a week ago we wrote:

PG&E Corporation's ($PCG) recent liability-based bankruptcy filing got us thinking: what other companies are poised for a litigation-based chapter 11 bankruptcy filing? We think we have a winner. 

Imerys S.A. is a French multinational company that specializes in the production and processing of industrial minerals. Its North American operations are headquartered in Roswell, Georgia and in San Jose, California. Included among Imerys' North American operations is Imerys Talc America. The key word in all of the foregoing is "Talc." 

If only we had purchased a lottery ticket.

Within days, Imerys Talc America Inc. and two affiliated debtors indeed filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware. The debtors mine, process and distribute talc for use in end products used in the manufacturing of products sold by third-parties —- primarily Johnson & Johnson Inc. ($JNJ). The debtors have historically been the sole supplier of cosmetic talk to JNJ. And, in part, because of that, they’re getting sued to Kingdom Come. Approximately 14,650 individual claimants are suing the debtors alleging personal injuries caused by exposure to talc mined, processed or distributed by the debtors. The debtors note:

Although personal care/cosmetic sales make up only approximately 5% of the Debtors’ revenue, approximately 98.6% of the pending Talc Claims allege injuries based on use of cosmetic products containing talc.

Whoa. What a number!! What a disparity! Low revenues and yet high claims! What a sham! That just goes to show how absurd these claims are!!

Just kidding. That sentence means absolutely nothing: it is clearly an attempt by lawyers to ignorantly wow people with percentages that have absolutely no significance whatsoever. Who gives a sh*t whether personal care/cosmetic sales are only a small fraction of revenues? If those sales are all laced with toxic crap that are possibly causing people cancer or mesothelioma, the rest is just pixie dust. In fact, it’s possible that 100% of 1% of sales are causing cancer, is it not?

Anyway, naturally, the debtors deny those claims but defending the claims, of course, comes at a huge cost. Per the Company:

…while the Debtors have access to valuable insurance assets that they have relied on to fund their defense and appropriate settlement costs to date, the Debtors have been forced to fund certain litigation costs and settlements out of their free cash flow due to a lack of currently available coverage for certain Talc Claims, or insurers asserting defenses to coverage. The Debtors lack the financial wherewithal to litigate against the mounting Talc Claims being asserted against them in the tort system.

Well that sucks. In addition to the debtors issues obtaining insurance coverage, they’re also apparently bombarded by claimants emboldened by the recent multi-billion dollar verdict rendered against JNJ.. We previously wrote:

While certain cases are running into roadblocks, the prior verdicts call into question whether Imerys has adequate insurance coverage to address the various judgments. If not, the company is likely headed into bankruptcy court — the latest in a series of cases that will attempt to deploy bankruptcy code section 524's channeling injunction and funnel claims against a trust. 

Indeed, given issues with insurance (and JNJ refusing to indemnify the debtors as expected in certain instances), the massive verdict, AND discussions with a proposed future claims representative, the debtors concluded that a chapter 11 filing would be the best way to handle the talc-related liabilities. And indeed a channeling injunction is a core goal. Per the debtors:

The Debtors’ primary goal in filing these Chapter 11 Cases is to confirm a consensual plan of reorganization pursuant to Sections 105(a), 524(g), and 1129 of the Bankruptcy Code that channels all of the present and future Talc Claims to a trust vested with substantial assets and provides for a channeling injunction prohibiting claimants from asserting against any Debtor or non-debtor affiliate any claims arising from talc mined, produced, sold, or distributed by any of the Debtors prior to their emergence from these Chapter 11 Cases. While the Debtors dispute all liability as to the Talc Claims, the Debtors believe this approach will provide fair and equitable treatment of all stakeholders.

The comparisons to PG&E were on point.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $14.4mm inter-company payable.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Keith Simon, Annemarie Reilly, Richard Levy, Jeffrey Bjork, Jeffrey Mispagel, Helena Tseregounis) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Michael Merchant, Amanda Steele)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interst:

    • Imerys SA

      • Legal: Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (Christopher Kiplok, William Beausoleil, George Tsougarakis, Erin Diers) & (local) Bayard PA (Scott Cousins, Erin Fay)

    • Future Claims Representative: James L. Patton Jr.

      • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Ankura Consulting Group LLC

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 - Consolidated Infrastructure Group Inc.

Consolidated Infrastructure Group Inc. 

January 30, 2019

Nebraska-based Consolidated Infrastructure Group Inc. filed for bankruptcy last week in the District of Delaware; it provides underground utility and damage prevention services to players in the underground construction, digging and maintenance space. It serves or served large telecom and utility companies, such as AT&T, Cox Communications, and Comcast. it also currently has contracts with the Northern Indiana Public Service Company, the City of Davenport in Iowa and with ONE Gas Inc

The company has little in the way of assets and liabilities. Relating to the former, the company has the above-noted contracts, a $3mm receivable from AT&T, some intellectual property and interests in insurance policies. Liabilities include two letters of credit, and a small unsecured advance by prepetition equityholder and now-postpetition DIP lender ($3mm), Parallel149, a private equity firm. 

The company has been embroiled in drama since its inception in 2016. It was formed by former employees of USIC LLC, a much-larger competitor, and the two have been locked up in litigation relating to, among other things, breach of contract (non-compete). 

The company filed for bankruptcy to pursue a going concern 363 sale and liquidating plan. It also hopes to recover the AT&T receivable. Finally, it also contends that a sale of the contracts would avoid a public safety crisis in the communities where the company's contracts are located. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

  • Capital Structure: $mm debt     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceshi, Russell Silberglied, Paul Heath, Zachary Shapiro)

    • Financial Advisor: Gavin/Solmonese LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Parallel149

      • Legal: DLA Piper LLP (Richard Chesley, Jade Williams, Jamila Justine Willis, R. Craig Martin, Maris Kandestin)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Catalina Marketing Corporation

Catalina Marketing Corporation

12/12/18

On September 16 in “🤖Tech Wants to Axe Lawyers🤖,” we wrote about Crossmark Holdings Inc.Acosta Inc., and Catalina Marketing (a unit of Checkout Holding Corp.) and noted that “[a]ll three are in trouble.” Catalina Marketing was the first domino to fall as it filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware.

In connection with our review of the three companies, we previously wrote:

Finally, Catalina Marketing finds itself paying restructuring fees these days too. The St. Petersburg Florida company is owned by Berkshire Partners and Hellman & FriedmanCrescent Capital is also a large equity holder. The company’s capital structure includes approximately:

$29mm April ‘19 L+3.5% Revolving Credit Facility

$1.05b April ‘21 L+3.5% Term Loan (~48.4 bid)

$460mm April ‘22 L+6.75% Second Lien Term Loan (~11.6 bid)

$230mm PIK Toggle unsecured notes

Carry the one, add the two, that’s over $5b of debt across all three companies. Gotta love private equity.

So, yes, yet another private equity-backed company is in bankruptcy court. Here, the company appears to have an agreement with 90% of its first lien lenders (Abry Advanced Securities Fund II and III, Alcentra Limited, Bain Capital Credit LP, Carlyle Investment Management LLC, Invesco Senior Secured Management Inc., and OppenheimerFunds Inc.), and 75% of its second lien lenders, the effect of which is purported to be a $1.6b — yes, $1.6 BILLION — debt reduction. An ad hoc group of first lien lenders has agreed to provide $275mm DIP credit facility (of which $125mm is new money) and committed to provide $40mm in exit financing.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich, Jessica Liou, Kevin Bostel, Alexander Condon, Elizabeth Carens, Michael Godbe, Lisa Lansio, Leonard Yoo, Patrick Steel, David Zubkis, Theodore Tsekerides, Peter Isakoff) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Jason Madron)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Robert Del Genio, Thomas Ackerman)

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Lenders and the Ad Hoc First Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Jones Day (Scott Greenberg, Michael J. Cohen, David Torborg, Stacey Corr-Irvine, Jeremy Evans, C. Lee Wilson) and (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP represent the DIP Lenders and the Ad Hoc First Lien Lenders. 

    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Lenders

      • Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Harrison (Brian Hermann, Robert Britton, Daniel Youngblut, Miriam Levi) and (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Andrew Magaziner)

    • Admin Agent of the First Lien Credit Agrement

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, David Schiff) and Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Adam Landis, Kerri Mumford)

    • Admin agent under the Second Lien Credit Agreement

      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr (Andrew Goldman, Benjamin Loveland)

    • Ad Hoc Group of the PIK Toggle notes

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - LBI Media Inc.

LBI Media Inc.

November 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Lane)

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

  • Company Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

    • First Lien Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

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

    • Collateral Trustee for First Lien Notes: Credit Suisse AG

      • Legal: Locke Lorde LLP (Juliane Dziobak)

    • Ad Hoc Group of (Junior) Second Lien Noteholders

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

    • Ad Hoc Group of Holdco Noteholders

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

Updated 11/21/18 at 8:27 CT

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Promise Healthcare Group LLC😷

Promise Healthcare Group LLC

November 5, 2018

Most professionals predicted at the start of 2018 that healthcare would be an active industry for restructuring activity. Instead, there’s only been a few cases here and there — nothing to really stand out from the crowd in terms of volume. And, so just when we’re on the verge of declaring that prediction utterly and emphatically wrong, here is Promise Healthcare Group LLC and its affiliated debtors — another short-term and long-term acute care and nursing facility operator in bankruptcy court (with DLA Piper and FTI Consulting in tow, a seemingly regular occurrence these days in sizable healthcare matters).

Why is another large acute care operator in bankruptcy? The debtors blame the usual deplorables, i.e., reimbursement rate declines, capital-intensive and ultimately-abandoned new business projects, underperforming facilities, and an “unsustainable balance sheet.” Consequently, it undertook performance improvement measures, including the closure of two facilities and the sh*tcanning of 147 full-time equivalent employees. This, collectively, freed up a total of $13.5mm but vendors had begun squeezing the company in such a way that this amount, alone, wasn’t enough to cash flow to sustain the debtors.

The debtors intend to (i) sell non-core assets and real estate to payoff certain secured creditors (including one in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, to the L.A. Downtown Medical Center for $84.15mm) and (ii) otherwise market and sell substantially all of the rest of their assets or, if an equity sponsor emerges, restructure. They intend to do this within six months (anyone want to take the under?). The company has a $85mm DIP commitment ($20mm new money) to fund the process.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware

  • Capital Structure: $61.6mm Revolver, $15mm TL debt, $200mm intercompany debt (two loans)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Waller Lansden Dortch & Davis LLP (John Tishler, Katie Stenberg, Blake Roth, Tyler Layne) & (local) DLA Piper LLP (Stuart Brown, Kaitlin MacKenzie Edelman, Erik Stier, Matthew Sarna)

    • CRO/Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Andrew Hinkelman, Jennifer Byrne, Chris Goff)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Andrew Turnbull, Matthew Ryan, Scott Kremeier, Moyo Mamora, Brian Marks, Marc Epstein, Conor Dorgan) and MTS Health Partners LP (Jay Shiland)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition Administrative Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: McGuireWoods LLP (Brian Swett, Alexandra Shipley) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Amanda Steele, David Queroli)

    • Healthcare Services Group Inc.

      • Legal: Stevens & Lee P.C. (Joseph Huston Jr., Evan Coren, Robert Lapowsky)

    • Stalking Horse Purchaser: Select Medical Corporation

      • Legal: Dechert LLP (Brian Greer, Stephen Leitzell, Jonathan Stott) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Robert Brady, Sean Greecher)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (HEB Ababa, Ronaldoe Guiterrez and Yolanda Penney, Cardinal Health, Wound Care Management LLC d/b/a MEDCENTRIS, Freedom Medical Inc., Morrison Management Specialists Inc., Efficient Management Resources Systems Inc., Surgical Program Development)

      • Legal: Sills Cummis & Gross P.C. (Andrew Sherman, Boris Mankovetskiy, Rachel Brennan) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Jeffrey Pomerantz, Alan Kornfeld, Bradford Sandler, Maxim Litvak, Colin Robinson)

      • Financial Advisor: Province Inc. (Edward Kim, Paul Huygens, Carol Cabello, Jorge Gonzalez, Carlos Lovera, Paul Navid)

Updated 3/9/18

🛌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 Bankruptcy Filing - ATD Corporation🚗

ATD Corporation

10/4/18

Recap: Please see here.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Carey)

  • Capital Structure: See below.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Anup Sathy, Chad Husnick, Spencer Winters, Joshua Greenblatt, Jacob Johnston, Mark McKane, Jaimie Fedell, Andre Guiulfo) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Jones, Timothy Cairns, Joseph Mulvihill)

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP (James Mesterharm)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. (Adam Keil)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Term Lender Committee

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Aidan Synnott, Jacob Adlerstein, Michael Turkel, David Giller, Oksana Lashko, Eugene Park, Jacqueline Rubin) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Joel Waite, Andrew Magaziner)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey

    • DIP Agent and Pre-Petition ABL Agent (Bank of America)

      • Legal: Parker Hudson Rainer & Dobbs LLP (C. Edward Dobbs, Eric W. Anderson, James S. Rankin Jr., Jack C. Basham) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Amanda Steele, Brendan Schlauch)

    • DIP FILO Lenders & Consenting Noteholders

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Naomi Moss) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (Evelyn Meltzer, Kenneth Listwak)

      • Financial Advisor: PJT Partners

    • Indenture Trustee: Ankura Trust Company LLC

      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP (Jeffrey Pawlitz, David Zubricki, Jared Zajec) & (local) Chipman Brown Cicero & Cole, LLP (William E. Chipman, Jr., Mark D. Olivere)

    • Michelin North America Inc.

      • Legal: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP (George B. Cauthen, Jody A. Bedenbaugh, Shane Ramsey) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Evan Miller)

    • Cooper Tire & Rubber Company

      • Legal: Jones Day (Timothy Hoffmann) & (local) Potter Anderson & Corroon LLP (Jeremy Ryan, D. Ryan Slaugh)

    • Sponsor: Ares Management

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Paul Aronzon, Thomas Kreller, Adam Moses)

    • Sponsor: TPG Capital

      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ryan Dahl, Natasha Hwangpo)

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New Chapter 11 Filing - Brookstone Holdings Corp.

Wellness, Entertainment & Travel Retailer Now Bankrupt

Brookstone Holdings Corp.

8/2/16

Source: Brookstone.com

Source: Brookstone.com

Almost exactly a month ago we asked “Is Brookstone Headed for Chapter 22? and wrote the following:

Go to Brookstone’s website for “Gift Ideas” and “Cool Gadgets” and then tell us you have any doubt. We especially liked the pop-up asking us to sign up for promotional materials one second after landing; we didn’t even get a chance to see what the company sells before it was selling us on a flooded email inbox. Someone please hire them a designer.

On Friday, Reuters reported that the company has hired Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP(remember them?) to explore its restructuring options. What’s the issue? Well, retail. Need there be any further explanation?

The company has roughly 120 stores (20 are in airports), approximately $45mm of debt and a Chinese sponsor in Sanpower Group Co Ltd.

This is a big change from when it first filed for bankruptcy in April 2014. At the time of that filing, the company had 242 stores and approximately $240mm in debt. The company blamed its over-levered capital structure for its inability to address its post-recession challenges. It doesn’t appear to have the same excuse now.

Upon emergence, it reportedly still had 240 stores. Clearly the company ought to have used the initial bankruptcy for more of an operational fix in addition to its balance sheet restructuring. While this could be a costly mistake, the company’s sponsor is a bit of a wild card here: Chinese sponsors tend to be more disinclined to chapter 11 proceedings than American counterparts. Will they write an equity check then?

Well, we now have our definitive answers. Yes. The company filed for bankruptcy earlier today. And whether Sanpower was disinclined to file or not, well…it’s in bankruptcy. And, it will not, at least not as of now, be writing an equity check.

The New Hampshire-based company describes itself as “a product development company and multichannel retailer that offer a number of highly distinctive and uniquely designed products. The Brookstone brand is strongly associated with cutting-edge innovation, superior quality, and sleek and elegant design.” Which is precisely why we plastered a “videocassette” emoji in our title. Because that description comports 100% with the way we view the brand. But we digress.

The company has clearly engaged in some downsizing since emerging from bankruptcy a few years ago; it notes that it currently operates 137 retail stores across 40 states with 102 of those stores located in malls and 35 in airports; it also carries 700 SKUs, the majority of which fall in one of three product categories (wellness, entertainment and travel). It sells across four product channels: mall retail, airport retail, e-commerce (brookstone.com and Amazon.com), and wholesale (including TV shopping which, we believe, means home shopping network sort of stuff). For fiscal year 2017, the company had net sales of $264mm and negative EBITDA was $60mm. For the first half of 2018, net sales were $74mm and negative EBITDA was $29mm. Annualize that first number and you’re looking at a pretty precipitous drop in revenue!

The company highlights the juxtaposition between its mall and retail sales channels. Whereas the former generated ‘17 net sales of $137.9mm and negative EBITDA of $30mm, the latter generated net sales of $37.7mm and “adjusted” EBITDA of $1.4mm. We haven’t seen the numbers but we’re guessing the adjustment takes this statement into account:

Moreover, the net sales and adjusted EBITDA figures do not tell the whole story with respect to the productivity of the Airport retail outlets. As described further below, supply chain issues have limited the sales potential that would otherwise be captured with a healthy network of suppliers. The Debtors believe that through the bankruptcy they can correct the supply chain issues and allow the airport stores to greatly increase their profitability.

🤔🤔 Seeing a lot of adjustments on the basis of “belief” these days.

Likewise, the company claims that aberrational externalities affected its e-commerce operations as well. There, the company claims $55.2mm in net sales and negative adjusted EBITDA of $1mm. The company believes that the discontinuation of its catalog mailings had a detrimental impact on its e-commerce (and store retail) numbers. It notes:

As with the airport retail segment, the net sales and adjusted EBITDA associated with the Debtors’ ecommerce segment is not reflective of its true potential due to supply chain difficulties. In addition, and as described further below, technology issues and a turnover of senior level management at the e-commerce segment led to underperformance at a segment that should be performing at a significantly higher level. The Debtors believe that the bankruptcy filing will afford the Debtors the opportunity to right the operational defects that have artificially stymied the overall profitability that should be incumbent to the Debtors’ online presence.

Finally, the company claims its wholesale business has a lot of demand and has been under-utilized due to the same supply chain issues affecting its other channels.

In other words, when we said earlier that “[c]learly the company ought to have used the initial bankruptcy for more of an operational fix,” we hit the nail on the head. The company notes:

Following the 2014 Bankruptcy, sales continued to lag almost immediately. For the years ended 2014 and 2015, net sales were pegged at approximately $420 million and $389 million respectively, while adjusted EBITDA was booked at negative $38 million and negative $24 million respectively. While a number of factors contributed to the underperformance, sourcing of products and supply chain difficulties were the major drivers.

But of course there’s an overall macro overlay here too:

The drop in net sales in 2016 and 2017 was further exacerbated by the decline in the mall model as a means for consumers to buy products of the type sold by Brookstone. During this time, foot traffic at mall locations decreased drastically, as consumers continued to seek out products online as a replacement for traditional brick and mortar shopping.

The company’s e-commerce efforts could not pick up the slack. It blames leadership changes, a new platform (and a loss of data and indexing that resulted), and the discontinuation of the hard copy catalog for this. The company notes:

Because the catalogs were directly responsible for a significant portion of the web traffic on the Debtors’ e-commerce site, the negative impact on the Debtors’ online sales was dramatic.

Anyone who thinks that e-commerce can survive independent of paper mailings ought to re-read that sentence. It also explains the fifteen Bonobos catalogs we get every week and the 829-pound Restoration Hardware calalog we receive every quarter. Remember the buzzword of the year: “multi-channel.” Case and point.

To make this already (too) long story short, Sanpower kept sinking money into this sinking ship until it finally decided that it was just throwing good money after bad. Callback to July when we said they’re disinclined to chapter 11…well, lighting millions of dollars on fire will make you a little more inclined. 💥💥

Powered by a $30mm DIP credit facility (not all new money: some will be used to refi out the ABL) from its prepetition (read: pre-bankruptcy) lenders, the company intends to use the bankruptcy filing to execute an orderly store closing process and market and sell the business. This is clearly why it went to great lengths to pretty up its e-commerce, mall and wholesale businesses in its narrative. Still, the company has been marketing the business for a month and, thus far, there are no biters. Per the agreement with its DIP lenders, the company has until September 2018 to effectuate its sale process. You read that right: a company that bled out over a period of years has two months on life support.

Major creditors include Chinese manufacturers and, as you might expect, the usual array of landlords, General Growth Properties ($GGP)Simon Property Group Inc. ($SPG), and Macerich Co. ($MAC). Given the positioning of the respective businesses, we wouldn’t expect much of a mall business to survive here regardless of whether a buyer emerges.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)

  • Capital Structure: $70mm ABL Revolver (Wells Fargo NA) & $15mm Term Loan (Gordon Brothers Finance Company), $10mm second lien notes (Wilmington Trust), $39.4mm Sanpower Secured Notes, $46.6mm Sanpower Unsecured Notes

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (David Feldman, Matthew Kelsey, Matthew Williams, Keith Martorana, Jason Zachary Goldstein) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Michael Nestor, Sean Beach, Andrew Magaziner)

    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC

    • Investment Banker: GLC Advisors & Co. (Soren Reynertson)

    • Liquidator Consultants: Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC & Hilco Merchant Resources LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Wells Fargo NA (Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP, Glenn Siegel, Christopher Carter & Burr & Forman LLP, J. Cory Falgowski)

    • DIP Term Agent: Gordon Brothers Finance Company (Choate Hall & Stewart, Kevin Simard, Jonathan Marshall & Richards Layton & Finger PA, John Knight)

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

New Chapter 11 Filing - Tintri Inc.

Tintri Inc.

7/10/18

On June 23 in "#BustedTech (Short Busted IPOs…cough…DOMO), we wrote the following: 

Tintri Inc., a publicly-traded ($TNTR) Delaware-incorporated and Mountain View California based provider of enterprise cloud and all-flash and hybrid storage systems appears to be on the brink of bankruptcy. There's no way any strategic buyer agrees to buy this thing without a 363 comfort order. 
In an SEC filing filed on Friday, the company noted:

"The company is currently in breach of certain covenants under its credit facilities and likely does not have sufficient liquidity to continue its operations beyond June 30, 2018."

Furthermore, 

"Based on the company’s current cash projections, and regardless of whether its lenders were to choose to accelerate the repayment of the company’s indebtedness under its credit facilities, the company likely does not have sufficient liquidity to continue its operations beyond June 30, 2018. The company continues to evaluate its strategic options, including a sale of the company. Even if the company is able to secure a strategic transaction, there is a significant possibility that the company may file for bankruptcy protection, which could result in a complete loss of shareholders’ investment."

And yesterday the company's CEO resigned from the company. All of this an ignominious end for a company that IPO'd almost exactly a year ago. Check out this chart:
Source: Yahoo! Finance

Source: Yahoo! Finance

Nothing like a $7 launch, a slight post-IPO uptick, and then a crash and burn. This should be a warning sign for anyone taking a look at Domo — another company that looks like it is exploring an IPO for liquidity to stay afloat. But we digress. 
The company's capital structure consists of a $15.4mm '19 revolving credit facility with Silicon Valley Bank, a $50mm '19 facility with TriplePoint Capital LLC, and $25mm of 8% convertible notes. Revenues increased YOY from $86mm in fiscal 2016 to $125.1mm in fiscal 2017 to $125.9mm in fiscal 2018. The net loss, however, also moved up and right: from $101mm to $105.8mm to $157.7mm. The company clearly has a liquidity ("net cash") covenant issue (remember those?). Accordingly, the company fired 20% of its global workforce (~90 people) in March (a follow-on to a 10% reduction in Q3 '17). The venture capital firms that funded the company — Lightspeed Venture Partners among them — appear to be long gone. Silver Lake Group LLC and NEA Management Company LLC, unfortunately, are not; they still own a good amount of the company.
"Isn't cloud storage supposed to be all the rage," you ask? Yeah, sure, but these guys seem to generate product revenue largely from sales of all-flash and hybrid storage systems (and stand-alone software licenses). They're mainly in the "intensely competitive IT infrastructure market," sparring with the likes of Dell EMCIBM and VMware. So, yeah, good luck with that.
*****

Alas, the company has filed for bankruptcy. This bit about the company's financial position offers up an explanation why -- in turn serving as a cautionary tale for investors in IPOs of companies that have massive burn rates:

"The company's revenue increased from $86 million in fisca1 2016 to $125.1 million in fiscal 2017, and to $125.9 million in fiscal 2018, representing year-over-year growth of 45% and 1 %, respectively. The company's net loss was $101.0 million, $105.8 million, and $157.7 million in fiscal 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively. Total assets decreased from $158.1 million as of the end of fiscal 2016 to $104.9 million as of the end of fiscal 2017, and to $76.2 million as of the end of fiscal 2018, representing year-over-year change of 34% and 27%, respectively. The company attributed flat revenue growth in fiscal 2018 in part due to delayed and reduced purchases of products as a result of customer concerns about Tintri's financial condition, as well as a shift in its product mix toward lower-priced products, offset somewhat by increased support and maintenance revenue from its growing installed customer base. Ultimately, the company's sales levels have not experienced a level of growth sufficient to address its cash burn rate and sustain its business."

With trends like those, it's no surprise that the IPO generated less capital than the company expected. More from the company:

"Tintri's orders for new products declined, it lost a few key customers and, consequently, its declining revenues led to the company's difficulties in meeting day-to-day expenses, as well as long-term debt obligations. A few months after its IPO, in December 2017, Tintri announced that it was in the process of considering strategic options and had retained investment bank advisors to assist it in this process."

As we previously noted, "[t]here's no way any strategic buyer agrees to buy this thing without a 363 comfort order." And that is precisely the path that the company seeks to take. In its filing, the company indicated that it plans to file a motion seeking approval of the sale of its assets and bid procedures shortly. The filing is meant to provide the company with a chance to continue its efforts to sell the company as a going concern. Alternatively, it will look to sell its IP and liquidate. Triplepoint has agreed to provide a $5.4mm DIP credit facility to fund the process.  Savage.  

Meanwhile, today's chart (at time of publication):

Source: Yahoo! Finance

 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Carey)
  • Capital Structure: $4.7mm RCF (Silicon Valley Bank), $56mm term loan (TriplePoint Capital LLC), $25mm '19 convertible notes.     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Henry Kevane, John Fiero, John Lucas, Colin Robinson)
    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC (Robert Duffy)
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • First Lien Lender: Silicon Valley Bank
      • Legal: Riemer & Brownstein LLP (Donald Rothman, Paul Samson, Alexander Rheaume, Steven Fox) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor)
    • Second Lien Lender: TriplePoint Capital LLC
      • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (TImothy Walsh, Riley Orloff, Gary Rosenbaum) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Jeremy Johnson, Stephen Astringer)
    • Proposed Purchaser: DataDirect Networks Inc.
      • Legal: Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP (Blase Dillingham, Alan Noskow) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight)

Updated 7/12/18 at 2:09 CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - Color Spot Holdings Inc.

Color Spot Holdings Inc.

5/29/18

Sometimes distress comes from unexpected places. On Tuesday, Color Spot Holdings Inc., a "leading" grower and distributor of quality live plants in the western and southwestern United States filed for bankruptcy. The company's products include bedding plants, e.g., (i) annuals, perennials and poinsettas and other holiday plants (70% of revenue) and (ii) flowering and ornamental shrubs (30% of revenue).

In its First Day Declaration, the company noted:

"In 2016 and 2017, the Debtors had sales of about $268 million and $248 million, respectively. The Debtors’ industry is expanding due to, among other things, an ongoing focus by consumers on caring for their yards and outdoor spaces, favorable demographic shifts, and increasing housing stock. The Debtors are poised to capture upside from this industry growth." 

Curiously that expansion and growth didn't point to expanded and grown sales. And that is despite having a heavyhitter client list, including The Home Depot ($HD), Lowe's Companies, Inc. ($LOW), Costco ($COST), Target ($T), and Walmart ($WMT). And this is despite the company's internal logistics infrastructure which includes 75% of product distribution handled by its internal fleet. This shields the company from rising trucking costs which, as PETITION has noted elsewhere, is more and more of an issue for a variety of businesses. 

To fund its highly seasonal business, the company is a party to three different credit facilities, some components of which applied (cough, usurious) interest rates at 12+%. This is a big part of the problem. In addition, we like to joke a lot about how every business under the sun blames weather for its poor earnings reports. Here, though, it truly makes sense. Indeed, the company blames the long California draught and Texan storms in 2015 and 2017 for significant operational issues. Apparently, the company also experienced declining customer service as it grew. It's hard to get good help these days, it seems. 

Consequently, the company has been in the midst of an operational restructuring; it has closed 33% of its nurseries and fixed its product mix. It has also been seeking a buyer. No stalking horse buyer is lined up, however, and the expressions of interest that the company has obtained don't appear likely to cover the Wells Fargo-funded debt. Consequently, the company intends to use bankruptcy to pursue an expedited sale process supported by the use of cash collateral with the hope of improving upon the prepetition interest and setting the business and its new owners up for success in the upcoming season. By late July, we'll know whether they were successful. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)
  • Capital Structure: $117.5mm debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (M. Blake Cleary, Ryan Bartley, Sean Greecher, Jaime Luton Chapman, Betsy Feldman)
    • Investment Banker: Raymond James & Associates Inc.
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Lender: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw & Pittman LLP (Matthew Walker, M. David Minnick) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Brendan Schaluch)
    • Capital Farm Credit, FLCA
    • Black Diamond Commercial Finance, L.L.C.

New Chapter 11 Filing - The Rockport Company LLC

The Rockport Company LLC

5/14/18

The Rockport Company LLC, a Massachusetts-based designer, distributor and retailer of comfort footwear has filed for bankruptcy — the latest in a string of footwear retailers that has found its way into chapter 11. Payless Shoesource, Sheikh Shoes, and Nine West Holdings are other recent filings. The current owners of the business — its prepetition lenders — purchased the business from Berkshire Partners LLC and New Balance Holding Inc. in 2017. 

The company operates in what it dubs a “highly competitive” business where “[a]t various times of the year, department store chains, specialty shops, and online retailers offer brand-name merchandise at substantial markdowns which further intensifies the competitive nature of the industry.” The company has (i) a robust wholesale business (57% of all its global sales), (ii) a direct retail business (eight (8) full-price and nineteen (19) outlet stores in the United States and fourteen (14) full-price and nineteen (19) outlet stores in Canada), (iii) e-commerce, and (iv) an international distribution segment. 

This business has suffered from (a) operational challenges (a costly and time consuming separation from the Adidas Networks, with which the company's operations were deeply integrated until late 2017), (b) other negative externalities (i.e., the closure of three supply factories, contract disputes with warehousemen, and (c) the burdens of its brick-and-mortar footprint. The company notes, "[o]ver the last several years the Debtors have faced a highly promotional and competitive retail environment, underscored by a shift in customer preference for online shopping." And it notes further, "[t]he unfavorable performance of the Acquired Stores in the current retail environment has made it difficult for the Debtors to maintain sufficient liquidity and to operate their business outside of Chapter 11."

In light of this, armed with a $20 million new-money DIP credit facility (exclusive of rollup amounts) extended by its prepetition ABL lenders, the company has filed for bankruptcy to consummate a stalking horse-backed asset purchase agreement with CB Marathon Opco, LLC an affiliate of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, Limited Partnership for the sale of the company's assets - OTHER THAN its North American assets — for, among other things, $150 million in cash. The buyer has a 25-day option to continue considering whether to purchase the North American assets but the company does "not expect there to be any significant interest in the North American Retail Assets." Read: the stores. The company, therefore, also filed a "store closing motion" so that it can expeditiously move to shutter its brick-and-mortar footprint at the expiration of the option. Ah, retail. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $57mm prepetition ABL Facility (Citizens Business Capital), $188.3 million '22 prepetition senior secured notes, $11mm prepetition subordinated notes.  
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Richards Layton & Finger PA (Mark Collins, Michael J. Merchant, Amanda R. Steele, Brendan J. Schlauch, Megan E. Kenney)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Services Operations Group, LLC (Paul Kosturos)
    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc.
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Noteholders and DIP Note Purchasers
      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (My Chi To, Daniel Stroik) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Bradford Sandler, James O'Neill)
    • Collateral Agent and DIP Note Agent
      • Legal: Holland & Knight LLP (Joshua Spencer) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Bradford Sandler, James O'Neill)
    • ABL Administrative Agent and ABL DIP Agent: Citizens Business Capital
      • Legal: Riemer Braunstein LLP (Donald Rothman, Lon Singer, Jaime Rachel Koff, Jeremy Levesque) & (local) Ashby & Geddes PA (Gregory Taylor)
    • Stalking Horse Bidder: CB Marathon Opco, LLC an affiliate of Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, Limited Partnership
      • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP (Jon Herzog, Joseph Bernardi Jr.) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Fournier, Evelyn Meltzer)

Updated 5/14/18 at 10:14 am

New Chapter 11 Filing - Videology Inc.

Videology Inc. 

5/10/18

In what could amount to a solid case study in #BustedTech and the up/down nature of entrepreneurship, Videology Inc., a Baltimore based software ad-tech company that generated $143.2 million in revenue in fiscal 2017 has filed for bankruptcy.

The company has two principal business lines: (i) legacy media sales, a demand side (advertisers) platform that Videology would leverage to procure ad inventory to sell to advertising agencies (the supply side); and (ii) its long-tail "core use case," which included "long term planning, management, and execution of a company's entire portfolio of advertising campaigns or advertising inventory with complex, overlapping targets, objections...across multiple delivery channels." We're going to pretend we understand what that means; we think it has something to do with assisting ad agencies target ads effectively. What we do understand is that revenue generation for the more lucrative "core use case" segment involved a long sales pipeline that didn't support timely enough revenues to offset the liquidity draining legacy segment. Ruh roh.

But let's take a step back. This company was founded in February 2007. It raised its $15.1 million Series A round of funding in July 2008, securing Valhalla Partners II as a lead investor. It then secured its $16.4 million Series B round in Q4 2009. Comcast Ventures LP was the lead investor. Thereafter it nailed down its $30.4 million Series C round in May 2011 with New Enterprise Associates 12. Finally, in June of 2013, the company closed its $68.2 million Series D round with Catalyst Investors QP III as lead. Lots of funding. No down rounds. Everything seems to be on the right track.

Except it wasn't. The legacy segment was bleeding cash as early as 2012. The company had to tap the venture debt market in July 2017 to refi-out its bank line of credit. It obtained a $40-45 million 8.5% asset-backed credit facility (secured against virtually everything, including IP) with Fast Pay Partners LLC as agent and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC ("TCP"), as documentation agent and investment manager. It also obtained a second $20 million 10% asset-backed "UK" credit facility with FPP Sandbox LLC and TCP, which was secured by the same collateral. Both loans came with exit fees, charge 3% default interest and the larger facility has a 3% end-of-term premium attached to it.

At the same time the company took out the venture debt, it issued $17.1 million of convertible notes from board members and existing major investors (elevating them in the cap table) AND raised an additional $4.7 million in a subsequent rights offering to smaller legacy investors. What do you think will happen to that money? We'll come back to that.

In Q3 2017, the company also sought to find a strategic buyer. It didn't. It then started doing what every distressed company does: it stretched payables while it tried to formulate an out-of-court solution -- in the form of a restructuring or a refinancing. Certain vendors became skittish and withheld payments to the company. The resultant cash squeeze precipitated the prepetition lenders issuance of a notice of default. Thanks to a cash control agreement, they then seized control of the main operating accounts and paid down amounts owing with the company's cash and accounts receivable. And, yes, they applied the default interest rate. This is why they say what they say about possession. Savage. Consequently nothing is due under the larger facility; over $11.2 million remains due on the UK facility. 

The company now has a potential buyer, Amobee Inc., and has filed for bankruptcy to effectuate a sale. The company hasn't yet filed papers indicating the sale price but The Wall Street Journal reports that the purchase price may be $45 million -- or 1/3 of '17 revenues. The WSJ also reports that the company has nailed down a $25 million DIP credit facility which will be used to pay down the UK facility and fund the cases. Presumably the sale price will pay off the DIP and the $20 million that remains will be left for unsecured creditor recoveries. Back of the envelope, that will be about a 25% recovery. 

As for the equity holders? In the absence of bumping up by way of the convertible note, they'll be wiped out. That's venture capital for you. The venture debt providers, however, did well. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
  • Capital Structure: $11.2mm UK Loan Facility (FPP Sandbox LLC and Tennenbaum Capital Partners LLC), $17.1 million convertible promissory note.

  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Cole Schotz PC (Irving Walker, Patrick Reilley)
    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC
    • Claims Agent: Omni Management Group (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prospective Buyer: Amobee Inc.
      • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP (Gregory Fox, Alessandra Simons) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP (Matthew Ward, Morgan Patterson)
    • Secured Lenders: FastPay Partners LLC & FPP Sandbox LLC
      • Legal: Buchalter (William Brody, Ariel Berrios) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Christopher De Lillo)
    • DIP Lender: Draper Lending LLC
      • Legal: Arent Fox LLP (Robert Hirsh, Jordana Renert) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Daniel Brogan)