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

Shale Support Global Holdings LLC

July 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Professionals:

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

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

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

      • Legal: Baker Botts LLP (Emanuel Grillo)

    • Prepetition Revolving Lender: Siena Lending Group LLC

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

🏠New Chapter 11 Filing - Monitronics International Inc.🏠

Monitronics International inc.

June 30, 2019

We wrote about Monitronics International Inc. in July 2018 in "😬Home Security Company Looks Vulnerable 😬,” noting that “home security is a tough business (short Ascent Capital Group).” And, by “tough” we meant uber-competitive and saturated. It doesn’t help when you’re levered like a boss. We recommend you read the link above to understand the challenges these businesses faced in a better way than that described in the bankruptcy papers.

That said, the debtors’ capital structure is an important element of this story; they carry:

  • $181.4mm ‘21 Revolving Credit Facility

  • $1.072b ‘22 Term Loan

  • $585mm ‘20 9.125% Senior Notes

Leverage + disruption = a recipe for disaster. This prepackaged bankruptcy filing is meant to address the former. Management will be on the clock to figure out the latter. A significantly deleveraged capital structure and a cash infusion will certainly help.

The debtors’ proposed prepackaged plan of reorganization will eliminate approximately $885mm of funded debt by way of equitizing the entirety of the senior notes, and reducing the revolving credit facility (by $50mm) and the amount of term loans (by $250mm). The term lenders will receive $150mm in cash (financed by a rights offering totaling $177mm) and equitize $100mm worth of their loans. The remainder of the term loan amount will be exchanged for take back paper issued by the reorganized debtors.

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

This is what the capital structure will look like pre and post-transaction:

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

The senior unsecured notes are fully exchanged for 18% of pre-diluted equity in the reorganized debtors.

The overall structure of the transaction is complex and depends upon some contingencies. This is the summary the debtors provided:

It might as well be gibberish at this point. Once we know whether Ascent toggle occurs we’ll have a better sense of who is contributing what. Moreover, once we the rights offering is consummated, the debtors’ new ownership will be more obvious.

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

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (David Hammerman, Annemarie Reilly, Jeremy Mispagel, Liza Burton, Brian Rosen, Christopher Harris, Zachary Proulx) & King & Spalding LLP (Roger Schwartz, Sarah Primrose) & (local) Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Timothy Davidson, Ashley Harper)

    • Board of Directors: Jeffery Gardner, William Niles, Marc Beilinson, Sherman Edmiston III

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Lender Group (Term B-2 Lenders)(Anchorage Capital Group LLC, Boston Management and Research, BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, Eaton Vance Management, FS Global Advisor LLC, Invesco Advisors Inc., KKR Credit Advisors US LLC, Monarch Alternative Capital LP)

      • Legal: Jones Day (Paul Green, Scott Greenberg, Michael Schneidereit, Peter Saba)

      • Financial Advisor: Evecore LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders

      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Kristohper Hansen, Sayan Bhattacharyya, Jason Pierce) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Kelli Norfleet, Stephen Pezanosky)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • KKR Credit Advisors US LLC

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Chris Theodoridis)

    • Administrative Agent under Pre-Petition Credit Agreement: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Amelia Joiner) & ( Local) Winstead PC (Sean Davis)

    • Pre-Petition Agent: Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski, D. Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll)

    • Ascent Capital Group

      • Legal: Baker Botts LLP

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Legacy Reserves Inc.⛽️

Even at 95 years old, you can’t get one past Charlie Munger. #Legend.

The Permian Basin in West Texas is where it’s at in the world of oil and gas exploration and production. Per Wikipedia:

As of 2018, the Permian Basin has produced more than 33 billion barrels of oil, along with 118 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This production accounts for 20% of US crude oil production and 7% of US dry natural gas production. While the production was thought to have peaked in the early 1970s, new technologies for oil extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased production dramatically. Estimates from the Energy Information Administration have predicted that proven reserves in the Permian Basin still hold 5 billion barrels of oil and approximately 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

oil gushing.gif

And it may be even more prolific than originally thought. Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy recently issued a report indicating that Permian projected output was already above 4.5mm barrels a day in May with volumes exceeding 5mm barrels in June. This staggering level of production is pushing total U.S. oil production to approximately 12.5mm barrels per day in May. That means the Permian now accounts for 36% of US crude oil production — a significant increase over 2018. Normalized across 365 days, that would be a 1.64 billion barrel run rate. This is despite (a) rigs coming offline in the Permian and (b) natural gas flaring and venting reaching all-time highs in Q1 ‘19 due to a lack of pipelines. Come again? That’s right. The Permian is producing in quantities larger than pipelines can accommodate. Per Reuters:

Producers burned or vented 661 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in the Permian Basin of West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the field that has driven the U.S. to record oil production, according to a new report from Rystad Energy.

The Permian’s first-quarter flaring and venting level more than doubles the production of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s most productive gas facility, Royal Dutch Shell’s Mars-Ursa complex, which produces about 260 to 270 mmcfd of gas.

The Permian isn’t alone in this, however. The Bakken shale field in North Dakota is also flaring at a high level. More from Reuters:

Together, the two oil fields on a yearly basis are burning and venting more than the gas demand in countries that include Hungary, Israel, Azerbaijan, Colombia and Romania, according to the report.

All of which brings us to Legacy Reserves Inc. ($LGCY). Despite the midstream challenges, one could be forgiven for thinking that any operators engaged in E&P in the Permian might be insulated from commodity price declines and other macro headwinds. That position, however, would be wrong.

Legacy is a publicly-traded energy company engaged in the acquisition, development, production of oil and nat gas properties; its primary operations are in the Permian Basin (its largest operating region, historically), East Texas, and in the Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent regions. While some of these basins may produce gobs of oil and gas, acquisition and production is nevertheless a HIGHLY capital intensive endeavor. And, here, like with many other E&P companies that have recently made their way into the bankruptcy bin, “significant capital” translates to “significant debt.”

Per the Company:

Like similar companies in this industry, the Company’s oil and natural gas operations, including their exploration, drilling, and production operations, are capital-intensive activities that require access to significant amounts of capital.  An oil price environment that has not recovered from the downturn seen in mid-2014 and the Company’s limited access to new capital have adversely affected the Company’s business. The Company further had liquidity constraints through borrowing base redeterminations under the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement, as well as an inability to refinance or extend the maturity of the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement beyond May 31, 2019.

This is the company’s capital structure:

Legacy Cap Stack.png

The company made two acquisitions in mid-2015 costing over $540mm. These acquisitions proved to be ill-timed given the longer-than-expected downturn in oil and gas. Per the Company:

In hindsight, despite the GP Board’s and management’s favorable view of the potential future opportunities afforded by these acquisitions and the high-caliber employees hired by the Company in connection therewith, these two acquisitions consumed disproportionately large amounts of the Company’s liquidity during a difficult industry period.

WHOOPS. It’s a good thing there were no public investors in this thing who were in it for the high yield and favorable tax treatment.*

Yet, the company was able to avoid a prior bankruptcy when various other E&P companies were falling like flies. Why was that? Insert the “drillco” structure here: the company entered into a development agreement with private equity firm TPG Special Situations Partners to drill, baby, drill (as opposed to acquire). What’s a drillco structure? Quite simply, the PE firm provided capital in return for a wellbore interest in the wells that it capitalized. Once TPG clears a specified IRR in relation to any specific well, any remaining proceeds revert to the operator. This structure — along with efforts to delever through out of court exchanges of debt — provided the company with much-needed runway during a rough macro patch.

It didn’t last, however. Liquidity continued to be a pervasive problem and it became abundantly clear that the company required a holistic solution to its balance sheet. That’s what this filing will achieve: this chapter 11 case is a financial restructuring backed by a Restructuring Support Agreement agreed to by nearly the entirety of the capital structure — down through the unsecured notes. Per the Company:

The Global RSA contemplates $256.3 million in backstopped equity commitments, $500.0 million in committed exit financing from the existing RBL Lenders, the equitization of approximately $815.8 million of prepetition debt, and payment in full of the Debtors’ general unsecured creditors.

Said another way, the Permian holds far too much promise for parties in interest to walk away from it without maintaining optionality for the future.

*Investors got burned multiple times along the way here. How did management do? Here is one view (view thread: it’s precious):

😬

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

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (Duston McFaul, Charles Persons, Michael Fishel, Maegan Quejada, James Conlan, Bojan Guzina, Andrew O’Neill, Allison Ross Stromberg)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Seth Bullock, Mark Rajcevich)

    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners (Kevin Cofsky)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Wilmington Trust NA, Dalton Investments LLC, Paul Drueke, John Dinkel, Nicholas Mumford)

    • GSO Capital Partners LP

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Adam Goldberg, Christopher Harris, Zachary Proulx, Brett Neve, Julian Bulaon) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, M. Shane Johnson)

    • DIP Lender: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Orrick LLP (Raniero D’Aversa, Laura Metzger)

    • Prepetition Term Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Gerardo Mijares-Shafai, Seth Kleinman)

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Pryor Cashman (Seth Lieberman, Patrick Sibley, Andrew Richmond)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Senior Noteholders (Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund, J.H. Lane Partners Master Fund LP, JCG 2016 Holdings LP, The John C. Goff 2010 Family Trust, John C. Goff SEP-IRA, Cuerno Largo Partners LP, MGA insurance Company Inc., Pingora Partners LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Stephen Piraino, Michael Pera) & (local) Rapp & Krock PC (Henry Flores)

Updated 7/7/19 #188

🚁New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Bristow Group Inc.🚁

Bristow Group Inc.

May 11, 2019

Nothing like being late to the party. Following in the footsteps of fellow helicopter transportation companies Erickson Inc., CHC Group, Waypoint Leasing* and PHI Inc., Bristow Group Inc. ($BRS) and its eight affiliated debtors are the latest in the space to find their way into bankruptcy court. The company enters bankruptcy with a restructuring support agreement and a $75mm DIP financing commitment with and from its senior secured noteholders.

While each of the aforementioned companies is in the helicopter transportation space, they don’t all do exactly the same business. PHI, for instance, has a fairly large — and some might say, attractive — medical services business. Bristow, on the other hand, provides industrial aviation and charter services primarily to offshore energy companies in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the Asian Pacific; it also provides search and rescue services for governmental agencies, in addition to the oil and gas industry. Like the other companies, though: it is not immune to (a) the oil and gas downturn and (b) an over-levered balance sheet.

At the time of this writing, the debtors’ chapter 11 filing wasn’t complete and so details are scant. What we do know, however, is that the company does have a restructuring support agreement executed with “the overwhelming majority” of senior secured noteholders and a $75mm DIP commitment.

*Waypoint Leasing is listed as the 14th largest creditor, owed nearly $104k. Sheesh. These businesses can’t catch a break.

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

  • Capital Structure:

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Baker Botts LLP (James Prince, Omar Alaniz, Ian Roberts, Kevin Chiu, Emanuel Grillo, Chris Newcomb)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • ABL Facility Agent: Barclays Bank PLC

    • 2019 Term Loan Agent: Ankura Trust Company LLC

    • Indenture Trustee for the 8.75% ‘23 Senior Secured Notes: U.S. Bank NA

    • Indenture Trustee for the 6.25% ‘22 Senior Notes and 4.5% ‘23 Convertible Senior Notes: Wilmington Trust NA

    • Ad Hoc Group of Secured Notes and Term Lenders (Blackrock Financial Management Inc., DW Partners LP, Highbridge Capital Management LLC, Oak Hill Advisors LP, Whitebox Advisors LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Natasha Tsiouris) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Charles Beckham, Kelli Norfleet, Martha Wyrick)

    • Ad Hoc Group fo Unsecured Noteholders

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Jones Energy Inc.⛽️

Jones Energy Inc.

April 14, 2019

Austin-based independent oil and natural gas E&P company, Jones Energy Inc., filed a prepackaged chapter 11 bankruptcy to restructure its $1.009b of debt ($450mm senior secured first lien notes and $559mm unsecured notes across two tranches). In case you didn’t realize, oil and gas exploration and production is a capital intensive business.

The company operates primarily in the Anadarko Basin in Oklahoma and Texas. Its territory is the aggregation of acreage accumulated over the years, including the 2009 purchase of Crusader Energy Group Inc. out of bankruptcy for $240.5mm in cash.

We’re not going to belabor the point as to why this company is in bankruptcy: the narrative is no different than most other oil and gas companies that have found their way into bankruptcy court over the last several years. Indeed, this chart about sums things up nicely:

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 2.29.01 PM.png

It’s really just a miracle that it didn’t file sooner. Why hadn’t it? Per the company:

…the Debtors consummated a series of liquidity enhancing transactions, including equity raises, debt repurchases, strategic acquisitions, non-core asset sales, and modifications of their operations to reduce their workforce and drilling activities. This included a Company-wide headcount reduction in 2016 resulting in the termination of approximately 30% of the Debtors’ total workforce, as well as halting drilling activity spanning several months during the worst of the historic commodity downturn.

But…well…the debt. As in, there’s too much of it.

Screen Shot 2019-04-05 at 2.56.24 PM.png

And debt service costs were too damn high. In turn, the company’s securities traded too damn low:

Source: Disclosure Statement

Source: Disclosure Statement

What’s more interesting here is the process that unfolded. In February 2018, the company issued $450mm of 9.25% ‘23 senior secured first lien notes. The proceeds were used to repay the company’s senior secured reserve-based facility and eliminate the restrictive covenants contained therein. The company also hoped to use the proceeds to repurchase some of its senior unsecured notes at a meaningful discount to par. In a rare — yet increasingly common — show of unity, however, the company’s unsecured lenders thwarted these efforts by binding together pursuant to a “cooperation agreement” and telling the company to take its pathetic offer and pound sand. (PETITION Note: its amazing what lenders can achieve if they can solve for a collective action problem). This initiated a process that ultimately led to the transaction commemorated in the company’s announces restructuring support agreement.

So what now? The senior secured lenders will equitize their debt and come out with 96% of the common stock in the reorganized entity. Holders of unsecured debt will get 4% equity and warrants (exercisable for up to a 15% ownership stake in the reorganized company), both subject to dilution by equity issued to management under a “Management Incentive Plan.” The company has a commitment for $20mm of exit financing lined up (with the option for replacement financing of up to $150mm).

Hopefully the company will have better luck without the albatross of so much debt hanging over it.

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

  • Capital Structure: $450mm 9.25% ‘23 senior secured first lien notes (UMB Bank NA), $559mm 6.75% ‘22 and 9.25% ‘23 unsecured notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Christopher Marcus, Brian Schartz, Anthony Grossi, Ana Rotman, Rebecca Blake Chaikin, Mark McKane, Brett Newman, Kevin Chang) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Matthew Cavenaugh, Jennifer Wertz)

    • Independent Directors: Tara Lewis, L. Spencer Wells

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Ryan Omohundro)

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC (Daniel Aronson)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Noteholders

      • Legal: Milbank LLP (Dennis Dunne, Evan Fleck, Michael Price) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, Genevieve Graham)

      • Financial Advisor: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Crossover Holders

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Benjamin Schak) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Charlie Beckham, Kelli Norfleet)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Metalmark Capital LLC

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (Andrew Geppert, David Meyer, Jessica Peet, Michael Garza)

Updated 4/15/19 2:05 CT

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Vanguard Natural Resources Inc.⛽️

Vanguard Natural Resources Inc.

March 31, 2019

It’s raining SCARLET 22s! Freefall!! We still STILL have a feasibility problem!!!

Vanguard Natural Resources Inc. ($VNRR) and affiliated debtors find themselves in bankruptcy court again — the second time in nearly exactly two years (its predecessor confirmed a plan of reorganization in July 2017). And they do so in crash and burn fashion: while discussions have been happening over the last several weeks with various constituencies within the company’s capital structure, the company has no deal agreed to — merely the outlines of a restructuring term sheet. This is curious given that, under the company’s proposed DIP credit facility ($130mm, of which $65mm is new money), the company has a mere 30 days from the petition date to file a plan of reorganization and must emerge from chapter 11 within 120 days. Send hopes and prayers to the Kirkland attorneys working on this one over the next few weeks.

The debtors are an oil and natural gas company with production and development activity in the Rocky Mountain, Mid-Continent, Gulf Coast and West Texas regions of the United States; they operate in eight states across nine geologic basins. They are a remnant of the first bankruptcy which saw the predecessor entity shed $850mm of debt and wipe out the existing equity. The current capital structure looks like this:

Screen Shot 2019-04-01 at 1.26.16 PM.png

The second lien noteholders include Fir Tree Capital Management LP and York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC. And the company’s equity holders are:

Source: Chapter 11 Petition

Source: Chapter 11 Petition

This is another pretty cut and dry oil and gas bankruptcy given where oil and natural gas prices are. Many investors who took ownership of distressed E&P companies circa 2015-2017 were playing an option on oil and gas trading levels. That option is clearly out of the money.

Interestingly, that option was underwritten, in part, on the company’s projections. And, so, this statement by the company’s now-CEO was particularly intriguing to us and fits nicely within our recent general theme of inquiring as to whether the industry has a feasibility problem (see Paragon Offshore here, Gymboree here, and Payless here):

I understand that the Vanguard I Plan was predicated on various assumptions that ultimately did not materialize. As discussed further herein, it is my understanding that these may have included certain assumptions about: (a) commodity prices and basin differentials; (b) the pace and volume of divestments and the existence of valuable undeveloped resources to be sold; and (c) the expected returns on a number of capital investments pursued by Vanguard upon emergence—many of which have failed to come to full fruition and have challenged the Debtors’ liquidity over the last 18 months.

Former management, meet a big bad bus. You’ve just been thrown under it.

Under bus.gif

In fact, as if saying it wasn’t enough, the new CEO spared PETITION the trouble of having to dive into the 2017 filings to see just how badly these guys botched their liquidity projections:

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

The following compounded matters: (a) mismanagement of the company’s hedge book, (b) borrowing base redeterminations, (c) refi roadshows met with “tepid” interest, (d) a series of asset sales that failed to live up to expectations — both in terms of time to completion and proceeds, and (e) capital investments that “delivered lower economic returns than expected.” It’s almost as if distressed investors who sit on boards of directors and hire their own operators have absolutely no effing clue how to run an oil and gas company. Who knew?

And so the company came dangerously close to tripping a series of covenants. That’s when the company brought in Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Evercore Group LLC and re-engaged Opportune LLP to help the company. The various advisors engaged in a number of processes that would have provided the company with crucial liquidity — including new financing, bank facility amendments and various discreet asset sales. But all prospective parties quickly realized that the assets…well…for lack of a better description…kinda, like, suck.

And so nothing could get done. Well, other than the company obtaining a commitment for $130mm of DIP financing to fund the cases (of which only $65mm is new money). What happens from here will be interesting to watch. Suffice it to say, distressed-investors-cum-oil-and-gas-owners are learning a ROUGH lesson.

And, once again, we have to ask whether company projections ought to get a bit more scrutiny than they have to date.

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

  • Capital Structure: $677.7mm RCF and $123.4mm TL (Citibank NA), $80.7mm second lien notes (Delaware Trust Company)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Christopher Marcus, Brian Schartz, Aparna Yenamandra, Richard Howell, Yates French, Kent Hayden, Timothy Bow, James Fedell, Allyson Smith Weinhouse) & (local) Blank Rome LLP (James Grogan, Philip Guffy)

    • Board of Directors: Randall Albert, Patrick Bartels Jr., W. Greg Dunlevy, Joseph Hurliman Jr., Andrew Schultz, R. Robert Sloan, L. Spencer Wells

    • Financial Advisor: Opportune LLP

    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent ($130mm, $65mm New Money): Citibank NA

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Mitchell Seider, Annemarie Reilly, Adam Malatesta) & (local) Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Timothy Davidson II, Joseph Rovira)

    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Steven Pohl, Justin Cunningham, Alexander Fraser) & (local) Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Patricia Tomasco)

    • Second Lien Ad Hoc Group (Fir Tree Capital Management LP, York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Benjamin Schak) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, M. Shane Johnson)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Locke Lorde LLP (Philip Eisenberg)

      • Restructuring Advisor: Parkman Whaling LLC (Thomas B. Hensley Jr.)

      • Financial Advisor: The Claro Group LLC (Douglas Brickley)

Updated 5/10 at 12:25pm (#48)

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - SQLC Senior Living Center at Corpus Christi Inc. (d/b/a Mirador)😷

SQLC Senior Living Center at Corpus Christi Inc. (d/b/a Mirador)

2/8/19

We started reading the papers for the bankruptcy filing of SQLC Senior Living Center at Corpus Christi Inc. (d/b/a Mirador) and started scratching our heads. “Have we read this before?” we wondered. The answer is, effectively, ‘yes.’ On January 30th, Mayflower Communities Inc. d/b/a The Barrington of Carmel filed for bankruptcy. As with Mirador, here, SQLC is the sole member of and administrator and operator of The Barrington of Carmel, too. And therein lies the familiarity: the first several pages of Mirador’s First Day Declaration filed in support of the bankruptcy have the exact same description of the continuing care retirement community business as that filed in The Barrington of Carmel case. Which makes sense: there’s the same CRO and financial advisor in both cases. And, so, we have to complement the efficiency: why reinvent the wheel?

Whereas Barrington was a 271-unit CCRC, Mirador — a Texas nonprofit — owns and operates a 228-unit CCRC, comprised of 125 independent living residences, 44 assisted living residences, 18 memory care residences, and 4 skilled nursing residences. Mirador makes all of its revenue from operation of the CCRC. Mirador is a smaller CCRC than Barrington and, similarly, its assets and liabilities are fewer. As of the petition date, the company reported approximately $53mm in assets and $118mm in liabilities, the bulk of which is comprised of $74.5mm of long-term municipal bond obligations (UMB Bank NA) and $13.9mm of subordinated notes.

So what factored into the company’s bankruptcy filing? It blames, among other things, (i) the inability to sustain pricing and the level of entrance fees needed to support its debt, (ii) the Great Recession’s effect on housing prices which had the trickle-down effect of impairing the ability of potential residents to sell their houses and pay the necessary entrance fee (which, in turn, led to below-model occupancy levels and depressed cash flow), and (iii) the competitive senior housing market in Corpus Christi.

To combat these trends, the company lowered its entrance fees to fill occupancy. While that worked, it “also produced the negative effect on the long-term financial ability of the Debtor to pay Resident Refunds as they became due.” See, this complicated things. Per the Debtors:

“The Debtor’s initial Life Care Residents often executed 90% refundable contracts, which resulted in higher Resident Refund obligation. In an effort to maintain occupancy levels, newer Life Care Residents often paid a lower cost Entrance Fee. Thus, as earlier Residents moved out of the Facility and became eligible for Resident Refunds, the Entrance Fees received from New Residents were not sufficient to cover the Debtor’s Resident Refund obligations. This pattern continued such that as of late 2017, the Debtor owed and was unable to pay Resident Refunds of approximately $2 million.”

This appears to be the nonprofit version of a Ponzi scheme, but we digress. In addition to the above, the company also stream-lined costs and curtailed company-wide expenses and administrative overhead. Ultimately, the company hired a slate of bankruptcy professionals and began a marketing process for the assets — a process that, in the end, culminated in the stalking horse offer by Aldergate Trust and Methodist Retirement Community for $20,350,000 in cash plus the assumption of certain liabilities. The agreement also includes the assumption of all Residence Agreements of former residents, preserving those residents’ rights to refunds. With this sale (and the proceeds therefrom) as its centerpiece, the company also filed a plan and disclosure statement on day one.

One last point here: considering that we now have two CCRC bankruptcies in the last two weeks and both are operated by SQLC, we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight that SQLC also operates four other CCRCs: (a) Northwest Senior Housing Corporation d/b/a Edgemere; (b) Buckingham Senior Living Community, Inc. d/b/a The Buckingham; (c) Barton Creek Senior Living Center, Inc. d/b/a Querencia at Barton Creek; and (d) Tarrant County Senior Living Center, Inc. d/b/a The Stayton at Museum Way. With 33% of its CCRCs currently in BK, it seems that — for the restructuring professionals among you — these other SQLC facilities may be worth a quick look/inquiry.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Thompson & Knight LLP (Demetra Liggins, Cassandra Sepanik Shoemaker)

    • Financial Advisor: Larx Advisors (Keith Allen)

    • CRO: Ankura Consulting (Louis Robichaux IV)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Indenture Trustee: UMB Bank NA

      • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery (Nathan Coco)

    • Stalking Horse Purchaser: Aldergate Trust and Methodist Retirement Community

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Parker Drilling Inc.

Parker Drilling Inc.

12/12/18

Back in October, in “Still Work to Do in Oil Country (Short Oil Field Services Companies),” we wrote the following:

Restructuring professionals attempting to extricate themselves from oil and gas work may have to wait a little bit longer. With companies like Houston-based Parker Drilling Corporation ($PKD) continuing to tread water, there may continue to be action in the space in the very near future. 

We added:

The signs of a near-term (read: Q4 ‘18) bankruptcy filing for Parker Drilling continue to shine through. Back in July, the company implemented a reserve stock split and adopted a short-term shareholder rights plan. While neither initiative, on its own, is dispositive of a chapter 11 filing, they are indicia. The former increases the market price per share of the common stock, ensuring compliance with NYSE listing requirements. Given a delisting notice received back in the spring, some level of stock split was basically a fait accompli. The latter is intended to “protect the best interests of the Company and its stakeholders”and is meant to preserve certain tax attributes that, if lost, would be tremendous value leakage to the estate…uh, company. The company noted:

“The Company believes these Tax Benefits are valuable assets that could offset potential future income taxes for federal income tax purposes. As of December 31, 2017, the Company had approximately $456 million of federal NOLs and $47 million of foreign tax credits.”

Of course, net operating losses only emanate out of a business that is (or was during a given fiscal year) unprofitable for tax purposes. So, there’s that. Which, putting the aforementioned shenanigans aside, is seemingly the bigger problem here.

For its second quarter ended June 30, 2018, PKD reported a net loss of $23.8mm on $118.6mm of revenue, a loss of $2.56/share. Adjusted EBITDA was $18.7mm. While those numbers aren’t so good, to say the least, they actually include a Q-over-Q increase of 8.1% in revenue (thanks to an increase in gross margin). Of course G&A expenses increased by $2.1mm because…wait for it…there were “professional fees fees related to ongoing capital structure analysis during the quarter.” You bet there were, homies.

We continued:

This capital structure isn’t complex and refinancing options, while theoretical, may be difficult given the company’s continued cash burn.

This is the company’s capital structure:

Screen Shot 2018-12-12 at 8.28.57 PM.png

And so we concluded:

The path forward here given the liquidity needed seems pretty obvious: we expect to see a restructuring support agreement on this bad boy sometime soon with an attempted quick trip through bankruptcy court that de-levers the balance sheet, eliminates interest expense, and positions the company to make the capex necessary to capture the growth projected in the business plan.

So, what’s the latest? Well, as predicted, Houston-backed Parker Drilling Company, an international provider of contract drilling and drilling-related services and rental tools, filed an earnest bankruptcy petition and accompanying papers in the Southern District of Texas. Earnest? Why “earnest”? The company stated:

Adverse macro trends, including and especially the sustained downturn in commodity prices, have reduced demand for oilfield services provided by the Debtors, resulting in idle rigs, and placing downward pressure on the prices the Debtors are able to charge. Moreover, the Debtors are facing near term 2020 maturities of their 2020 Notes and ABL (each as defined in the First Day Declaration), for which the borrowing base has been tightened and which may not be re-financeable in the current environment under the existing capital structure.

Rather than hold out hope for a market recovery, or execute an inferior transaction that would at best provide more onerous financing without addressing their capital structure in a comprehensive manner, the Debtors have negotiated a comprehensive balance sheet reorganization to both reduce leverage and increase liquidity.

Rather than hold out hope for a market recovery.” Those are poignant words that say a lot about the company’s outlook for oil in the near-term. It also says a lot about the company’s capital structure: clearly, there was no chance this company could grow into its balance sheet and/or refinance its upcoming debt. And, so, as we also predicted, the company’s bankruptcy filing is accompanied by a deal in hand with the major players in the company’s capital structure and equity profile: Brigade Capital Management, Highbridge Capital Management, Varde Partners, Whitebox Advisors. These four institutions collectively hold approximately 77% of the unsecured notes, approximately 62% of the outstanding preferred stock, and approximately 15% of the outstanding common stock. They’ve agreed to equitize the notes in exchange for equity in the reorganized company and to participate in a rights offering that will have the effect of capitalizing the reorganized entity with $95mm of new equity. The net effect of all of this will be a $375mm deleveraging of the company’s balance sheet.

The company has a commitment for a $50 DIP credit facility to fund the cases and a $50mm exit facility (with an upsize option up to $100mm) upon its emergence from chapter 11.

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

  • Capital Structure: $80mm ABL (unfunded - Bank of America NA), $225mm ‘20 notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.), $360mm ‘22 notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Christopher Marcus, Brian Schartz, Anna Rotman, Matthew Fagen, Jamie Netznik) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Lacie Melasi, John Walsh)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. (Bassam Latif)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Consenting Noteholders: Brigade Capital Management, Highbridge Capital Management, Varde Partners, Whitebox Advisors

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Petroquest Energy Inc.

Petroquest Energy Inc.

November 6, 2018

Petroquest Energy Inc. ($PQUE), an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, development, acquisition and production of oil and gas reserves in Texas and Louisiana, managed to stave off bankruptcy back during the oil and gas downturn. How? Well, this is how:

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

Bankruptcy, however, caught up to it anyway.

The company filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas with a restructuring support agreement in tow. The terms of the RSA reflect that (i) the prepetition term lenders will be paid in full with an exit facility, (ii) the holders of second lien notes will have an option to participate in the exit facility (which will be fully backstopped by certain consenting creditors), and (iii) the prepetition second lien noteholders will receive 100% equity in the reorganized PetroQuest, a backstop fee in connection with provision of the exit facility, and $80mm of new second lien PIK notes. All of which is to say that the company will meaningfully de-lever its balance sheet. Meanwhile, general unsecured creditors will get $400k and all equityholders will, shockingly, get wiped.

More to come…

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

  • Capital Structure: $50mm Term Loan, $9.4mm second lien debt, $275mm second lien PIK debt (Wilmington Trust NA)     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Joshua Wolfshohl, M. Shane Johnson)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Seaport Global Securities

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Second Lien Agent: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Reed Smith LLP (Kurt Gwynne)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Gastar Exploration Inc.

Gastar Exploration Inc.

October 31, 2018

The fallout from the oil and gas downturn appears to have a long tail.

Gastar Exploration Inc. ($GST), an oil and natural gas exploration and production company focused on shale resource plays in Oklahoma filed a prepackaged bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas.

For anyone looking for a short primer on what exactly transpired in oil and gas country upon the 2014 downturn in commodity prices is in luck: the company provides a succinct explanation in its bankruptcy filings. It notes:

The market difficulties faced by the Debtors are consistent with those faced industry-wide. Oil and gas companies and others have been challenged by low natural gas prices for years. Since January 2014, natural gas prices fell from a peak of $5.39 per MMBtu in January 2014 to $1.73 per MMBtu by March 2016, and remain at approximately $3.17 per MMBtu. The price of crude oil has similarly plummeted from a high of $107.26 per barrel in June 2014 to a low of $29.64 per barrel in January 2016. Crude oil prices remain at approximately $67 per barrel. Additionally, NYMEX futures curves for both natural gas and crude oil are backward dated, indicating an expectation among real-money traders in the derivatives market that these commodity prices are expected to decline over the next several years.

These market conditions have affected oil and gas companies at every level of the industry around the world. All companies in the oil and gas industry (not just E&P companies) have felt these effects. However, independent oil and gas companies have been especially hard-hit, as their revenues are generated from the sale of unrefined oil and gas. Over 160 oil and gas companies have filed for chapter 11 since the beginning of 2015. Numerous other oil and gas companies have defaulted on their debt obligations, negotiated amendments or covenant relief with creditors to avoid defaulting, or have effectuated out-of-court restructurings.

The Debtors were not immune to these macro-economic forces.

With hundreds of millions of dollars of debt, the company managed to avoid a bankruptcy filing during that time. This is primarily due to a 2017 refinancing transaction that it consummated with Ares Management LLC pursuant to which the company took on new first lien term loans, new second lien converts, and obtained a $50mm equity investment from Ares. The capital structure, at the petition date, is comprised of these term loans and converts. The company intended the new financing to help it weather the downturn and bridge it to a more favorable operational performance and capital markets environment. Alas, it’s in bankruptcy. So, we guess we know how those intentions played out in reality. Indeed, the company experienced significant operational challenges that resulted in a decreased in well production performance — a result that came to pass only after the company incurred the costs of production. Sheesh.

Now the company seeks, in partnership with Ares, to push through a speedy chapter 11 bankruptcy that would have the effect of deleveraging the balance sheet by approximately $300mm, handing all of the equity to Ares (on account of their second lien notes claims), and wiping out the preferred and common equity — which would only be entitled to warrants in reorganized Gastar if they don’t object to the restructuring or seek the appointment of an official committee of equity security holders. Which in the case of both common equityholders (Fir Tree Capital Management LP & York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC) and preferred equityholders…uh…is exactly what they’re doing. Clearly those warrants weren’t much of a carrot. And Judge Isgur happens to have previously demonstrated a soft spot in his heart for equity committees. See, e.g., Energy XXI.

Prior to the first day hearing, Fir Tree and York (by attorneys Quinn Emanuel - a sign of seriousness) filed an emergency motion seeking the appointment of an equity committee alleging, among other things, that the company’s plan is a pure Ares jam fest. They seek an investigation of Ares’ actions (including the refinancing transaction), citing the Energy XXI case, and noting in the process that with unsecured creditors riding through the plan, there is no viable adversary to the debtor other than the zeroed-out equity. Which makes this a private equity vs. hedge fund hootenanny!

Subsequently, an ad hoc committee of preferred stockholders filed a motion joining the arguments of Fir Tree and York, noting, however, that as a preferred equity they’re liquidation preference trumps the interest of the common stockholders. They, too, want an investigation into Ares’ involvement in these cases.

A hearing is scheduled for later this week.

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

  • Capital Structure: see below (+$13.3mm in hedging obligations).     

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Ross Kwasteniet, Anna Rotman, John Luze, Ciara Foster, Brett Newman) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Financial Advisor: Dacarba LLC

    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners LP (Kevin Cofsky)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Financial Sponsor: Ares Management LLC

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Paul Aronzon, Thomas Kreller, Robert Liubicic, Haig Maghakian)

    • Minority Shareholders: Fir Tree Capital Management LP & York Capital Management Global Advisors LLC

      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Emily Smith, K. John Shaffer, Benjamin Finestone, Kate Scherling)

    • Ad Hoc Committee of Preferred Stock Holders (Aedes LLC)

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Paul Silverstein, David Zdunkewicz, Brian Clarke, Timothy Tad Davidson II)

    • DIP Agent & TL Agent: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski, Brian Lohan, Seth Kleinman)

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - NRG REMA LLC

NRG REMA LLC

October 16, 2018

NRG REMA LLC, an indirect subsidiary of bankruptcy veteran GenOn Energy Inc., has filed for bankruptcy to effectuate a prepackaged plan of reorganization supported by “REMA, the independent directors of GenOn (who are advised by independent advisors), the independent directors of REMA (who are advised by independent advisors), more than 90% of holders of those certain Series C Pass-Through Trust Certificates due 2026, Public Service Enterprise Group and the steering committee of GenOn noteholders.”

We don’t really have much to add so we’ll leave it at that.

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

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, David Seligman, Steven Serajeddini, W. Benjamin Winter, AnnElyse Scarlett Gibbons) & (local) Zack A Clement PLLC

    • Legal to Governance Committee of BOD: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Rothschild

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Lease Indenture Trustees and Pass Through Trustee

      • Legal: Hogan Lovells US LLP (Robert Ripin, Alex Sher)

    • Consenting PTC Holders

      • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Garrison & Wharton LLP (Andrew Rosenberg, Elizabeth McColm, Alexander Woolverton)

🔥New Chapter 11 Filing - Westmoreland Coal Company🔥

Westmoreland Coal Company

October 9, 2018

In our April piece entitled "🌑Trouble Brews in Coal Country🌑," we noted how Westmoreland Coal Company ($WLB) was headed towards a bankruptcy filing. Subsequently, in May, the company obtained a small round of financing ($90mm) to bridge itself to a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. Alas, we're upon that filing — a “Chapter 33,” of sorts, for good measure.

And it’s an…interesting…one. The company’s First Day Declaration leads with “What is Coal” and then goes on to mansplain what coal is. It’s beautiful. It’s educational. It’s…odd. Per the Declaration:

Coal is a fossil fuel that forms from the remains of vegetation as long as 400 million years ago. The plants from eons ago captured energy through photosynthesis to create compounds (carbon) in plant tissue. When those plants and trees died, they ultimately sank to the bottom of swamps and formed a dense material called peat, which progressively carbonized under the earth’s pressure and changing temperatures and eventually became a combustible sedimentary and metamorphic rock, which is referred to as coal.

There are at least four ranks of coal, depending on the carbon content: lignite; subbituminous; bituminous; and anthracite. Some estimate that 90 percent of the coal in America is bituminous (i.e., soft) coal, which is primarily used to make electricity through combustion in boilers to make steam that is used to generate power (called steam or thermal coal) and coke for the steel industry (metallurgical or coking coal). The Debtors mine lignite, subbituminous, and bituminous coal.

We are thankful for the explanation. After all, there haven’t been many opportunities over the last decade to explore the intersection of coal and bankruptcy. Oh…wait. Hang on. Right. Ok, sure, there was Peabody Energy. Ah, yeah, and Alpha Natural Resources. And Edison Mission Energy, Patriot Coal (x2), Walter Energy, Arch Coal, Xinergy, Armstrong Energy and James River Coal. To name a few. But we digress.

Anyway, THIS bankruptcy implicates Westmoreland (with affiliates, “WLB”), a thermal coal producer that sells coal to “investment grade power plants under long-term cost-protected contracts, as well as to industrial customers and barbeque charcoal manufacturers.” The company’s mines are located in Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Ohio and New Mexico, of which only 4 of a total of 23 are active. The company’s strategy generally revolves around focusing on coal markets where the company can leverage geographic proximity to power plants, some of which were specifically designed to use the company’s coal. Close proximity also permits the company to avoid onerous transportation costs, which, in turn, provides the company with flexibility to be a low(er) cost provider. There is a bit of an export business as well.

The problem is that “[t]he American coal industry is intensely competitive.” The company adds:

In addition to competition from other coal producers, the Debtors compete with producers of alternative fuels used for electrical power generation, such as nuclear energy, natural gas, hydropower, petroleum, solar, and wind. Costs and other factors such as safety, environmental, and regulatory considerations related to alternative fuels affect the overall demand for coal as a fuel. Political dynamics in the United States and Canada have additionally resulted in a reduction of the market demand for coal-based energy solutions.

Tack on a hefty chunk of debt:

And then mix in that the company is (i) subject to 7 collective bargaining agreements and, (ii) in addition to a multi-employer pension plan, that it also provides defined benefit pension plans to qualified employees — which, naturally, are underfunded by approximately $29mm and carry a termination liability of approximately $77.3mm. But wait, there’s more. The company also has, among other things, approximately (i) $1.3mm in retiree medical obligations, (ii) $18.2mm in federal regulatory Black Lung Act obligations, (iii) $334mm of “other post-employment benefit” obligations and (iv) asset retirement obligations of approximately $474.5mm. Why anyone would want to get into the coal business is beyond us. That all sounds outright depressing.

The company blames the following for its bankruptcy filing: (a) a challenging macro environment (⬇️ production and ⬇️demand); (b) a capital intensive business model; (c) the rise of natural gas as a lower cost alternative to coal (score one for the frackers!); and (d) regulation which, as you can see from the panoply of liabilities noted above, helps create a quite a heavy hitter lineup of economic obligations. Per the company:

When coupled with the external pricing pressure, increased regulation, political opposition to coal in the United States and Canada, and other costs associated with WLB’s businesses, these liabilities have hindered WLB’s ability to operate competitively in the current market environment.

And so the company has filed its chapter 11 bankruptcy with the consent of 76% of its term lenders, 57.9% of its senior secured noteholders and 79.1% of its bridge lenders to pursue a dual-track sale of its core assets to an entity to be formed on behalf of the senior secured noteholders and term lenders, subject to highest or best offers for the core assets at an auction. The sale will be consummated through a plan to, among other things, preserve tax benefits. The company will also continue to market its non-core assets. Likewise, the master limited partnership 94% owned by the company (“WMLP”) is for sale. Notably, with no prospect of a restructuring on the horizon, there is no deal in place with the unions and retirees and WLB may have to proceed on a non-consensual basis.

The company marched in to court with a commitment for a $110mm DIP. It will roll-up the bridge loan and fund the cases while the sale processes progress.

Update: In “Grocery Workers, Miners, and Who Ain’t Getting Paid (Short #MAGA),” we noted how coal miners employed by Westmoreland Coal Company were, due to a recent decision by Judge Jones in the Southern District of Texas, in for a world of hurt. Now the company has officially filed its motion seeking to reject certain collective bargaining agreements and modify certain retiree benefits pursuant to sections 1113 and 1114 of the Bankruptcy Code. #MAGA!!

Update: On January 21, 2019, the company filed a “Notice of Cancellation of Auction and Designation of Successful Bidder” after the company didn’t receive any qualified bids for its core assets other than the original stalking horse bid. The company’s Buckingham Mine, a non-core asset, did, in contrast, receive some interest and the company, therefore, will seek to sell that mine in due time.

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

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Edward Sassower, Stephen Hessler, Michael Slade, Greg Pesce, Anna Rotman, Christopher Koenig, Gerardo Mijares-Shafai, Timothy Bow) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)

    • Legal Conflicts Counsel to Westmoreland Resource Partners LP and the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of Westmoreland Resources GP LLC: Jones Day (Heather Lennox, Timothy Hoffman, Oliver Zeltner)

    • Financial Advisor to Westmoreland Resource Partners LP and the Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of Westmoreland Resources GP LLC: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (Tyler Cowan)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Robert Campagna)

    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners LLC (Marc Puntus)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • WMLP Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (David Hillman, Kristine Manoukian, Lucy Kweskin, Kelly Knight) & (local) Jones Walker LLP (Joseph Bain, Mark Mintz)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc.

    • Administrative Agent under Bridge Loan & DIP Agreements: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP (Andrew Goldman, Benjamin Loveland) & (local) Okin Adams LLP (Matthew Okin, David Curry Jr.)

    • WMB Ad Hoc Group of Term Lenders

      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (Thomas Mayer, Stephen Zide)

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors

      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Todd Goren, Jennifer Marines, Dimitra Doufekias) & (local) Cole Schotz PC (Michael Warner, Felice Yudkin, Nicholas Brannick, Benjamin Wallen)

    • United States Trustee

      • Legal: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP (M. Natasha Labovitz, Erica Weisgerber) & (local) Zach Clement PLLC

New Chapter 11 Filing - Neighbors Legacy Holdings Inc.

Neighbors Legacy Holdings Inc.

7/12/18

Look! Some healthcare distress. 

Neighbors Legacy Holdings Inc., an operator of 22 freestanding emergency centers throughout the state of Texas filed for bankruptcy on July 12, 2018. The company blames its filing on "financial difficulties caused in large part by increased competition, less favorable insurance payor conditions, declining revenues, and disproportionate overhead costs as compared to their operational income." In other words, its owners did too much too fast, taking on too much debt to expand too rapidly in a space that requires significant upfront capital investment in exchange for a 12-18 month lag in cash flow generation. Initiate death spiral. 

The company's financial numbers look brutal. Per the First Day Declaration:

"...the Debtors’ consolidated EBITDA dropped from $49 million in 2015, to $45 million in 2016, to $10.3 million in 2017. This drop has been caused, in part, by the increased competition in the industry, which has led to lower patient volumes per Emergency Center. For the Emergency Centers opened prior to 2016, the average claims per day fell from approximately 13 in the first quarter of 2017 to approximately 10 currently. For Emergency Centers opened during 2016, there continues to be, on average, fewer than 10 claims per day. This marked reduction in patient volume led to a strain at previously profitable locations and underperformance at new locations."

The company, therefore, has been engaged in a game of whack-a-mole, trying to plug leakages in the enterprise in order to survive. The company had to close several unprofitable locations and abandon planned (but never opened) locations. It also took down SG&A, all the while alienating relationships with critical parties like landlords, vendors and doctors. You know, like, critical cogs in a medical service machine. 

On the bright side, the company does have a stalking horse bidder in tow. Altus Health Systems OPCO LLC and Altus Health System Realty LLC are the staking horse bidder for Houston assets. The company will utilize the "breathing spell" provided by the filing to conduct an auction and attempt to maximize the value of the assets in a competitive process. 

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)
  • Capital Structure: $30mm RCF & $120mm term loan (KeyBank National Association)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, Genevieve Graham)
    • CRO/Financial Advisor: CohnReznick LLP (Chad Sandler)
    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc. 
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Lender: KeyBank National Association
      • Legal: Reed Smith LLP (Lloyd Kim, Matthew Tashman)

New Chapter 22 Filing - Geokinetics Inc.

Geokinetics Inc.

6/25/18

Just when we thought companies had mysteriously figured out how to stay out of bankruptcy court, alas, a filing!

And just when we thought oil and gas-related distress had ridden off into the proverbial Texan sunset, in walks Houston-based geophysical services provider Geokinetics Inc. into the Southern District of Texas with a plan to sell substantially all of its assets to (one-time bankruptcy candidate) SAE Exploration Inc. for $20mm. Looks like the oil and gas downturn still has some appetite for prey. And it must be tasty prey: this is the second time in four years that this company is in bankruptcy. #Scarlet22. Indeed, this company is so good at bankruptcy that, the first time, it emerged from chapter 11 a full year before it even confirmed its plan!! From paragraph 24 of the First Day Declaration:

"On March 10, 2014, GOK and certain affiliated subsidiaries confirmed a prepackaged chapter 11 plan of reorganization in the District of Delaware. Pursuant to the Plan, GOK equitized over $300 million of debt and paid off its revolving credit facility. On May 10, 2013, GOK and certain affiliated subsidiaries emerged from chapter 11."

And we thought Westworld had mind-bending timelines. Whoops. 

The company blames the prolonged downturn and certain discreet "operational difficulties" that resulted in uncollectable receivables for its bankruptcy. Wanting to jump ship as the iceberg approached, Wells Fargo sought to minimize its exposure but the company and its bankers, Moelis, weren't able to find a suitable secured loan facility to refinance its revolving loan. So Moelis toggled to "strategic alternatives" mode which, seemingly, included dumping this turd on unsuspecting public equity investors as the company -- under the guidance of Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson -- filed a confidential S-1 under the JOBS Act. Sounds a lot like Domo Inc. Or Tintri Inc., for that matter. #HailMary

Obviously the company didn't IPO. Instead, it continued to bleed cash. Ascribe Capital replaced Wells Fargo and funded bridge loans for some time until they were no longer willing to perform triage. The company and its advisors stepped on the gas, lined up the stalking horse bidder, and secured interest in a $15mm DIP credit facility -- from Whitebox Advisors and Highbridge Capital, two funds that are stakeholders in the stalking horse bidder -- and filed for bankruptcy. The proceeds of the DIP will be used, in part, to pay off Ascribe's bridge loans. 

Meanwhile, remember that IPO? It seems the company thought that that was a gigantic waste of time: among the top creditors are Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP and Moelis & Co. ($MO). Savage. 

  • Jurisdiction: S.D of Texas (Judge Jones)
  • Capital Structure: $15.6mm Term Loan A (Ascribe Capital, Wilmington Trust), $6.8mm RCF (Ascribe Capital, Wilmington Trust)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Porter & Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Joshua Wolfshohl, Aaron Power)
    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. 
    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. 
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ascribe Investments LLC
      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Michael Torkin, Bryce Friedman, Randi Lynn Veenstra, Megan Tweed, Sandeep Qusba, Yun Joo Lim) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Charles Beckham Jr., Martha Wyrick)
    • SAExploration Inc.
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Sarah Link Schultz, Eric Seitz)
    • DIP Lenders: Whitebox Advisors LLC, Highbridge Capital Management LLC
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Andreas Andromalos, Steven Levine, Jeffrey Jonas, Robert Stark, Kimberly Cohen)

Updated 6/26 6:54 PT

New Chapter 11 Filing - iHeartMedia Inc.

iHeartMedia Inc.

3/14/18

iHeartMedia Inc., a leading global media company specializing in radio, outdoor, mobile, social, live media, on-demand entertainment and more, has filed for bankruptcy -- finally succumbing to its $20 billion of debt ($16 billion funded) and $1.4 billion of cash interest in 2017. WOWSERS. The company purports to have "an agreement in principle with the majority of [its] creditors and [its] financial sponsors that reflects widespread support across the capital structure for a comprehensive plan to restructure...$10 billion..." of debt.

The company notes $3.6 billion of revenue and unparalleled monthly reach ((we'll have more to say about this in this Sunday's Members-only newsletter (3/18/18) - this claim deserves an asterisk)). 

Still, as it also notes, the company faces significant headwinds. It states in its First Day Declaration,

"Among other factors, the global economic downturn that began in 2008 resulted in a decline in advertising and marketing spending by the Debtors’ customers, which resulted in a corresponding decline in advertising revenues across the Debtors’ business. Then, as the economy recovered, the Debtors’ industry faced new and intense competition from the rapidly-growing internet and digital advertising industry and the entry of on-demand streaming services, both of which siphoned off the share of advertiser revenues allocated by agencies and brands to broadcast radio. The Debtors have taken various operational steps to stem the negative effect of these trends; among other initiatives, the Debtors have successfully developed emerging platforms including its industry-leading iHeartRadio digital platform and nationally-recognized iHeartRadio-branded live events that are audio and video streamed and televised nationwide."

The company ought to expect these trends to continue.

Large creditors include Cumulus Media Inc. (~$5.6 million...yikes) and Spotify (~$2 million).  

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas
  • Capital Structure:    
Screen Shot 2018-03-15 at 2.28.26 PM.png

 

  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Anup Sathy, Brian Wolfe, William Guerrieri, Christopher Marcus, Stephen Hackney, Richard U.S. Howell, Benjamin Rhode, AnnElyse Gibbons) & Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh, Jennifer Wertz)
    • Financial Advisor to the Company: Moelis & Co. 
      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (Caroline Reckler, Matthew Warren)
    • Restructuring Advisor to the Company: Alvarez & Marsal LLC
    • Legal for the Independent Directors: Munger Tolles & Olson LLP (Kevin Allred, Seth Goldman, Thomas Walper, John Spiegel)
    • Financial Advisor to the Independent Directors: Perella Weinberg Partners LP
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Large Equity Holders: Bain Capital & Thomas H. Lee Partners
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Christopher Lopez, Gabriel Morgan)
    • Potential Buyer: Liberty Media Corporation & Sirius XM Holdings Inc.
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Stephen Karotkin, Ray Schrock, Alfredo Perez)
    • Successor Trustee for the 6.875% '18 Senior Notes and 7.25% '27 Senior Notes: Wilmington Savings Fund Society, FSB
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (Thomas Lauria, Jason Zakia, Erin Rosenberg, J. Christopher Shore, Harrison Denman, Michele Meises, Mark Franke, Michael Garza) & Pryor Cashman LLP (Seth Lieberman, Patrick Sibley, Matthew Silverman) & (local) Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP (Robin Russell, Timothy A. Davidson II, Ashley Harper)
    • Successor Trustee for the 11.25% '21 Priority Guaranty Notes
      • Legal: Kelley Drye & Warren LLP (Eric Wilson, Benjamin Feder, Kristin Elliott)
    • Successor Trustee for the 14.00% Senior Notes due 2021
      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright (US) LLP (Jason Boland, Christy Rivera, Marian Baldwin Fuerst)
    • Term Loan/PGN Group
      • Legal: Jones Day (Thomas Howley, Bruce Bennett, Joshua Mester)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Term Loan Lenders
      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Michael Messersmith, Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll, Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski) 
    • TPG Specialty Lending Inc.
      • Legal: Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP (Adam Harris, David Hillman, James Bentley) & (local) Jones Walker LLP (Joseph Bain, Laura Ashley) 
    • Special Committees of the Board of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc.
      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Matthew Feldman, Paul Shalhoub, Christopher Koenig, Jennifer Jay Hardy)
    • Ad Hoc Committee of 14% Senior Noteholders of iHeart Communications
      • Legal: Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP (Robert Klyman, Matt Williams, Keith Martorana, Matthew Porcelli) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Aaron Power, Samuel Spiers)
    • 9.00% Priority Guarantee Notes due 2019 Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Jayme Goldstein, Daniel Fliman, Brian Wells) & (local) Haynes and Boone, LLP (Charles Beckham Jr., Martha Wyrick, Kelsey Zottnick)
    • Citibank N.A.
      • Legal: Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP (Joel Levitin, Richard Stieglitz Jr.) & (local) Locke Lord LLP (Berry Spears)
    • Delaware Trust Company
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Benjamin Finestone, K. John Shaffer, Monica Tarazi, Victor Noskov)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin, Naomi Moss, Charles Gibbs, Marty Brimmage)

Updated 3/30/18

New Chapter 11 Filing - Fieldwood Energy LLC

Fieldwood Energy LLC

  • 2/15/18 Recap: Riverstone Holdings (12% owned by Goldman Sachs) attempted to keep Fieldwood Energy LLC out of bankruptcy back in the beginning of the oil & gas collapse but, alas, it appears the capital structure was too hefty to manage in a continued depressed oil and gas market. Today, the company filed a prepackaged plan of reorganization to slice its debt virtually in half (from $3.26b to $1.6b), implement a $525mm rights offering (use of proceeds = purchase Noble Energy's Gulf of Mexico assets), and secure a $60mm DIP credit facility. Existing RBL lenders will be paid in cash in full; first lien lenders will receive a $1.14b FILO TL and cash; holders of the prepetition FILO facility will receive a share of $518mm second lien term loan and cash; and the second lien lenders and Riverstone will receive 20.25% of the new equity plus rights to purchase the remainder via the rights offering. Translation: Riverstone will still own a significant percentage of this company. More to come...
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Jones)
  • Capital Structure: $3.26b debt     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Stephen Karotkin, Ray Schrock, Matthew Barr, Alfredo Perez, Jessica Liou, Daniel Gwen, Patrick Steel)
    • Financial Advisor: Opportune LLP
    • Investment Banker: Evercore Group LLC (David Ying)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Reserves-Based Lending Facility Agent: Citibank NA
      • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Jennifer Hardy, Ana Alfonso, Debra McElligott)
    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Term Loan Lenders
      • Legal: O'Melveny & Myers LLP (George Davis, David Johnson, Evie Whiting and Daniel Shamah) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh, Kristhy Peguero, Jennifer Wertz)
    • Prepetition Agent of the Second Lien Term Loan Facility: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian S. Schaible, Darren S. Klein, Natasha Tsiouris) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Henry Flores, Kenric Kattner, Kourtney Lyda)
    • Noble Energy, Inc.
      • Legal: Bracewell LLP (William A. Wood III) 
    • Apache Corporation
      • Legal: Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP (Robin Russell)
    • PE Sponsor
      • Riverstone V FW Holdings Sub LLC
        • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (David Meyer, Jessica Peet)

Updated 4/2/18 (case confirmed)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - EXCO Resources Inc.

EXCO Resources Inc.

  • 1/15/18 Recap: Dallas-based oil and gas exploration and production company filed for bankruptcy with no plan, no buyer, and a $250mm DIP credit facility in hand from the likes of Fairfax Financial Holdings LimitedBluescape Resources Company LLC, and JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. ($JPM). The company intends to use bankruptcy to try and find a strategic buyer. Shockingly, it doesn't have a stalking horse bidder, all-the-more-surprising because this bankruptcy filing has been anticipated for a year, if not more. W.L Ross & Co. LLC, the former firm of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (#MAGA!!), and Oaktree Capital Management Funds ($OAK) are two large equityholders with holdings of 12.5% and 8.29%, respectively. Companies in EXCO's list of top unsecured creditors is a who's who lineup of once-stressed, distressed, or bankrupt companies, including Azure Midstream, Goodrich Petroleum ($GDP), Chesapeake Energy ($CHK), Stallion Oilfield Services, Nuverra Environmental Solutions, and Light Tower Rentals, among others. At the time of this writing, the company hasn't completed its first day filing but do we even need to read the papers to understand why this company with $1.3 billion of total debt is in bankruptcy court? RIght, probably not. 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)
  • Capital Structure: $1.35b of debt including $131.5mm 7.5% '18 Senior Notes (Wilmington Savings Fund Society), $70.1mm 8.5% '22 Senior Notes (Wilmington Savings Fund Society). 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Patrick Nash, Christopher Greco, Alexandra Schwarzman, Stephen Hackney, Ryan Moorman) & (local) Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP (Marcus Helt)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (John Stuart)
    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners (Steven Zelin, Michael O'Hara, Adam Schlesinger, Zachary Rigoni, Keith Lord, Jeremey Woodard, Scott Meyerson, Gregory Nelson, Emmanuel Recachinas, Aaron Brenner, Tony Yang, Jennifer Wang)
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Lender: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA
      • Legal: Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett LLP (Nicholas Baker, Sandeep Qusba) & (local) Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (Louis Strubeck, Kristian Gluck, Ryan Manns)
    • DIP Lender: Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited
      • Legal: Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP (Andrew Glenn, Eric Taube, Adam Shiff, Emily Kuznick, Shai Schmidt)
    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
      • Legal: Seward & Kissel LLP (John Ashmead, Robert Gayda, Catherine LoTempio)
    • Cross Sound Management
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP (Benjamin Finestone, K. John Shaffer) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)
    • Gen IV Investment Opportunities LLC and VEGA Asset Partners LLC
      • Legal: White & Case LLP (Thomas Lauria, Michael Shepherd) & (local) Gray Reed & McGraw (Jason Brookner)
    • Bluescape Resources Company LLC
      • Legal: Bracewell LLP (Kurt Mayr, David Lawton, Jason Cohen)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Kenneth Aulet, Sigmund Wissner-Gross, Gerard Cicero, Steven Levine) & (local) Jackson Walker LLP (Patricia Tomasco, Matthew Cavenaugh)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Andrew Scruton)
      • Investment Bank: Intrepid Partners LLC (Matthew Hart)

Updated 4/1/18 at 12:13 CT

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - A'GACI LLC

A'GACI LLC

  • 1/9/17 Recap: Texas-based fast-fashion retailer of women's apparel and accessories filed for bankruptcy because, well, retail retail retail. Happy New Year, everyone! The company's "target demographic is confident women who are comfortable with their appearance and enjoy showcasing their look." Hmmm. From that description, we would have expected graphics of models that aren't just a size 0 (see below), but we digress. The 76-store company specializes in clearance pricing discounts to ship merchandise quickly and innovate with the trends; it did $136.2mm of gross sales in the fiscal period ended 11/25. 9.4% of that was e-commerce. The company blames its bankruptcy filing on (i) "unsuccessful brick and mortar expansion efforts," (ii) the move to online shopping, (iii) difficulty with merchandising and inventory management, and (iv) weather. On that last point, 24 stores were at least temporarily closed due to hurricanes in '17 (in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, with two stores in PR still closed), resulting in a $7.2mm EBITDA hit for the year. The company pursued a number of operational initiatives pre-petition including rent-concession negotiations with landlords. The landlords apparently wouldn't play ball. Now twelve of them will see their leases rejected: the company has already vacated the premises effective 1/8. And a liquidation agent has been hired. In total, "at least 49 underperforming brick and mortar store locations" may be closed.  Contemporaneously with the lease review and liquidation process, the company will attempt a refinancing or sale of the company while enjoying the "breathing spell" afforded by bankruptcy. The company intends to use cash collateral to finance the case.    
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of Texas 
  • Capital Structure: $10mm '18 RCF (JPMorgan Chase Bank NA), $4.265mm TL (Bank of America NA)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Haynes and Boone LLP (Ian Peck, David Staab)
    • Financial Advisor: Berkeley Research Group LLC
    • Investment Banker: SSG Advisors LLC 
    • Real Estate Agent: A&G Realty Partners LLC
    • Liquidation Agent: Gordon Brothers Retail Partners LLC
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Cobalt International Energy Inc. ($CIE)

Cobalt International Energy Inc.

  • 12/13/17 Recap: Houston-based publicly-traded ($CIE) deepwater exploration and production company operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and offshore Angola and Gabon in West Africa has filed for bankruptcy. The company blames "a failed sale of Cobalt’s Angolan assets and the related litigation, the prolonged downturn in the exploration and production industry, and nearly $3.0 billion of funded indebtedness" for its filing. The company seeks a sale in bankruptcy. Other than the failed 2016 Angolan transaction, this story is pretty similar to other E&P bankruptcies we've seen in the past. Upshot: offshore exploration is expensive and with oil in the high 50s (a relatively high number), the economics aren't there to support the capital structure. 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)
  • Capital Structure: $500mm '21 first lien notes (Wilmington Trust NA), $934.7mm '23 second lien notes (Wilmington Trust NA), $619.2mm '19 2.625% unsecured notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA), 3.125% $786.9mm '24 unsecured notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Marc Kieselstein, Chad Husnick, Brad Weiland, Laura Krucks, Gabor Balassa, Stacy Pepper) & (local) Zach A. Clement PLLC (Zach Clement)
    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Group of First Lien Notes
      • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matt Barr)
    • Ad Hoc Group of Second Lien Notes
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (James Savin)
    • First Lien Indenture
      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP (Andrew Goldman)
    • Significant Equityholders: First Reserve GP XI Inc., The Carlyle Group, Riverstone Holdings LLC, Paulson & Co., Hotchkis and Wiley Capital Management LLC

New Chapter 11 Filing - Think Finance LLC

Think Finance LLC

  • 10/23/17 Recap: Here, Fort Worth Texas-based Think Finance LLC, "a leading provider of financial technology services" (think online consumer lending) alleges that Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC, through an affiliate, prevented said affiliate from paying tens of millions of dollars for services Think rendered. This sparked a cascade of horribles as the company then didn't have money to make payroll, had to lay people off, and then, in turn, incurred severance payables. Insert adversary proceeding between the company and Victory Park Capital here. It doesn't help that the company is the defendant in a variety of other lawsuits that it needs funding for. Indeed, the Wall Street Journal highlights that the company is the subject of a variety of "predatory lending" suits. Sounds like a dramatic bankruptcy. Popping popcorn.
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Hale)
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Hunton & Williams LLP (Gregory Hesse, Tyler Brown, Jason Harbour)
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC
    • Claims Agent: American Legal Claims Services LLC
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Victory Park Capital Advisors LLC
      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Ryan Blaine Bennett, Justin Bernbrock)

Updated 10/26/17