August 30, 2019
Philadelphia-based RAIT Financial Trust ($RASF) and six debtor affiliates filed for bankruptcy just before the long holiday weekend on a petition and a petition only (might as well let the professionals enjoy the weekend…the stay is in effect!). The company, an internally-managed REIT focused on managing a portfolio of $1.5b worth of CRE assets, loans and properties will be sold to Fortress Investment Group LLC in bankruptcy pursuant to section 363 of the bankruptcy code, subject to any higher or better offers. Fortress has agreed to pay $174.4mm (subject to adjustments and excluding the assumption of certain liabilities).
The debtors are in the business of providing debt financing to owners of multi-family apartment buildings, office buildings, light-industrial properties and neighborhood retail centers in the US. Except, like, they’re kinda not. In early February ‘18, the debtors ceased underwriting new loans and sold a portion of its real estate and loan portfolio. Why? To bolster liquidity. Why? Per the company:
As a result of the 2008-2009 financial crisis, ongoing market conditions, and other factors, RAIT incurred approximately $1.468 billion in losses between 2008 and 2018 through mortgage write-offs, asset write-downs, and losses on the sale of assets.
In case you can’t tell, that’s pretty effing bad. Consequently, the debtors have been in a state of perpetual restructuring AND marketing going as far back as Q3 ‘17. Regarding the former, the debtors, in addition to suspending its origination business and selling off its property portfolio, actively repurchased or repaid debt, sold loans, sold its property management business, down-sized management and laid off employees, terminated dividends (reminder: this is a REIT, so this is obviously NO BUENO), and engaged restructuring professionals. With respect to the latter, the debtors’ ‘17-’18 sale process failed, only to be reinitiated in the second half of 2018. Fortress Credit Advisors submitted a winning bid in January 2019.
Wait. You’re not crazy. It IS September. So, why did it take so long to file the bankruptcy to consummate the sale? It took a month and a half to a term sheet done and then another “six months of extensive due diligence.” We can only imagine the fun those analysts had digging into one loan after another.
In the end, this seems like a good result for stakeholders. Fortress adds to its extensive and growing portfolio and the holders of the 7.125% Senior Notes, the holders of the 7.625% Senior Notes, and all administrative, priority and general unsecured claims, will, thanks also in part to an RSA with the junior subordinated notes, receive payment in full, in cash of their allowed claims.
Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Shannon)
Capital Structure: $66.5mm 7.125% senior unsecured notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $56.3mm 7.625% senior unsecured notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $25.2mm junior subordinated note guaranty (The Bank of New York Mellon), $18.6mm ‘35 subordinated Taberna junior note (Wells Fargo Bank NA)
Legal: Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Patrick Jackson, Michael Pompeo, Brian Morgan)
Financial Advisor: M-III Partners LP (Brian Griffith)
Investment Banker: UBS Securities LLC
Claims Agent: Epiq Corporate Restructuring LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest:
Stalking Horse Purchaser: Fortress Credit Advisors LLC/Fortress Investment Group LLC (aka CF RFP Holdings LLC)
Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Elizabeth Taveras, Daniel Ginsberg) & Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Matthew Lunn, Robert Poppitti Jr.)
Updated #1, 9/1/19 1:49 CT