September 15, 2019
GCX Limited and 15 affiliated debtors filed a prepackaged bankruptcy this week in pursuit of a dual-track restructuring that will, either through a debt-for-equity swap or a sale, extinguish over $150mm of debt. In the swap scenario, the company will hand the keys over to senior secured noteholders; in the sale scenario, the noteholders will gladly take their cash payout and get the f*ck out of dodge. Either way, the company will be under new ownership with a significantly deleveraged capital structure. Certain consenting senior secured noteholders will provide $54.5mm in DIP financing.
The debtors are a global data communications provider; they operate one of the world’s largest fiber networks (PETITION Note: we’re old enough to remember when fiber was the future!). They provide undersea and terrestrial cables and landing stations and provide managed network services all across the globe. In English, this means they help power, among other things, major telecomms companies and streaming media.
Unfortunately, the debtors have declining revenues. Among other reasons for that sad state of affairs, the debtors cite (i) newly developed and planned cable systems along the debtors’ existing and planned network routes, (ii) financial distress at the parent level, (iii) ongoing disputes with banks that have applied setoff rights against the debtors’ cash, and (iv) high fixed costs and less certain recurring revenue due to clients newfound refusal to enter into long-term arrangements. For all of these reasons, the debtors have been unable to refinance their senior secured notes and the notes matured on July 31. Obviously — considering this thing is now in bankruptcy court — the debtors’ issues prevented them from paying off the debt as it became due. Instead, the debtors have operated under a forbearance agreement since July, during which time it formulated its go-forward plan and solicited the support, via a restructuring support agreement, of a meaningful amount of senior unsecured noteholders. The forbearance expired on the filing date.
Now the bankers, Lazard & Co., will have their work cut out for them. The debtors hope to run an expedited sales process (though, in the bankers’ favor is the fact that the pool of interested parties for assets like these is likely limited) and conduct an auction within 42 days of the filing. Absent that, the debtors will proceed with the debt-for-equity swap with an eye towards confirmation within 75 days and going effective before the end of the year (subject to requisite regulatory approvals, i.e., FCC and CFIUS).
Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)
Capital Structure: $365.8mm 7% ‘19 senior secured notes (The Bank of New York Mellon)
Legal: Paul Hastings LLP (Chris Dickerson, Brendan Gage, Robert Dixon Jr., Todd Schwartz) & Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (M. Blake Cleary, Jaime Luton Chapman)
Board of Directors: Rodney Riley, Donald Mallon, Alan Carr
Financial Advisor/CRO: FTI Consulting Inc. (Michael Katzenstein, Don Harer)
Investment Banker: Lazard & Co. (Ken Ziman)
Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)
Other Parties in Interest:
Wilmington Trust NA
Legal: Duane Morris LLP (Christopher Winter, Jarret Hitchings)
Ad Hoc Group of Senior Secured Noteholders
Legal: White & Case LLP (Brian Pfeiffer, William Guerrieri, Varoon Sachdev) & Farnan LLP (Brian Farnan, Michael Farnan)