New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - The Walking Company Holdings Inc.

The Walking Company Holdings Inc.

3/8/18 Recap: Another retailer - this time a repeat offender - will be walking into bankruptcy court (see what we did there?). Here, the California-based once-publicly-traded ($WALK) manufacturer of footwear like Birkenstock and ASICS has filed for bankruptcy with a plan on file and an equity sponsor in tow to the tune of $10mm. 

This is a story of staggered disruption. In the first instance, the company expanded via acquisition and grew from 2005-2008 to over 200 stores. To fund the expansion, the company issued $18.5mm of convertible notes and transferred the proceeds of the liquidation of its Big Dog entity to The Walking Company, the use of proceeds including the buildout of omni-channel distribution and vertical integration. But,

As a result of many factors including- among them, challenging negotiations with landlords which did not provide the Debtors with the rent relief they believe they needed, and the state of the national economy, by late 2008 TWC found that nearly 100 of the newer stores it opened during this expansion period were not generating the sales and profits expected.

Moreover, 

...by 2008, Big Dogs' business had collapsed more rapidly than the Debtors had anticipated. Big Dogs was in the business of selling moderately priced, casual apparel through a chain of specialty retail stores (Big Dogs stores) located around the country. The rapid growth of big-box, mass-market retailers during this period put great pricing pressure on retailers of moderately priced, casual apparel, putting many of them out of business.

Walmart ($WMT). Target ($TGT). Just say it broheims. Never understand the reluctance in these filings. Anyway, the upshot of all of this? Once the Great Recession hit, mall traffic fell off a cliff, revenue declines accelerated, landlords proved obstinate, and the company filed for bankruptcy in December 2009. 

In bankruptcy, the company reached accommodations with certain landlords and received a $10mm capital infusion from Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors LP. 

Subsequent to the bankruptcy, the company apparently thrived from 2013 through 2017. It had a better rent structure, it ceased expansion, and it focused on successful brands (e.g., ABEO) and the wholesaling and international licensing thereof. But then the realities of e-commerce struck. Per the company,

During this period, however, the increasing power of Internet retailers made traditional business of retail stores selling products manufactured by others increasingly difficult, and it also had an increasingly negative impact on customer traffic in shopping malls. 

Indeed, Deckers Outdoor Corporation ($DECK)(the manufacturer of UGG footwear) terminated its relationship with the company. The company couldn't replace those lost sales fast enough - through third party or private label sales - and the dominos started to fall. The company sought rent concessions and landlords, for the most part, told it to pound sand. Holiday sales declined. Appraisers reduced the valuation of inventory and, in turn, the company had diminished access to its bank credit line. Cue the Scarlet 22.

The company intends to use the bankruptcy to obtain "substantial rent relief by conforming their lease portfolio to market rents." Notably, two of the initial 5 leases that the company seeks to reject in the first instance are Simon Property Group locations in Dallas and Oklahoma City and one Taubman location. Other creditors appear to be your standard retail slate: Chinese manufacturers, trade vendors (ECCO, Rockport) and other landlords (General Growth Properties is a prominent one with locations listed as 9 of the top 30 creditors). 

The company otherwise has agreement with its large shareholders (including another $10mm equity infusion) and Wells Fargo to provide DIP and exit credit. 

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware 
  • Capital Structure: $40.3mm RCF & $7.25mm TL (Wells Fargo Bank NA), $11.74mm 8.375% '19 convertible notes    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Jeffrey N Pomerantz, Jeffrey W Dulberg, Victoria A Newmark, James E ONeill) 
    • Financial Advisor: Consensus Advisors LLC
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent, DIP Term Agent, Prepetition Senior Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Choate Hall & Stewart LLP (Kevin Simard) & (local) Womble Bond Dickinston (Matthew Ward)
    • Prepetition Subordinated Noteholders (Simon Property Group, Galleria Mall Investors LP)
      • Legal: Irell & Manella LLP (Jeffrey Reisner)

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Maurice Sporting Goods Inc.

Maurice Sporting Goods Inc.

  • 11/20/17 Recap: Another retailer with a deep legacy in this country has filed for bankruptcy. The plan is to sell to Middleton Management Company LLC, which has entered into a letter of intent with the company. We bet its for a fire sale price. But, first, let's take a step back: here, an Illinois-based manufacturer and distributor of 60,000 SKUs of outdoor sporting goods (fishing products, terminal tackle products, shooting sports accessories, etc.) has filed for bankruptcy, potentially leaving its relationship with its single largest customer, Walmart ($WMT), in limbo. The company blamed its debt (some of which was taken on to fund an acquisition spree from 2004-2011), a cost-overrun investment in a new state-of-the-art combined distribution center, the general retail environment, and dominoes. Wait, what? Dominoes? From the First Day Declaration, "The Debtors have also faced losses as a result of the recent bankruptcies of several retailers, including The Sports Authority, MC Sports (also known as Michigan Sporting Goods Distributors), Gander Mountain and Sport Chalet, and a generally challenging retail environment." We'd start the funeral dirge for sporting goods, generally, but earlier this week Hibbett Sports Inc. ($HIBB) reported earnings and surprised to the upside. Today, alone, the stock was up 13.74%. And Dick's Sporting Goods Inc. ($DKS) was up 1%. So have no fear kids: there are still gonna be physical places where you can check out some tackle products and, gulp, maybe shooting sports accessories...??
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $45mm debt (BMO Harris)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Robert Brady, Michael Nestor, Justin Rucki, Ashley Jacobs, Tara Pakrouh)
    • Financial Advisor: Portage Point Partners
    • Investment Banker: Livingstone Partners
    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • BMO Harris
      • Legal: Vedder Price PC (Douglas Lipke) & (local) Pepper Hamilton LLP (David Stratton)

Updated 11/23/17

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy & CCAA - Toys "R" Us Inc.

Toys "R" Us Inc.

  • 9/19/17 Recap: So. Much. To. Unpack. Here. We've previously discussed the run-up to this massive chapter 11 bankruptcy filing here and here. Still, suffice it to say that, unlike many of the other retailers that have predictably filed for bankruptcy thus far in 2017, this one was different. This one seemingly came out of nowhere - particularly given the proximity to the holiday shopping season. Before we note what this case is, lets briefly cover what it isn't and clear the noise that is pervasive on the likes of Twitter: this is NOT "RIP" Toys "R" Us. We don't get overly sentimental usually but the papers filed with the bankruptcy court were well-written and touching: this is a store, a brand, that means a lot to a lot of people. And it's not going anywhere (the company will have its challenges to assure people that this is the case). This is a financial restructuring not a liquidation: the company simply hasn't been able to evolve while paying $400mm in annual interest expense on over $5b of private equity infused debt. Plain and simple. Yes, there are other challenges (blah blah blah, Amazon), but with that debt overhang, it appears the company hasn't been able to confront them (PETITION side note: an ill-conceived deal with Amazon 18 years ago is mind-blowing when viewed from the perspective of Amazon's long game). With this filing, the company is signaling that the time for short term band-aids to address its capital structure is over. Now, "[t]he time for change, and reinvestment in operations, has come." Decisive. Management isn't messing around anymore. With a reduction in debt, the company will be unshackled and able to focus on "general upkeep and the condition of...stores, [its] inability to provide expedited shipping options, and [its] lack of a subscription-based delivery service." Indeed, the company intends to use a $3.1b debtor-in-possession credit facility to begin investing in modernization immediately.
  • Interesting Facts:
    • Toy Manufacturers: Mattel ($MAT)(approx $136mm), Hasbro ($HAB) (approx $59mm) & Lego (approx $31.5mm) are among the top general unsecured creditors of the company. Mattel and Hasbro's stock traded down quite a bit yesterday on the rampant news of this filing. Query whether any of the $325mm of requested critical vendor money will apply to these companies.
    • The Power of the Media (read: NOT "fake news"): This CNBC piece helped push the company into bankruptcy. Bankruptcy professionals were retained in July (or earlier in the case of Lazard) to pursue capital structure solutions. In August the company engaged with some of its lenders. But then "...a news story published on September 6, 2017, reporting that the Debtors were considering a chapter 11 filing, started a dangerous game of dominos: within a week of its publication, nearly 40 percent of the Company’s domestic and international product vendors refused to ship product without cash on delivery, cash in advance, or, in some cases, payment of all outstanding obligations. Further, many of the credit insurers and factoring parties that support critical Toys “R” Us vendors withdrew support. Given the Company’s historic average of 60-day trade terms, payment of cash on delivery would require the Debtors to immediately obtain a significant amount—over $1.0 billion—of new liquidity." 
    • Revenue. The company generates 40% of its annual revenue during the holiday season.
    • Footprint. The company has approximately 1,697 stores and 257 licensed stores in 38 countries, plus additional e-commerce sites in various countries. The company has been shedding burdensome above-market leases and combining its Babies and Toys shops under one roof; it intends to continue its review of its real estate portfolio. Read: there WILL be store closures.
    • Eff the Competition. Toys has some choice words for its competition embedded in its bankruptcy papers; it accuses Walmart ($WMT) and Target ($TGT)(the "big box retailers") of slashing prices on toys and using toys as a loss leader to get bodies in doors; it further notes that "retailers such as Amazon are not concerned with making a profit at this juncture, rendering their pricing model impossible to compete with..." ($AMZN). Yikes. 
    • Experiential Retail. The company intends to invest in the "shopping experience" which will include (i) interactive spaces with rooms to use for parties, (ii) live product demonstrations put on by trained employees, and (iii) the freedom for employees to remove product from boxes to let kids play with the latest toys. And...wait for it...AUGMENTED REALITY. Boom. Toysrus.ar and Toysrus.ai here we come. 
  • Jurisdiction: E.D. of Virginia (Judge Phillips)
  • Capital Structure: see below     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Jamie Sprayragen, Anup Sathy, Edward Sassower, Chad Husnick, Joshua Sussberg, Robert Britton, Emily Geier) & (local) Kutak Rock LLP (Michael A. Condyles, 
      Peter J. Barrett, Jeremy S. Williams) & (Canadian counsel) Goodmans LLP
    • Legal to the Independent Board of Directors: Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP
    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Jeffrey Stegenga, Jonathan Goulding, Tom Behnke, Cari Turner, Jim Grover, Arjun Lal, Doug Lewandowski, Bobby Hoernschemeyer, Scott Safron, Kara Harmon, Nick Cherry, Adam Fialkowski)
    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co., LLC (David Kurtz)
    • Real Estate Consultant: A&G Realty Partners LLC (Andrew Graiser)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • Communications Consultant: Joele Frank Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher
  • Other Parties in Interest:
  • ABL/FILO DIP Admin Agent: JPMorgan Chase Bank NA
    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Marshall Heubner, Brian Resnick, Eli Vonnegut, Veerle Roovers) & (local) Hunton & Williams LLP (Tyler Brown, Henry (Toby) Long III, Justin Paget)
  • DIP Admin Agent (Toys DE Inc). NexBank SSB & Ad Hoc Group of B-4 Lenders (Angelo Gordon & Co LP; Franklin Mutual Advisors LLC, HPS Investment Partners LLC, Marathon Asset Management LP, Redwood Capital Management LLC, Roystone Capital Management LP, and Solus Alternative Asset Management LP)
    • Legal: Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz (Joshua Feltman, Emil Kleinhaus, Neil Chatani) & (local) McGuireWoods LLP (Dion Hayes, Sarah Bohm, Douglas Foley)
  • Ad Hoc Group of Taj Noteholders.
    • Legal: Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP (Brian Hermann, Samuel Lovett, Kellie Cairns) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP (Christopher Jones, Jennifer Wuebker)
  • Steering Committee of B-2 and B-3 Lenders (American Money Management, Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Ellington Management Group LLC, First Trust Advisors L.P., MJX Asset Management LLC, Pacific Coast Bankers Bank, Par-Four Investment Management LLC, Sound Point Capital Management, Taconic Capital Advisors LP).
    • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Michael Messersmith, D. Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll, Rosa Evergreen)
  • 12% ’21 Senior Secured Notes Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust, National Association.
    • Legal: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (Todd Meyers, David Posner, Gianfranco Finizio) & (local) ThompsonMcMullan PC (David Ruby, William Prince IV)
  • Bank of America NA
      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Paul Leake, Shana Elberg, George Howard) & (local) Troutman Sanders LLP (Jonathan Hauser)
    • Private Equity Sponsors: Bain Capital Private Equity LP, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P. ($KKR), and Vornado Realty Trust ($VNO)
  • Large Creditor: Mattel Inc.
    • Legal: Jones Day (Richard Wynne, Erin Brady, Aaron Gober-Sims) & (local) Michael Wilson PLC (Michael Wilson)
  • Large Creditor: LEGO Systems Inc.
    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Matthew Barr, Kelly DiBlasi) & (local) Walcott Rivers Gates (Cullen Speckhart)
  • Large Creditor: American Greetings Corporation.
    • Legal: Baker & Hosteler LLP (Benjamin Irwin, Eric Goodman)
  • Creditor: River Birch Capital
    • Legal: Andrews Kurth & Kenyon LLP (Paul Silverstein)
  • Creditor: Owl Creek Asset Management
    • Legal: Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP (Samantha Martin)
  • TRU Trust 2016-TOYS, Commercial Mortgage Pass-Through Certificates, Series 2016-TOYS acting through Wells Fargo Bank NA
    • Legal: Dechert LLP (Allan Brilliant, Brian Greer, Stephen Wolpert, Humzah Soofi) & (local) Troutman Sanders LLP (Jonathan Hauser)
  • Trustee: Tru Taj DIP Notes (Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB)
    • Legal: Porter Hedges LLP (Eric English) & (local) Spotts Fain PC (James Donaldson)
  • Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Mattel Inc., Evenflo Company Inc., Simon Property Group, Euler Hermes North America Insurance Co., Veritiv Operating Company, Huffy Corporation, KIMCO Realty, The Bank of New York Mellon, LEGO Systems Inc.)
First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

Updated 10/5/17 11:40 am

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - WYNIT Distribution LLC

WYNIT Distribution LLC

  • 9/8/17 Recap: Minnesota-based technology wholesaler filed for bankruptcy to pursue a sale process. The company seeks approval of a $15mm DIP credit facility to finance the cases. Major customers include Best Buy, Amazon, Costco, Walmart and Target. Fitbit and Symantec are listed among the companies largest creditors. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Minnesota
  • Capital Structure: $76.7mm RCF (Wells Fargo)    
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Stinson Leonard Street LLP (Robert Kugler, Edwin Caldie, Phillip Ashfield, Andrew Glasnovich)
    • Financial Advisor: Conway MacKenzie Inc. (Peter A. Richichi)
    • Claims Agent: JND Corporate Restructuring (click on the case name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition Lender/DIP Lender: Wells Fargo
      • Legal: Greenberg Traurig LLP (David Kurzweil, John Dyer, DeWitt Perkins) & (local) Lindquist & Vennum LLP (Charles Perkins)
    • Prepetition Creditor: Fitbit Inc.
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Arik Preiss, Deborah Newman, Kevin Zuzolo) & (local) Maslon LLP (Clark Whitmore, Jason Reed)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Jeffrey Cohen) & (local) Barnes & Thornburg LLP (Connie Lahn)

Updated 9/21/17

New Chapter 11 Filing - Portrait Innovations Inc.

Portrait Innovations Inc.

  • 9/1/17 Recap: Remember professional portrait studios? Yeah, we don't either. Mostly because we haven't stepped foot in a mixed-use commercial location or traditional retail park since we got linked up to the internet 20 years ago. And that is predominantly where you'd find a Portrait Innovations studio: there are 119 of them in 31 states (including 3 studios in Walmart Supercenters). You know the story by now: with a significant decline of brick-and-mortar retail visitors comes decreased revenue...blah blah blah, bankruptcy. Here, management attempted to stave off the inevitable by negotiating rent forgiveness, closing underperforming locations (63, to be exact), and pursuing the positive, i.e., more Walmart studios. In the absence of flex by the landlords, management lacked the capital, however, to accomplish these goals. The bankruptcy filing is meant to effectuate a sale of the equity to a buyer and further reconcile leases. The company has secured a stalking horse bid from prepetition creditor, CapitalSouth Partners, and a $5mm DIP credit facility to fund the cases. 
  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of North Carolina (Judge Whitley)
  • Capital Structure: $15mm senior secured debt (CapitalSouth Partners SBIC Fund III LP)     
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Rayburn Cooper & Durham PA (John Miller Jr., Paul Baynard, Benjamin Shook)
    • Investment Banker: Piper Jaffray & Co.
    • Real Estate Advisor: Hilco Real Estate LLC
    • Claims Agent: Rust Consulting/Omni Bankruptcy (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Secured Creditor/DIP Lender/Bidder: CapitalSouth Partners SBIC Fund III LP
      • Legal: K&L Gates LLP (Charles A. Dale III, Aaron Rothman, Margaret Westbrook)

Updated 9/18/17 5:15 pm CT