New Chapter 11 Filing - Hexion Holdings LLC

Hexion Holdings LLC

April 1, 2019

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

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

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

This is what that capital structure looks like:

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: AlixPartners LLP

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

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

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

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

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • Ad Hoc Group of 1.5 Lien Noteholders

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

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

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

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

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

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

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

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

    • Sponsor: Apollo

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

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

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

Updated:

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - LBI Media Inc.

LBI Media Inc.

November 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Lane)

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

  • Company Professionals:

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

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

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

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

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

    • First Lien Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

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

    • Collateral Trustee for First Lien Notes: Credit Suisse AG

      • Legal: Locke Lorde LLP (Juliane Dziobak)

    • Ad Hoc Group of (Junior) Second Lien Noteholders

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

    • Ad Hoc Group of Holdco Noteholders

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

Updated 11/21/18 at 8:27 CT

🔥New Chapter 11 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 - R.E. Gas Development LLC (a/k/a Rex Energy)

R.E. Gas Development LLC

5/18/18

Pennsylvania-based R.E. Gas Development LLC and its affiliates are independent publicly-traded ($REXX) oil and gas companies operating in the Appalachian Basin with a focus on drilling and exploration activity in the Marcellus Shale, Utica Shale and Upper Devonian Shale, mostly throughout Western Pennsylvania. Like most other exploration and production companies that have found their way in bankruptcy court over the last several years, the sudden steep decline in crude oil and nat gas prices that began in 2014 significantly affected the company's liquidity and ability to manage its balance sheet. After all, this company isn't operating in the Permian. Revenues for 2017 were $205.3 million. 

After months and months of foreplay, the company enters bankruptcy court with a restructuring support agreement ("RSA") in tow: it provides for a dual path pursuant to which the company will, in agreement with its secured lenders, pursue a sale of substantially all assets or, in the absence of qualified bids, pursue a plan process pursuant to which the first lien lenders (i.e., Angelo Gordon) will swap (DIP) debt for equity in the reorganized company. The RSA purportedly has the support of 100% of the first lien lenders and 71.8% of the outstanding second lien notes.

To fund the company throughout the dual process, the company seeks a $411 million DIP credit facility, the proceeds of which will be used to (i) roll up $261 million of prepetition loans and (ii) settle the "makewhole provision" under the first lien credit agreement to the tune of $50 million. The makewhole was put into place at the time of the issuance of the first lien loan just short of a year ago.  For the uninitiated, the makewhole entitles the lender to certain economics in the event the lenders are "repaid in whole or in part prior to the maturity date or the outstanding indebtedness under the facility is accelerated for any reason." The economics are calculated "based on the sum of remaining interest payments and certain fees due on all loans for the remainder of the make whole period, which terminates on October 28, 2019." In other words, Angelo Gordon structured this to give themselves the utmost economics in the (highly likely) case of an event of default and eventual bankruptcy. Solid planning on their part -- assuming, in particular, that the assets fetch a purchase price that will clear the first lien debt and makewhole amount. Respect. 

So, lo and behold, there was an event of default called in February for failure to deliver quarterly financial statements (which led to other defaults as well). In April, the lenders, after a short forbearance period, issued a notice of acceleration. Cha ching! Makewhole!!

The DIP credit agreement imposes fairly expedited -- but not wholly unreasonable (relative to other recent cases) -- timing on the company, including closing of any sale or confirmation of a plan 170 days after the filing date. 

  • Jurisdiction: W.D. of Pennsylvania (Judge Deller)
  • Capital Structure: see below.
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Jones Day (Scott Greenberg, Tom Howley, Michael Cohen, Anna Kordas, Rachel Biblo Block) & (local) Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney PC (James Newell, Timothy Palmer, Tyler Dischinger)
    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Albert Conly)
    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners (Alexander Tracy)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition First Lien Admin Agent: Angelo Gordon Energy Servicer
      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Michael Torkin) & (local) Duane Morris LLP
      • Financial Advisor: PJT Partners
    • Informal Group of 1%/8% Senior Secured Second Lien Notes due 2020 of Rex Energy Corporation
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Michael Stamer, Meredith Lahaie, Stephen Kuhn, Kevin Zuzolo) and (local) Reed Smith LLP (Eric Schaffer, Maura McIntyre)
      • Financial Advisor: Stephens Inc.
    • Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Jonathan Levine, Daniel Harris) & (local) Reed Smith LLP (Eric Schaffer, Maura McIntyre)
    • BOKF, National Association
      • Legal: Arent Fox LLP (Andrew Silfen, George Angelich, Jordana Renert) & (local) Federic Dorwart, Lawyers PLLC (Samuel Ory)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Chelsea Mullarney, Sigmund Wissner-Gross, Brian Rice, Steven Pohl, Andrew Carty, Bennett Silverberg, Chelsea Mullarney, Emily Koruda, Justin Cunningham) & (local) Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl LLC (Patrick Carothers, David Lampl, John Steiner)
      • Financial Advisor: Conway MacKenzie Inc. (John Young Jr.)
Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

New Chapter 11 Filing - FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. 

March 31, 2018

#MAGA!!

FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. ("FES"), the wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly-traded (non-debtor) FirstEnergy Corp. has filed a "freefall" bankruptcy in the Northern District of Ohio. FES is a provider of "unregulated"-yet-regulated energy-related products and services to retail and wholesale customers primarily in Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It owns and operates (a) fossil generating facilities (read: coal) in Ohio (three) and Philadelphia (one) through its FirstEnergy Generation subsidiary ("FG") and, (b) 3 nuclear generating facilities (two in Ohio and one in Philadelphia)through its FirstEnergy Nuclear Generation LLC ("NG") subsidiary. 

For those of you who aren't power geeks - and we confess that we are not - this filing gives a pretty solid primer on how United States' power production and distribution works. Or doesn't work - depending on your point of view, we suppose. We summarize some high points here but if you're especially nerdy and want to understand the power industry better, read docket number 55. You can find it via the case name link above. 

A big piece of this bankruptcy filing is the debtors' retail electricity business. Retail sellers of electricity are subject to state-applied "Renewable Portfolio Standards" ("RPS") that requires sellers to obtain a certain percentage or amount of its power supply from renewable energy sources. One way to comply is through the purchase of renewable energy credits ("RECs"). Historically, FES has obtained RECs to comply with the RPS via eight power purchase agreements entered into between 2003-2011 with various wind and solar power producers. But apparently things have changed considerably since then. And FES no longer wants the RECs. 

What's changed? Now FES's actual and projected sales are much lower. Per the company in more detail: 

"The main drivers to the collapse in prices include:
• Lower natural gas prices due to continued improvements in natural gas fracking;
• Excess generating capacity due in part to lower than expected load growth;
• Lower cost of construction for renewable technologies, and/or improved performance (e.g., higher capacity factors); and
• Surplus of RECs."

Also, future market prices and outlook for power and RECs are projected materially lower. RPS mandates are less demanding (#MAGA!!). And the supply of RECs is significantly greater. Said another way: energy disruption. From frackers pushing a rapid expansion in nat gas supplies which, in turn, caused plummeting electricity prices and reduced profits. From regulation and the rise of renewables. From energy efficient electronics. 

Per the company, "While the PPAs made sense to FES at the time they were entered into, a dramatic downturn in the energy market and prices of RECs now renders these contracts extremely burdensome and uneconomic to FES." They're also, according to the debtor, unnecessary: FES is phasing out its retail business and, today, expects to sell less than half of the amount of power this year that it sold in 2013. Consequently, FES seeks to reject those PPAs in bankruptcy.

Which is not the only PPA it seeks to reject. The debtor also seeks to shed its multi-party intercompany PPA pursuant to which it and several other power companies purchase power generated via fossil fuel from the Ohio Valley Electric Corporation ("OVEC"). The debtor alleges that this obligation is priced at above-market rates. And because FES sells very little wholesale power emanating out of the OVEC PPA, it stands to lose approximately $268 million from the deal. Yikes. 

The issue, though, is whether the rejection of the nine PPAs will cause disruption to the continued supply of wholesale electricity or impact the reliability of the transmission grid in the regional transmission organization that governs FES and FG. That generally means YOUR electricity - if you live in the Northeast. Naturally, the debtor argues it won't. The federal government may think otherwise. And this is precisely why the company filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") to prevent the feds from hindering -- on the basis of the Federal Power Act -- the company's attempts to reject the PPAs under the federal bankruptcy code. FERC regulates the wholesale power market. It is also why the company has filed a request for assistance from Rick Perry, President Trump's Energy Secretary. This is some real dramatic sh*t folks: a conflict between federal statutes with efforts for executive branch intervention. Someone dial up Daniel Day-Lewis and bring him out of retirement: this could be the next "Lincoln." 

So, in a nutshell: the company filed for bankruptcy because it needs to leverage the bankruptcy code's debtor-friendly provisions to shed some burdensome contracts - including the PPAs. It also needs to address its cost structure, its over-levered balance sheet (in terms of interest payments and near-term maturities), and lease payments under certain sale-leaseback arrangements related to one of its power facilities. Said another way, this is a full-stop restructuring: both operational and financial in nature. There is a "Process Support Agreement" with various parties in interest which reflects a good faith commitment to cooperate on first day motions, implementation of employee retention and severance programs, and establishing a protocol for the disposition of company assets. Sounds great but it doesn't really promise any certainty given the various claims and regulatory issues. Buckle your seat belts. 

Some additional things of note:

  • "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!" (Long Don Corleone). Ironically in the week that Westinghouse Electric Corp. emerged out of its own bankruptcy proceeding, it may now find itself back in bankruptcy court for purposes of adjudicating its $2.36 million trade claim.
  • Coal (#MAGA!!). A first order of business is the debtor is seeking to reject its coal transportation agreements with BNSF Railway Company ((owned by Berkshire Hathaway ($BRK.A)) and Norfolk Southern Railway Company ($NSC). Why? It expects to order 200,000 tons of coal less than the 2.5 million tons of coal minimum requirement delineated in the contract. The debtor claims that rejection of the contract will save it $105.6 million over the next 12 months as it replaces rail with barge transportation. 
  • Commodities. The company also seeks to reject certain uranium supply contracts because (i) it already has enough uranium inventory for the rest of 2018 and 2019, (ii) the spot price for uranium has dropped precipitously since entering into the agreements (from $36 and $48 per pound, respectively, to $22 per pound), and (iii) there is "ample supply of uranium available in the market." 
  • Professional Retentions: Two law firms represent the Ad Hoc Group of Holders of the 6.85% Pass Through Certificates due 2034 because George Davis departed O'Melveny & Myers LLP for Latham & Watkins LLP. 
 
  • Jurisdiction: N.D. of Ohio (Judge Koschik)
  • Capital Structure: $3.8 billion funded debt     
    • FES

      • $700 million secured revolving credit facility, ~$332 million of '21 6.05% unsecured notes; (c) ~$363 million of '39 6.80% unsecured notes; and (d) $150 million revolving credit note with Allegheny Energy Supply Company, LLC under which $102 million is currently outstanding and is due on April 2, 2018. 

    • FG

      • ~$328 million of secured fixed-rate pollution control revenue notes ("PCNs"); ~$677 million of unsecured fixed-rate PCNs

    • NG

      • ~$285 million of secured PCNs; ~$842 million of unsecured PCNs

  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Lisa Beckerman, Brad Kahn, Scott Alberino, Kate Doorley, David Applebaum, Todd Brecher, Sean O'Donnell, Rachel Presa, Brian Carney, Abid Qureshi, Joseph Sorkin, David Zensky) & (local) Brouse McDowell LPA (Marc Merklin, Kate Bradley, Bridget Franklin) & (conflicts) Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (Charles Moore)
    • Investment Banker: Lazard Ltd. 
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name for docket)
    • Special Nuclear Regulatory Counsel: Hogan Lovells US LLP
    • Industry Consultants: ICF International Inc.
    • Special Litigation Counsel: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
    • Tax Consultant: KPMG US LLP
    • Communications Consultant: Sitrick and Company
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Board of Directors of FirstEnergy Corp. 
      • Legal: Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP (Stephen Lerner, Peter Morrison, Julia Furlong)
    • Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
      • Legal: KIlpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (Todd Meyers, Michael Langford) & (local) McDonald Hopkins LLC (Michael Kaczka, Scott Opincar, Maria Carr)
    • Indenture Trustee: Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.
    • Indenture Trustee to PCNs: UMB Bank, National Association
    • Ad Hoc Group of Holders of the 6.85% Pass Through Certificates due 2034
      • Legal: O'Melveny & Myers LLP & Latham & Watkins LLP
      • Financial Advisor: Guggenheim Partners LLC
    • Ad Hoc Group of Holders of PCNs issued by FG and NG
      • Legal: Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP 
      • Financial Advisor: GLC Advisors & Co.
    • Contract Counterparty: BNSF Railway Company
      • Legal: Whitmer & Eherman LLC (Mary Whitmer, James Ehrman, Robert Stefancin)
    • Non-debtor Parent: FirstEnergy Corp.
      • Legal: Jones Day (Heather Lennox, Thomas Wilson)

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 Bankruptcy - Cenveo Inc.

Cenveo Inc.

  • 2/2/18 Recap: Publicly-traded ($CVO) large envelope and label manufacturer with roots tracing back 100 years filed for bankruptcy. Interestingly, you, our treasured PETITION readers, probably interact with Cenveo's products in your day-to-day life. Cenveo prints comic books you can buy at the bookstore, produces specialized envelopes used by JPMorgan Chase Bank ($JPM) and American Express ($AMEX) to deliver credit card statements, and manufactures point of sale roll receipts used in cash registers and prescription labels found on medication at national pharmacies. Why did it file for bankruptcy? Disruption. And debt. The company notes that its filing was necessary to tame its burdensome funded debt and corresponding annual $99.4mm debt payments (inclusive of cash and "principle" payments). In light of its leverage, the company apparently also suffered from other pressures on the business, including restrictive trade terms and/or the departure of business from vendors. But, wait! There's more. And its textbook disruption. Per the company, "In addition to Cenveo’s leverage issues, macroeconomic factors, including the introduction of new e-commerce, digital substitution for products, and other technologies, are transforming the industry. Consumers increasingly use the internet and other electronic media to purchase goods and services, pay bills, and obtain electronic versions of printed materials. Moreover, advertisers increasingly use the internet and other electronic media for targeted campaigns directed at specific consumer segments rather than mail campaigns." Ouch. To put it simply, every single time you opt-in for an electronic bank statement, you're f*cking over Cenveo. More from the company, "As society has become increasingly dependent on digital technology products such as laptops, smartphones, and tablet computers, spending on advertising and magazine circulation has eroded, resulting in an overall decline in the demand for paper products, and in-turn lowering reliance on certain of Cenveo’s print marketing business. In addition, there is generally a decline in supply of paper products in the industry, such that only a handful of paper mills control the majority of the paper supply. As a result, paper mills and other vendors that sell paper products have a large amount of leverage over their customers, including Cenveo. The overall decline in the paper industry combined with the diminished supply in paper products has led to overall decline in the industry, dramatically impacting Cenveo’s revenues." Consequently, the company has spent years trying to streamline operations and cut costs: it is not entirely clear from the company's filing, but this disruption clearly led to the "downsizing [of] its workforce," a reduction in its geographic footprint, and asset dispositions. But, ultimately, earnings couldn't manage the balance sheet. The company engaged its various parties in interest and was able to secure a (shaky?) restructuring support agreement and a commitment of financing in the amount of a $190 million ABL DIP Facility provided by the Prepetition ABL Lenders and a new $100 million DIP Term Facility backstopped by more than a majority of the holders of First Lien Notes. It will need to address its underfunded pensions (approximately $92.9mm). 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York 
  • Capital Structure: see below.
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Jayme Sprayragen, Jonathan Henes, Joshua Sussberg, Michael Slade, Gregory Pesce, Melissa Koss, George Klidonas, Natasha Hwangpo)
    • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC (Eric Koza)
    • Investment Banker: Rothschild Inc. (Neil Augustine, Dan Skolds, Matthew Chou, Philip Engel, Daniel Flanary, Thomas Galluccio, Trip Burke, Farhat Suvhanov)
    • Real Estate Consultants: VanRock Real Estate Consulting LLC
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
    • New Independent Director: Eugene Davis
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Prepetition ABL Agent; $190mm ABL DIP Facility Agent: Bank of America NA
    • $100mm DIP Term Facility Agent: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
    • FILO Notes Trustee/First Lien Notes Trustee/Second Lien Notes Trustee/Unsecured Notes Trustee: Bank of New York Mellon
      • Legal: Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP (Joseph Schwartz, Curtis Plaza, Tara Schellhorn)
    • FILO Noteholder: Allianz GI US High Yield Fund
    • First Lien and Second Lien Noteholder: Brigade Capital Management, LP
      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Michael Stamer, David Zensky, Stephanie Lindemuth, James Savin, Kevin Eide)
    • Ad Hoc Committee of First Lien Noteholders
      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Brett Lawrence, Erez Gilad, Matthew Garofalo, Gabriel Sasson)
      • Financial Advisor: Ducera Partners LLC
    • Examiner: Susheel Kirplani
      • Legal: Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Kenneth Rosen, Mary Seymour, Bruce Buechler, Bruce Nathan)
      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Samuel Star)
Source: DIP Motion

Source: DIP Motion

Updated 4/2/18

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy - Walter Investment Management Corp.

Walter Investment Management Corp. 

  • 11/30/17 Recap: Mortgage banking firm focused primarily on the servicing and origination of loans, including forward and reverse loans, has filed a much-anticipated prepackaged bankruptcy with the intention of shedding nearly $800mm of debt from its balance sheet. The company originates "conventional conforming loans eligible for securitization by government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or eligible for guarantees by government agencies, such as Ginnie Mae MBSs." If that was painful reading, imagine how the lawyers felt drafting that. Even more painful is understanding that this bankruptcy is directly attributable to decisions the company made in the aftermath of the financial crisis. From 2010 through 2015, the company went on a debt-ridden acquisition spree (including once bankrupt Residential Capital LLC) which just goes to show that, while one's crisis is another's opportunity, one's crisis could be one's crisis. With this deleveraging transaction, the company hopes to be more competitive in the market going forward.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Garrity)

  • Capital Structure: $100mm '18 RCF, $1.4b '20 TL (Credit Suisse AG), $540mm 7.875% '21 senior unsecured notes (Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB), $242mm '19 senior subordinated convertible notes (Wells Fargo Bank NA)(public equity: $WAC)

  • Company Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Ray Schrock, Matthew Barr, Sunny Singh)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC (David Coles)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Reid Snellenbarger, Jeffrey Levine, Jeffrey Lewis, James Page, Daniel Martin, Derek Kuns)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Administrative Agent: Credit Suisse AG

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Michelle McGreal)

    • Consenting Term Lenders (Carlson Capital LP, TAO Fund LLC, Credit Suisse Asset Management LLC, Marathon Asset Management LP, Nuveen, Symphony Asset Management LLC, Eaton Vance Management)

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Patrick Nash, Gregory Pesce)

      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Consenting Senior Noteholders (Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, CQS UK LLP, Deer Park Road Management Company LP, Lion Point Capital LP, Oaktree Capital Management LP, Omega Advisors Inc.)

      • Legal: Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP (Dennis Dunne, Gregory Bray, Haig Maghakian, Rachel Franzoia)

      • Financial Advisor: Moelis & Co.

    • Prepetition Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB

      • Legal: Pryor Cashman LLP (Patrick Sibley, Seth Lieverman, Matthew Silverman)

    • Prepetition Convertible Notes Indenture Trustee: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Thompson Hine LLP (Curtis Tuggle)

    • Administrative Agent for DIP Warehouse Facilities: Credit Suisse First Boston Mortgage Capital LLC

      • Legal: Alston & Bird LLP (Gerard Catalanello, Karen Gelernt, James Vincequerra)

    • Fannie Mae

      • Legal: O'Melveny & Myers LLP (Darren Patrick, Steve Warren, Jennifer Taylor)

    • Freddie Mac

      • Legal: McKool Smith (Paul Moak, Kyle Lonergan)

First Day Declaration

First Day Declaration

Updated 11/30/17 10:05 CT

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 Filing - TerraVia Holdings Inc.

TerraVia Holdings Inc.

  • 8/1/17 Recap: TerraVia, a publicly-traded (Nasdaq: $TVIA) "next-generation" algae-based food company based out of San Francisco filed for bankruptcy. The company has a stalking horse bidder lined up to buy it for $20mm plus certain assumed liabilities and seeks to jam this case through bankruptcy in about 6 weeks lest it run out liquidity in the process (even with a proposed $10mm DIP); it claims that more time is unnecessary given that it ran a robust marketing process pre-filing that included outreach to over 100 parties. We'll let the company economics do the rest of the talking (see below).
  • Jurisdiction: (Judge Sontchi)
  • Capital Structure: $144.2mm 5% '19 convertible senior subordinated notes (GLAS Trust Company LLC) & $33.475mm 6% '18 convertible senior subordinated notes (Wilmington Trust)   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Steven Szanzer, Adam Shpeen, Benjamin Kaminetzky) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger P.A. (Mark Collins, Amanda Steele)
    • Financial Advisor: 
    • Investment Banker: Rothschild & Co. (Tero Janne)
    • Claims Agent: KCC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB & Ad Hoc Consortium of Holders of Convertible Senior Subordinated Debt (Gilead Capital LP, Higher Ground SICAV PLC Core Wealth Fund, Lazard Asset Management LLC, Passport Capital LLC, Wolverine Asset Management LLC, Zazove Associates LLC)
      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (Robert Stark, Steven Levine, Brian Rice, Kellie Fisher) & (local) Ashby & Geddes P.A. (William Bowden, Gregory Taylor, Katharina Earle)
      • Financial Advisor: GLC Advisors & Co. LLC
    • Passport Capital
      • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Joel Moss) & (local) Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP (Patrick Jackson)
    • 6% Notes Successor Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA
      • Legal: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP (Craig Barbarosh, Karen Dine, Jerry Hall) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo)
    • JV Partner: Bunge Global Innovation LLC
      • Legal: Jones Day (Joshua Morse)
    • Silicon Valley Bank
      • Legal: Troutman Sanders LLP (Harris Winsberg, Stephen Roach) & (local) Chipman Brown Cicero & Cole LLP (William Chipman Jr., Mark Olivere)
    • Corbion NV
      • Legal: Baker & McKenzie LLP (Debra Dandeneau, Frank Grese) & (local) Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLC (L. Katherine Good, Aaron Stulman)

Updated 8/26/17

First Day Declaration.

First Day Declaration.

New Chapter 11 Filing - Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc.

Nuverra Environmental Solutions Inc.

  • 5/1/17 Recap: Once publicly-traded Arizona-based environmental solutions provider (obviously) to oil and natural gas shale-oriented energy and exploration companies filed for chapter 11 to delever its balance sheet pursuant to a restructuring support agreement and prepackaged plan of reorganization agreed to by its major lenders. The company seeks approval of a $31.5mm DIP to fund the cases. The term lenders will receive equity, cash, and board seats, the '21 noteholders 99.75% of the reorganized equity and the '18 noteholders will get the remainder (subject to a rights offering post-confirmation and a management incentive plan...of course). And as you might expect, the equityholders stand to recover bupkis. 
  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware
  • Capital Structure: $24.6mm ABL (funded - Wells Fargo Bank NA), $80mm TL, $327mm 12.5%/10% '21 senior secured second lien notes, $40.4mm '18 9.875% unsecured senior notes (Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company NA, replaced by Wilmington Trust Savings Fund Society FSB) 
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Douglas Bartner, Fredric Sosnick, Sara Coelho, Stephen Blank) & (local) Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Pauline Morgan, Kenneth Enos, Jamie Luton Chapman)
    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLC (Robert Albergotti, Dan Kelsall)
    • Investment Banker: Lazard Middle Market LLC (Andrew Torgove)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk LLC (*click on company name above for free docket access)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • Ad Hoc Group of '21 Supporting Noteholders
      • Legal: Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP (Brad Scheler, Jennifer Rodburg, Carl Stapen) & Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones, Peter Keane)
    • RCF Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA
      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Dimitri Karcazes, Gary Zussman, Jacob Marshall) & (local) DLA Piper LLP (Stuart Brown, Daniel Brogan)
    • Trustee to '21 Senior Secured Second Lien Notes & TL Agent: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Jonathan Levine, James Newton) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo) 
    • Term Lenders: Ascribe Capital LLC, Gates Capital Management Inc.
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP (Todd Meyers, Paul Rosenblatt, Jonathan Polonsky, Michael Langford, Lindsey Simon) & (local) Landis Rath & Cobb LLP (Richard Cobb, Matthew McGuire, Travis Ferguson, Matthew Pierce)
      • Financial Advisor: Batuta Capital Advisors LLC (Alexandre Zyngier)

Updated 7/13/17 1:56 am CT

New Chapter 11 Filing - Avaya Inc.

Avaya Inc.

  • 1/19/17 Recap: Late in its transition from a hardware-based business model to a software model, Santa Clara California based communications services provider filed a freefall bankruptcy to address its $6b+ balance sheet and ~$1.45b of pension/OPEB liabilities with the help of a proposed $725mm DIP Facility. 
  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York
  • Capital Structure: $55mm domestic ABL credit facility (Citigroup USA Inc.), $3.235b prepetition cash flow credit facility (Citigroup USA Inc.), $1b 7% '19 first priority note, $290mm 9% '19 second priority note, $1.384b 10.5% '21 second priority notes (Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company N.A.).   
  • Company Professionals:
    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Jayme Sprayragen, Jonathan Henes, Patrick Nash, Ryan Preston Dahl, Bradley Giordano, Justin Bernbrock, Kan Asimacopoulos, Bern Meyer-Loewy, Carl Pickerill, Asif Attarwala, Ameneh Bordi, Robert Britton, Jeremy Evans, Natasha Hwangpo, Stephen Iacovo, George Klidonas, Christopher Kochman, Justin Mercurio)
    • Financial Advisor: Zolfo Cooper LLC (Eric Koza, Charlie Carnaval, Jesse DelConte, Denise Lorenzo, Conor McShane, Fred Jelks, Andrew Ralph, Adam Searles, Jeff Wooding, Howard Gou, Eugene Lavrov, Rohan Joseph, Chris Baydar)
    • Investment Banker: Centerview Partners (John Bosacco)
    • Claims Agent: Prime Clerk (*click on company name for docket)
  • Other Parties in Interest:
    • DIP Agent: Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Natasha Tsiouris, Aryeh Falk)
    • Ad Hoc First Lien Noteholders' Group (400 Capital Management LLC, Aegon USA Investment Management LLC, Alta Fundamental Advisors LLC, Anchorage Capital Group LLC, Apollo Management LP, Auburn Mesa LLC, Bain Capital Credit LP, Bank of America NA, Barclays Capital Inc., Benefit Street Partners LLC, Bennett Restructuring Fund Inc., Blackrock Financing Management Inc., Blackrock Advisors LLC, Blackrock Institutional Trust Company NA, BlueCrest Capital Management, Candlewood Group Investment Group LP, Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, Carlson Capital LP, Centerbridge Capital LP, Cetus Capital LLC, Columbia Management Investment Advisors LLC, Continental Casualty Company, CQS (US) LLC, Crescent Capital Group LP, CRG Financial LLC, Cyrus Capital Partners LP, Deutsche Bank AG Cayman Islands Branch, Driehaus Capital Management LLC, DW Catalyst Master Fund Ltd., Empyrean Investments LLC, Farallon Capital Partners LP, Farallon Capital Institutional Partners LP, Farallon Capital Institutional Partners V LP, Farallon Capital Institutional Partners II LP, Farallon Capital Offshore Investors II LP, Farallon Capital F5 Master I LP, Farallon Capital (AM) Investors LP, Farallon Capital Institutional Partners III LP, Noonday Offshore Inc., GLG LLC, Graham Capital Management, GSO Capital Partners LP, HG Vora Capital Management LLC, HPS Investment Partners LLC, Investcorp Credit Management US LLC, ISL Loan Trust, ISL Loan Trust II, J.H. Lane Partners LP, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, JP Morgan Investment Management LLC, Lord Abbett & Co. LLC, Mariner Glen Oaks LP, Medtronic Holding Switzerland GMBH, Merced Capital LP, Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith Inc., Midtown Acquisitions LP, MJX Asset Management LLC, Monarch Alternative Capital LP, Napier Park Global Capital, Newfleet Asset Management LLC, New Mexico State Investment Council, Nut Tree Capital Management LP, NYL Investors LLC, OZ Management LP, OZ Management II LP, OFI Global Asset Management Inc., Onex Credit Partners LLC, OSK V LLC, Par-Four Investment Management LLC, P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP, Putnam Investments, Redwood Capital Management LLC, Sentinel Dome Partners LLC, Shenkman Capital Management Inc., Silver Point Capital LP, Standard General LP, Taconic Capital Advisors LP, Talamod Asset Management LLC, Telos Asset Management LLC, THL Credit, Voya CLO, Wayzata Opportunities Fund III, Wayzata Opportunities Fund Offshore III LP, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Whitebox Advisors LLC, Wolverine Flagship Fund Trading Limited, Z Capital Credit Partners)
      • Legal: Akin Gump Straus Hauer & Feld LLP (Ira Dizengoff, Philip Dublin)
      • Financial Advisor: PJT Partners LP 
    • Ad Hoc Crossover Noteholders' Group (Alden Global Capital LLC, AllianceBernstein LP, Avenue Capital Management II LLP, Benefit Street Partners, Susquehanna Advisors Group Inc., Franklin Mutual Advisors LLC, Greenlight Capital Inc., Highland Capital Management LP, PGIM Inc., Symphony Asset Management LLC)
    • Updated Ad Hoc Crossover Noteholders' Group (Less: Benefit Street Partners)
      • Legal: Stroock Stroock & Lavan LLP (Kris Hansen, Sayan Bhattacharyya, Gabriel Sasson)
      • Financial Advisor: Rothschild
    • Communications Workers of America
      • Legal: Saul Ewing LLP (Sharon Levine)
    • Successor Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Savings Fund Society FSB
      • Legal: Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Doerr LLP (Andrew Goldman, Nancy Manzer)
    • First Lien Notes Trustee: Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company
      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Glenn Siegel, Joshua Dorchak, Rachel Jaffe Mauceri)
    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
      • Legal: Morrison & Foerster LLP (Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Todd Goren, Erica Richards, Benjamin Butterfield, Rahman Connelly, Andrew Kissner, James Newton)
      • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (David Miller, Byron Smyl, Marc Alms, Laureen Ryan, Rich Newman, Andrea Gonzalez, Hamish Allanson, Leslie Lambert, Vance Yudell, Jeff Gunsel, Steve Coverick)
      • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Leon Szlezinger)

Updated 5/31/17