Q1 '18 Preliminary Review (Part 4: Case Administration Agents)

Prime Clerk LLC is a Monopoly of the Duopoly

In parts one (Legal), two (Investment Bankers - Members’ only) and three (Financial Advisors - Members’ only) of our ‘18 “Preliminary Review,” we noted that Q1 was dominated by Kirkland & Ellis LLPWeil Gotshal & Manges LLPEvercorePJT Partners, and Alvarez & Marsal North America LLC. As we looked at the statistics, however, it has become abundantly clear that the success shared by those firms in gobbling up large company-side cases is nothing compared to another industry player that, we’ve come to realize, is the epitome of company-side domination. Introducing Prime Clerk LLC.

Now this is an impressive case roster: Cenveo Inc.iHeartMedia Inc.Fieldwood Energy LLCClaire’s Stores Inc.Southeastern GrocersFirstEnergy Solutions. And that is just in Q1. Last year the firm was involved in Toys R Us Inc.Takata Inc.Puerto RicoSeadrill Ltd.,Avaya Inc., The Gymboree Corporation and Payless Holdings LLC to name just a small sampling. With the exception of Puerto Rico and First Energy, Weil or Kirkland is at the helm for every single one of the above cases. In other words, as much as Kirkland and Weil have dominated debtor market share, Prime Clerk has dominated Kirkland and Weil. And that is apparently not just a Q1 phenomenon. Already in Q2, Kirkland and Prime Clerk have been working together on EV Energy and Nine West Holding. We’re too time-constrained to dig back into 2017 or before, but something tells us that we’d start seeing a longer-dated pattern here. No wonder The Carlyle Group sank its claws into this case administrator: it is a practical monopoly of a duopoly.