'16 Q4 in Review

'16 Q4 in Review

Hopefully the industry can coast through the end of 2016 sans any emergency bankruptcy filings that destroy people's holidays. Last year, Swift Energy set the tone for 2016 with a New Year's Eve filing: we're sure the good folks at Jones Day LLP enjoyed the heck out of that. 

This past quarter saw a significant amount of activity among the usual sectors:

  • Consumer Products/Retail (Gracious Home, Roust Corporation, American Apparel, Jo-Jo Holdings Inc., Nasty Gal, Garden Fresh, Cosi)
  • Exploration & Production/Oil Field Services (Stone Energy, Northstar Energy, Erickson Inc., Shoreline Energy, Enquest, Basic Energy, American Gilsonite, Key Energy, Tervita, Connect Transport)
  • Metals & Mining (Optima Steel, Emeco, Rubicon)
  • Power (Illinois Power, La Paloma)
  • Telecom/Media/Technology (Violin Memory, Scout Media, Choxi.com, Limitless Mobile, DirectBuy Holdings, Implant Sciences, Filip Technologies)

We spent much of the quarter focused on the food and retail space, whether it was addressing the implications of Amazon Go, the increasingly crowded and commoditized grocer space, noting the disaster that is the Chapter 22 filing of American Apparel, or querying (pre-election) whether progressive policies were destroying restaurants. We also discussed, in the wake of the Paragon Offshore decision, whether the industry has a feasibility problem and got some community feedback as to what the election of Donald Trump means for the industry. In other words, we've been busy.

Most professionals seem to think that many of the aforementioned industries will see continued distress in 2017 - with a number of previously-deemed potential 2017 hot spots having recovered nicely from the Trump bump, i.e., for-profit education, for-profit prisons, biotech/pharma, defense...to name a few. And many expect most of the same questions and themes we've covered to continue to be relevant. Time will tell. 

The following firms killed it in the fourth quarter and hereby win PETITION's first ever quarterly kudos:

  • Legal (tied):
    • Latham & Watkins LLP (Optima Steel, Stone Energy, Illinois Power, Key Energy, Tervita)
    • Weil (Violin Memory, DirectBuy, Performance Sports Group, Basic Energy, American Gilsonite). Weil was the subject of a feature piece a few weeks back.
  • Financial Advisor/Investment Banker:
    • Houlihan Lokey (Violin Memory, Roust Corporation, American Apparel, Erickston Inc., Catalyst Paper, Emeco, American Gilsonite, Key Energy, Tervita Corporation, Connect Transport)
  • Claims Agent:
    • Prime Clerk (Northstar Offshore Group, Violin Memory Inc., Gracious Home LLC, DirectBuy Holdings Inc., Shoreline Energy LLC, American Apparel LLC, Transtar Holdings Company, Channel Technologies Group LLC, Performance Sports Group)

We'll be sure to watch closely for what 2017 has in store for us. We suspect more pain in the oil field services space, a post-holiday crush of (brick-and-mortar) retail spirits, and more advanced technological disruption of incumbent companies (and failure of "tech" companies). The same firms are likely to be just as busy in 2017 as they were in 2016. The only real mystery is who will be on the receiving end of Judge Jones' next big dress down...? 

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Most importantly, PETITION wishes you a happy, healthy and safe new year. PETITION is out until 2017. Peace.