News for the Week of 12/18/16

  • Distressed Debt. More focus lately on Africa and the Middle East. Meanwhile, New Jersey is issuing transportation debt directly to state pension funds, cutting out middlemen in the issuance and driving down issuance costs. 
  • Hertz. Despite Carl Icahn's best efforts, this company has shown nothing but decline in the face of Uber and Lyft stealing revenue from the consumer-facing rental car business.
  • Renewable Energy. Wind and natural gas are on the rise in the United States: there's no holding it back. Interestingly, Statoil announced this week that it - like many others - is abandoning the Canadian oil sands to the tune of a $500mm impairment; meanwhile, Statoil paid $42.4mm for a lease to develop a wind farm 79k acres southeast of New York City. There were 33 rounds of bidding: the longest auction the agency has ever had for offshore wind. Earlier this week the wind farm offshore of Rhode Island went on-line.
  • Shenanigans. JCrew transferred its IP to a Cayman subsidiary triggering significant downward trending term loan activity; IHeartMedia elected not to pay $57mm of senior notes due to an affiliate upon maturity which may or may not be a CDS credit event; Cumulus Media launched a lawsuit against JPMorgan for allegedly unreasonably withholding consent to a proposed refinancing transaction that would significantly delever its balance sheet. 
  • Takata. The airbag recall keeps spreading - now to McLaren, Ferrari and Tesla. Chances are the company is looking on at the General Motors situation with great interest.
  • Twinkies. An interesting summary of the company's history - including stints in bankruptcy.
  • Fast Forward: Forbes Energy Services' fifth forbearance expires on 12/23, Stone Energy's equity committee hearing is 12/21, and CHC Group Limited may get its PSA ruling from Judge Houser this week.
  • Rewind I: Neiman Marcus reported dog-sh*t numbers this past week blaming a strong US dollar and general retail headwinds for a widened $23.5mm loss. Headwinds persist for retailers: here are top trends affecting retail go-forward.
  • Rewind II: For-Profit Education. The US FTC announced a $100mm settlement with DeVry University, capping a BRUTAL two years for for-profit education. Some highlights: ITT Technical Institute already shut down earlier in the year, the infamous Trump University recently settled a suit for $25mm, and last year Education Management Corporation paid a $95.5mm settlement and Corinthian Colleges filed for bankruptcy.
  • Rewind III: We discussed Amazon Go last week. Here are some more takes on the technology.
  • Chart of the Week

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