⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Shale Support Global Holdings LLC⛽️

Shale Support Global Holdings LLC

July 11, 2019

When privately-owned companies that most people have never heard of file for bankruptcy, it naturally raises the following logical question: with oil and gas once again imploding, how many off-the-run companies are going to wind their way into bankruptcy court? 🤔 We reckon quite a number.

Shale Support Global Holdings LLC, a private Louisiana-based proppant supplier to oilfield servicing companies that, in turn, service E&P companies, filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas. The company and 7 affiliated debtors (the “Debtors”) have little by way of assets ($3.15mm) and much more by way of debt ($127.8mm). MOR Bison LLC and BBC Holding LLC own 69.24% and 29.67% of the company, respectively.

The company started in 2014 to solve the problem of expensive logistics costs emanating out of the transport of sand to frac sites. The company sought to vertically integrate the ownership of sand mines with, among other things, a drying facility and a transload facility; its mines are in Mississippi. Given what has occurred in oil and gas country since 2014, it seems abundantly clear that the timing here was just a bit off. “How off,” you ask? Per the Debtors:

Demand for frac sand is significantly influenced by the level of well completions by E&P and OFS companies, which depends largely on the current and anticipated profitability of developing oil and natural gas reserves. As such, Shale Support’s business is highly correlated with well completions, which is, in-turn, is dependent on both commodity prices and producers’ ability to deliver oil to the market. Over the past five years, commodity prices have been highly volatile resulting in an unpredictable demand curve and a significant amount of OFS and E&P bankruptcies. Compounding these demand issues, Shale Support operates in a highly-competitive industry that has seen a dramatic increase in supply. This new supply has come from basin-specific regional producers (that have dramatically lower logistic costs) as well as larger, often better-capitalized, competitors. Regional suppliers and Shale Support’s larger competitors are both in a position to exert significant, downward pressure on pricing for proppants.

Said another way, as off as humanly possible. With a supply/demand imbalance in 2H ‘18, the company saw revenue fall over 40% in 2018. 😬 This was in large part due to the fact that, despite falling proppants prices, the Debtors are locked in to fixed cost contracts with railcar transport providers. With this mix plus over $127mm in outstanding debt obligations, liquidity became an issue.

For over a year now, the Debtors have been in a state of perpetual marketing. Piper Jaffrey & Co., the Debtors’ banker, could not, however, locate a buyer. In the midst of discussions with potential strategic and financial buyers, the price of frac sand continued to fall. Per the Debtors:

Unsurprisingly, no party submitted an indicative expression of interest, a non-binding offer or a valuation of Shale Support. The stated justification from these parties centered around market conditions, location of the reserves, quality of sand, availability of buyer cash, and consistent underperformance of business relative to forecasts.

Efforts to refinance the debt were equally unsuccessful given the declining asset value upon which a new loan would be based. Ultimately, the Debtors defaulted under their prepetition term loan agreement and, over the course of multiple months of waivers, negotiated with their lenders with the hope of “building consensus around a de-leveraging transaction.” Spoiler alert: there’s no prepackaged plan on file here nor is there a bid procedures motion accompanied by a stalking horse asset purchase agreement so suffice it to say that whatever consensus there might be is limited to the commitment of a $16.6mm DIP credit facility. And that forces the issue: under the DIP milestones, the Debtors must confirm a plan of reorganization within 98 days. Will the lenders equitize? Given the astounding job the first day papers do of making the assets seem attractive, is there a chance in hell a buyer emerges? Stay tuned.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Jones)

  • Capital Structure: $116mm ‘21 10% cash/12% PIK Term Loan (including interest, etc.), $11.6mm ‘21 ABL (Siena)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Greenberg Traurig LLP (Shari Heyen, Karl Burrer, David Eastlake, Eric Howe)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Gary Barton)

    • Investment Banker: Piper Jaffray & Co. (Richard Shinder)

    • Claims Agent: Donlin Recano & Company Inc. (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition Term Loan & DIP Agent ($16.6mm): BSP Agency LLC (DIP Lenders: Providence Debt Fund III LP, Benefit Street Debt Fund IV LP, and Benefit Street Partners SMA LM LP).

      • Legal: Baker Botts LLP (Emanuel Grillo)

    • Prepetition Revolving Lender: Siena Lending Group LLC

      • Legal: Thompson Coburn LLP (David Warfield, Victor A. Des Laurier)

🏠New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Stearns Holdings LLC🏠

Stearns Holdings LLC

July 9, 2019

Hallelujah! Something is going on out in the world aside from the #retailapocalypse and distressed oil and gas. Here, Blackstone Capital Partners-owned Stearns Holdings LLC and six affiliated debtors (the “debtors”) have filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York because of…drumroll please…rising interest rates. That’s right: the FED has claimed a victim. Stephen Moore and Judy Shelton must be smirking their faces off.

The debtors are a private mortgage company in the business of originating residential mortgages; it is the 20th largest mortgage lender in the US, operating in 50 states. We’ll delve more deeply into the business model down below but, for now, suffice it to say that the debtors generate revenue by producing mortgages and then selling them to government-sponsored enterprises such as Ginnie Mae, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. There are a ton of steps that have to happen between origination and sale and, suffice it further to say, that requires a f*ck ton of debt to get done. That said, on a basic level, to originate loans, the debtors require favorable interest rates which, in turn, lower the cost of residential home purchases, and increases market demand and sales activity for homes.

Except, there’s been an itsy bitsy teeny weeny problem. Interest rates have been going up. Per the debtors:

The mortgage origination business is significantly impacted by interest rate trends. In mid-2016, the 10-year Treasury was 1.60%. Following the U.S. presidential election, it rose to a range of 2.30% to 2.45% and maintained that range throughout 2017. The 10-year Treasury rate increased to over 3.0% for most of 2018. The rise in rates during this time period reduced the overall size of the mortgage market, increasing competition and significantly reducing market revenues.

Said another way: mortgage rates are pegged off the 10-year treasury rate and rising rates chilled the housing market. With buyers running for the hills, originators can’t pump supply. Hence, diminished revenues. And diminished revenues are particularly problematic when you have high-interest debt with an impending maturity.

This is where the business model really comes into play. Here’s a diagram illustrating how this all works:

Source: First Day Declaration, PETITION

Source: First Day Declaration, PETITION

The warehouse lenders got nervous when, over the course of 2017/18, mortgage volumes declined while, at the same time, the debtors were obligated to pay down the senior secured notes; they, rightfully, grew concerned that the debtors wouldn’t have the liquidity available to repurchase the originated mortgages within the 30 day window. Consequently, the debtors engaged PIMCO in discussions about the pending maturity of the notes. Over a period of several months, however, those discussions proved unproductive.

The warehouse lenders grew skittish. Per the debtors:

Warehouse lenders began reducing advance rates, increasing required collateral accounts and increasing liquidity covenants, further contracting available working capital necessary to operate the business. Eventually, two of the warehouse lenders advised the Debtors that they were prepared to wind down their respective warehouse facilities unless the Debtors and PIMCO agreed in principle to a deleveraging transaction by June 7, 2019. That did not happen. As a result, one warehouse lender terminated its facility effective June 28, 2019 and a second advised that it will no longer allow new advances effective July 15, 2019. The Debtors feared that these actions would trigger other warehouse lenders to take similar actions, significantly impacting the Debtors’ ability to fund loans and restricting liquidity, thereby jeopardizing the Debtors’ ability to operate their franchise as a going concern.

On the precipice of disaster, the debtors offered the keys to PIMCO in exchange for forgiveness of the debt. PIMCO rebuffed them. Subsequently, Blackstone made PIMCO a cents-on-the-dollar cash-out offer on the basis that the offer would exceed liquidation value of the enterprise and PIMCO again declined. At this point there’s a lot of he said, she said about what was offered and reneged upon to the point that it ought to suffice merely to say that the debtors, Blackstone and PIMCO probably aren’t all sharing a Hamptons house together this summer.

So, where did they end up?

The debtors have filed a plan of reorganization with Blackstone as plan sponsor. Blackstone agreed to inject $60mm of new equity into the business — all of which, notably, is earmarked to cash out the notes in their entirety (clearly at at discount — read: below par — for PIMCO and the other noteholders). The debtors also propose to subject Blackstone’s offer to a 30-day competitive bidding process, provided that (a) bids are in cash (credit bids will not be allowed) and (b) all obligations to the GSEs and other investors are honored.

To fund the cases the debtors have obtained a commitment from Blackstone for $35mm in DIP financing. They also sourced proposals from warehouse lenders prepetition and have obtained commitments for $1.5b in warehouse financing from Barclays Bank PLC and Nomura Corporate Funding Americas LLC (guaranteed, on a limited basis, by Blackstone). In other words, Blackstone is ALL IN here: with the DIP financing, the limited guarantee and the equity check, they are placing a stake in the ground when it comes to mortgage origination.

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

  • Capital Structure: $184mm 9.375% ‘20 senior secured notes (Wilmington Trust Association NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Jay Goffman, Mark McDermott, Shana Elberg, Evan Hill, Edward Mahaney-Walter)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Robert Campagna)

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners LP (Jamie O’Connell)

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

    • Board of Directors: David Schneider, William Cary, Glenn Stearns, Nadim El Gabbani, Chinh Chu, Jason Roswig, Chris Mitchell

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust Association NA

      • Legal: Alston & Bird LLP (Jason Solomon)

    • Major Noteholder: Pacific Investment Management Company LLC

      • Legal: Hogan Lovells US LLP (Bennett Spiegel, Stacey Rosenberg)

    • Blackstone Capital Partners VI-NQ/NF LP

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Elisha Graff, Jamie Fell)

    • Barclays Bank PC

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Peter Partee Sr., Brian Clarke)

    • Nomura Corporate Funding Americas LLC

      • Legal: Milbank LLP (Mark Shinderman, Lauren Doyle) & Alston & Bird LLP (Karen Gelernt)

    • Fannie Mae

      • Legal: O’Melveny & Myers LLP (Stephen Warren)

    • Freddie Mac

      • Legal: McKool Smith PC (Paul Moak)

7/9/19 #30

🍤New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - RUI Holding Corp.🍤

RUI Holding Corp.

July 7, 2019

Back in October 2016, in the context of Sun Capital Partners’-owned Garden Fresh Restaurant Intermediate Holdings bankruptcy filing, we asked, “Are Progressives Bankrupting Restaurants?” We wrote:

Morberg's explanation for the bankruptcy went a step farther. He noted that cash flow pressures also came from increased workers' compensation costs, annual rent increases, minimum wage increases in the markets they serve, and higher health benefit costs -- a damning assessment of popular progressive initiatives making the rounds this campaign season. And certainly not a minor statement to make in a sworn declaration.  

It's unlikely that this is the last restaurant bankruptcy in the near term. Will the next one also delineate progressive policies as a root cause? It seems likely.

There have been a plethora of restaurant-related bankruptcy filings between then and now and many of them have raised rising costs as an issue. Perhaps none as blatantly, however, than Sun Capital Partners’ portfolio companies: enter RUI Holding Corp and its affiliated debtors, Restaurants Unlimited Inc. and Restaurants Unlimited Texas Inc. (the “Debtors”).

On July 7, 2019, the Sun Capital-owned Debtors filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware. The Debtors opened their first restaurant in 1969 and now own and operate 35 restaurants in 6 states under, among 14 others, the trade names “Clinkerdagger,” “Cutters Crabhouse,” “Maggie Bluffs,” and ”Horatio’s.” The Debtors note that each of their restaurants offer “fine dining” and “polished casual dining” “situated in iconic, scenic, high-traffic locations.” Who knew that if you want something to scream “iconic” you ought to name it Clinkerdagger?

As we’ve said time and time again, casual dining is a hot mess. Per the Debtors:

…the Company's revenue for the twelve months ended May 31, 2019, was $176 million, down 1% from the prior year. As of the Petition Date, the Company has approximately $150,000 of cash on hand and lacks access to needed liquidity other than cash flow from operations.

The Debtors have over $37.7mm of secured debt; they also owe trade $7.6mm. There are over 2000 employees, of which 168 are full-time and 50 are salaried at corporate HQ in Seattle Washington.

But enough about that stuff. Back to those damn progressives. Per the Debtors:

Over the past several years, certain changes to wage laws in the Debtors’ primary geographic locations coupled with two expansion decisions that utilized cash flow from operations resulted in increased use of cash flow from operations and borrowings and restricted liquidity. These challenges coupled with additional state-mandates that will result in an additional extraordinary wage hike in FYE 2020 in certain locations before all further wage increases are subject to increases in the CPI and the general national trend away from casual dining, led to the need to commence these chapter 11 cases.

They continue:

Over the past three years, the Company’s profitability has been significantly impacted by progressive wage laws along the Pacific coast that have increased the minimum wage as follows: Seattle $9.47 to $16.00 (69%), San Francisco $11.05 to $15.59 (41%), Portland $9.25 to $12.50 (35%). As a large employer in the Seattle metro market, for instance, the Company was one of the first in the market to be forced to institute wage hikes. Currently in Seattle, smaller employers enjoy a statutory advantage of a lesser minimum wage of $1 or more through 2021, which is not available to the Company. The result of these cumulative increases was to increase the Company’s annual wage expenses by an aggregate of $10.6 million through fiscal year end 2019.

For a second we had to do a double-take just to make sure Andy Puzder wasn’t the first day declarant!

Interestingly, despite these seemingly OBVIOUS wage headwinds and the EVEN-MORE-OBVIOUS-CASUAL-DINING-CHALLENGES, these genius operators nevertheless concluded that it was prudent to open two new restaurants in Washington state “in the second half of 2017” — at a cost of $10mm. Sadly, “[s]ince opening, the anticipated foot traffic and projected sales at these locations did not materialize….” Well, hot damn! Who could’ve seen that coming?? Coupled with the wage increases, this was the death knell. PETITION Note: this really sounds like two parents on the verge of divorce deciding a baby would make everything better. Sure, macro headwinds abound but let’s siphon off cash and open up two new restaurants!! GREAT IDEA HEFE!!

The Debtors have therefore been in a perpetual state of marketing since 2016. The Debtors’ investment banker contacted 170 parties but not one entity expressed interested past basic due diligence. Clearly, they didn’t quite like what they saw. PETITION Note: we wonder whether they saw that Sun Capital extracted millions of dollars by way of dividends, leaving a carcass behind?? There’s no mention of this in the bankruptcy papers but….well…inquiring minds want to know.

The purpose of the filing is to provide a breathing spell, gain the Debtors access to liquidity (by way of a $10mm new money DIP financing commitment from their prepetition lender), and pursue a sale of the business. To prevent additional unnecessary cash burn in the meantime, the Debtors closed six unprofitable restaurants: Palomino in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Bellevue, Washington; Prime Rib & Chocolate Cake in Portland, OR; Henry’s Tavern in Plano, Texas; Stanford’s in Walnut Creek, California; and Portland Seafood Co. in Tigard, Oregon. PETITION Note: curiously, only one of these closures was in an “iconic” location that also has the progressive rate increases the Debtors took pains to highlight.

It’s worth revisiting the press release at the time of the 2007 acquisition:

Steve Stoddard, President and CEO, Restaurants Unlimited, Inc., said, “This transaction represents an exciting partnership with a skilled and experienced restauranteur that has the requisite financial resources and deep operating experience to be instrumental in strengthening our brands and building out our footprint in suitable locations.”

Riiiiight. Stoddard’s tenure with Sun Capital lasted all of two years. His successor, Norman Abdallah, lasted a year before being replaced by Scott Smith. Smith lasted a year before being replaced by Chris Harter. Harter lasted four years and was replaced by now-CEO, Jim Eschweiler.

A growing track record of bankruptcy and a revolving door in the C-suite. One might think this may be a cautionary tale to those operators in the market for PE partners.*

*Speaking of geniuses, it’s almost as if Sun Capital Partners thinks that things disappear on the internets. Google “sun capital restaurant unlimited” and you’ll see this:

Source: Google

Source: Google

Click through the first link and this is what you get:

Source: Sun Capital Partners

Source: Sun Capital Partners

HAHAHAHAHA. WHOOPS INDEED!

THEY DELETED THAT SH*T FASTER THAN WE COULD SAY “DIVIDEND RECAP.”


  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $37.7mm (plus $1.7mm of accrued and unpaid interest)(Fortress Credit Co LLC)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP (Domenic Pacitti, Michael Yurkewicz, Sally Veghte)

    • Financial Advisor: Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC (David Bagley)

    • Investment Banker: Configure Partners LLC

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

    • Board of Directors: Stephen Cella, Jonathan Jackson, James Eschweiler

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • PE Sponsor: Sun Capital Partners Inc.

    • Prepetition Agent & DIP Agent ($10mm): Fortress Credit Co LLC

      • Legal: Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Tyler Brown, Justin Paget) & Gellert Scali Busenkell & Brown (Michael Busenkell)

      • Financial Advisor: Grant Thornton LLP

    • DIP Lenders: Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund LP, NXT Capital LLC

      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Prisca Kim)

Updated 7/7/19

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Weatherford International Plc⛽️

Weatherford International Plc

July 1, 2019

There hasn’t been a MASSIVE bankruptcy filing in a while. Windstream Holdings Inc. filed back in late February and while there’s been plenty of chapter 11 activity since, there hasn’t been anything quite as large in the last several months. There is now. Enter Weatherford International Plc.

Late on Friday, Weatherford, an Irish public limited company, filed an 8-K with the SEC with a proposed plan of reorganization and disclosure statement; it and several affiliated debtors intend to file prepackaged chapter 11 cases in the Southern District of Texas on Monday, July 1.* The timing is appropriate: nothing screams “Independence!” like a massive chapter 11 bankruptcy filing that has the effect of eliminating six billion tyrannical dollars from the balance sheet. YEE HAW. G-D BLESS AMERICA.

Here is a snapshot of Weatherford’s pre and post-bankruptcy capital structure:**

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 5.15.48 AM.png

And all of the action is at the pre-petition notes level of the cap stack.*** The holders of the $7.4b of pre-petition notes**** will walk away with 99% of the equity in the reorganized company (subject to various means of dilution) — a 63% recovery based on the offered valuation of the company. They will also receive up to $1.25b of new tranche b senior unsecured convertible notes and the right to participate in new tranche a senior unsecured notes. Every other class — but for existing equity (which will get wiped out) — will ride through as if this shabang ain’t even happening.

You must be wondering: how in bloody hell does a company rack up over $8b of debt? $8 BILLION!! That’s just oil and gas, darling.

Weatherford is a provider of equipment and services used in the drilling, evaluation, completion, production, and intervention of oil and natural gas wells; it operates in over 80 countries worldwide and has service and sales locations in nearly all of the oil and natural gas producing regions in the world. It operates in a highly commoditized industry and so the company dedicates millions each year to research and development in an effort to separate itself from the pack and provide value to end users that is unmatched in the market.

Which, by its own admission, it fails to do. All of that R&D notwithstanding, Weatherford nevertheless provide a commoditized product in a tough macro environment. And while all of that debt should have helped position the company to crush less-capitalized competitors, it ultimately proved to be an albatross.

To service this debt, the debtors require stability in the oil and natural gas markets at prices that catalyze E&P companies to drill, baby, drill. An oil field services company like Weatherford can only make money if there are oil operations to service. With oil and natural gas trading at low levels for years…well, you see the issue. Per the company’s 8-K:

The sustained drop in oil and gas prices has impacted companies throughout the oil and gas industry including Weatherford and the majority of its customers. As spending on exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas has decreased so has demand for Weatherford’s services and products. The decline in spending by oil and gas companies has had a significant effect on the Debtors’ financial health. To illustrate, on a consolidated basis, the Company’s cash flows from operating activities have been negative $304 million, negative $388 million, and negative $242 million in fiscal years 2016, 2017, and 2018, respectively.

While not quite at Uber Inc. ($UBER) levels, this company is practically lighting money on fire.

Relating to the competition:

The oilfield services and equipment industry is saturated with competition from various companies that operate in the same sector and the same regions of the world as Weatherford. The primary competitive factors include safety, performance, price, quality, and breadth of products and services. Weatherford also faces competition from regional suppliers in some of the sectors in which it operates as these suppliers offer limited equipment and services that are specifically tailored to the relevant local market. Some of the Company’s competitors have better financial and technical resources, which allows them to pursue more vigorous marketing and expansion activities. This heavily competitive market has impacted the Company’s ability to maintain its market share and defend or maintain the pricing for its products and services. Heavy competition has also impacted the Company’s ability to negotiate contract terms with its customers and suppliers, which has resulted in the Company accepting suboptimal terms.

The squeeze is on, ladies and gentlemen. As E&P companies look to cut costs in the face of increased pressure from investors to lean out, they are putting companies like Weatherford through the ringer. You bet your a$$ they’re getting “suboptimal terms.”

Compounding matters, of course, is the government:

…operations are also subject to extensive federal, international, state and local laws and regulations relating to environmental production, waste management and cleanup of hazardous materials, and other matters. Compliance with the various requirements imposed by these laws and regulations has also resulted in increased capital expenditures as companies in these sectors have had to make significant investments to ensure compliance.

Well GOSH DARN. If only Weatherford had unfettered ability to pollute the hell out of the countryside and our waters all of that debt could be paid off at par plus. Those gosh darn government hacks.

All of these factors combined to strain the debtors’ liquidity “for an extended period of time.” Accordingly, the company went into cost cutting mode.***** In Q4 ‘17, it eliminated 900 jobs to the tune of $114mm in annualized savings. In 2018, the company — with the assistance of McKinsey Restructuring & Transformation Services — continued with workforce reductions, facility consolidations, and other measures.

Yet, the squeeze continued. Per the company:

Despite implementing these efficient and strategic initiatives, the Company continued to face declining revenue and cash flow, as well as market challenges. Due to the Company’s increasingly tight liquidity, its key vendors began requiring shortened payment terms, including pay on delivery or prepayment for all supplies purchased by the Company. This contributed to additional pressure on liquidity that the Company could not sustain. Additionally, as discussed above, the highly competitive market that the Company operates in posed challenges for the Company in winning new bids, resulting in decreased revenue.

Weatherford was therefore forced to divest assets. YOU KNOW YOU’RE LEVERAGED TO THE HILT WHEN YOU SELL NEARLY $1B OF ASSETS AND IT BARELY MOVES THE NEEDLE. Sale proceeds were coming in just to go back out for debt service. The company had a leverage ratio of OVER 10X EBITDA. THIS IS AN UNMITIGATED F*CKING DISASTER. What’s actually astonishing is that the company notes that it retained Lazard Freres & Co LLC ($LZ) and Latham & Watkins LLP in December ‘18 and April ‘19, respectively. Taking them at their word (and we could have sworn Latham was in there much earlier than April), WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY WAITING FOR$600mm of annual interest payments, pending maturities, untenable leverage relative to competitors, AND squeezing vendors and the company only got its sh*t together in April? They couldn’t possibly have been THAT inept. Ah, who are we kidding? We’re talking about bankruptcy here.

Now, though, the company has a deal****** and so the upshot is that it is well-positioned for a quick trip into bankruptcy. Indeed, it seeks plan confirmation no later than September 15, 2019 — a nice not-as-speedy-as-other-recent-prepacks-but-speedy prepack. To finance the cases, the company will seek approval of up to $750mm DIP revolver and a $1b DIP term loan. And it is optimistic that it will be well-positioned for the future:

Screen Shot 2019-06-29 at 10.53.10 AM.png

We’ll see.

*The company will also push through Bermuda and Irish proceedings.

**JPMorgan Chase Bank NA ($JPM) is the agent on the prepetition term loan, the prepetition revolving credit agreement, and the A&R facility.

***Only three entities out of an organizational structure of 255 or so direct and indirect subsidiaries are on the hook for the prepetition notes, thereby limiting the number of actual debtor entities that will be subsumed by these cases.

****The pre-petition notes consist of 13 — yes, THIRTEEN — different issuances of notes with interest rates ranging from 4.5% to 9.875% and maturities ranging from 2020 through 2042.

*****Well, as it relates to certain peeps, of course. The debtors’ non-debtor affiliates still had money to make a May 2019 payout to participants in the Executive Bonus Plan.

******The ad hoc noteholder committee is represented by Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP and Evercore Group LLC ($EVR).

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge )

  • Capital Structure:

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Keith Simon, David Hammerman, Annemarie Reilly, Lisa Lansio) & (local) Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Timothy Davidson, Ashley Harper)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Prepetition Noteholder Committee

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Michael Stamer, Meredith Lahaie, Kate Doorley)

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore Group LLC

    • DIP Agent: Citibank NA

      • Legal: Shearman & Sterling LLP (Frederic Sosnick, Ned Schodek, Sara Coelho, Ian Roberts)

🌑New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Blackjewel LLC🌑

Blackjewel LLC

July 1, 2019

The macro environment has been largely unforgiving to coal country.

Blackjewel LLC and three affiliates are the latest in a long string of coal companies to file for bankruptcy. The debtors mine and process metallurgical, thermal and other specialty and industrial coals; they operate 32 properties and hold over 500 mining permits — “more than any other enterprise in the country.” Their operations are in the Central Appalachian Basin in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia and the Powder River Basin in Wyoming; they employee 1,700 people (1,100 in the east and 600 in the west).

The debtors blame the usual macro factors for their descent into bankruptcy court: (i) declining commodity prices, (ii) reduced domestic demand for met and thermal coal, (iii) compliance costs, (iv) the rise of natural gas, (v) the increased adoption of renewables, and (vi) decreased coal-fired power generation. This is a telling stat, per the debtors:

Thermal coal demand in the domestic electric power sector has declined from 935 million tons in 2011 to 636 million tons in 2018 and coal has seen its share of the domestic electricity generation market reduce from 43% in 2011 to 31% in 2017.

On a micro level, the debtors suffered from company-specific issues including (a) the termination of a major contract with Nobel Group, (b) a major roof collapse at a particular mine that shut down production, (c) changes to Kentucky’s workers’ compensation laws that increased insurance rates, (d) poorly timed hedging agreements, and (e) interestingly, bad weather. Yes, that’s right: it isn’t just retailers who blame weather for poor performance. Per the debtors:

Various flooding events across the midwest in 2019 have severely impacted rail shipments from the Debtors’ Western Division mining operations. Starting in March 2019, the Debtor started to experience a material reduction in shipments by rail due to severe damage to the rail lines used to move the Debtors’ coal. The impact from the flooding is ongoing, with an estimated $30 million in lost sales directly attributable to it.

PETITION Note: There’s no way to know whether these “flooding events” are the result of man-made global warming but, if so…well, you know where we’re going with this. Irony to the utmost!

All of these factors — and some recent mine acquisitions from previously bankrupted coal companies — combined to seriously constrain liquidity and, after a little refinancing foreplay, term lender Riverstone Credit Partners decided it wanted out and pulled the plug from discussions. The debtors had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.

We were on a brief July 4-related break at the time of the debtors’ filing but suffice it to say that the filing was a sh*tshow. The company filed with a $20mm DIP commitment from company CEO Jeff A. Hoops Sr. and Clearwater Investment Holdings LLC, at an interest rate of LIBOR + 6% per annum, but that DIP fell apart prior to the debtors’ first day hearing putting the company on the brink of liquidation. Per The Wall Street Journal:

But the company learned before its debut appearance in West Virginia bankruptcy court that his bank froze funds Mr. Hoops believed would provide the necessary credit for the proposed financing, according to Blackjewel lawyer Stephen Lerner.

“It’s frankly a disaster,” Mr. Lerner said during the hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Charleston, W.Va.

While this surely sucked for the professionals involved, we especially feel for the 1,700 employees whose lives were altered over night — right on the eve of July 4th. Compounding matters is the fact that, apparently, the debtors cut checks to their employees prior to the filing that are not being accepted or are being dishonored by Commonwealth banks. WHAT. A. SH*TSHOW. 🙈The court held a separate hearing on this subject on Saturday, July 6.

Ultimately, Riverstone jumped in and — oddly enough considering its role in precipitating this whole bankruptcy dance to begin with — offered a lifeline. In what may be the shortest interim DIP financing order we’ve seen ever (3 pages), the bankruptcy court approved a $5mm super-priority senior secured DIP facility ($4.25mm from Riverstone, $750k from United Bank) at LIBOR + 8.5%. The use of proceeds? To ensure security measures are in place at the mines to preserve and protect property and equipment; to pay firefighting personnel needed to extinguish active fires at the mines; to fund a $500k professional fee escrow; and to pay for other essential emergency expenses. We presume the latter would include making sure employees — who, to be clear, were abruptly sent home — get paid. Other conditions of the DIP facility? Mr. Hoops got the heave-ho and FTI’s David Beckman was appointed Chief Restructuring Officer with CEO-esque authority. Savage move by Riverstone but we all know that old adage about money talking.

But why though?

Among other things coming to light, the Hoops-controlled debtors apparently floated cashier’s checks to their 600 Wyoming employees rather than follow typical direct deposit practices. Per the Gillette News Record, the bankruptcy court judge was pissed:

“I know this may be interfering with the holiday plans for some of you, but I’m sure you’d agree it’s minimal (compared) to what these employees are dealing with,” Volk scolded during an emergency hearing he called on the Fourth of July after he began hearing reports of people not being paid.

To make matters worse, in a liquidity exercise to the extreme, the debtors apparently also deducted $1.2mm of employee money from paychecks for 401(k) contributions but those amounts were never deposited into the appropriate accounts. SHEESH.

The human element of this cannot be overstated. More from the Gillette News Record (which you ought to read — it really puts this bankruptcy filing in perspective):

“I just hope these people can find jobs here and don’t have to leave,” said [Mayor Louise Carter-King], referring to the 2016 bust that saw the city’s population dip by about 2,000 as people left for work elsewhere. “That’s a big concern, but I also realize they’ve got to go where they can get jobs.”

She’s also worried for the small, local businesses and contractors that rely on performing work at the mines, especially those that might have to cut staff or shut their doors because they haven’t been paid by Blackjewel.

“Losing 600, 700 jobs has quite a trickle-down effect,” she said.

Shockingly, Fortune notes that coal mining jobs have actually “held steady under Trump”:

…per the Bureau of Labor Statistics: the number of coal workers rose from 50,500 in Nov. 2016 to 52,900 (preliminary) in May 2019. The rise has largely been attributed to demand from Europe and Asia—though overall demand has been steadily falling with exports down 7.4% in first quarter of 2019 year-over-year.

But in the long term, the trend of falling coal jobs expected to continue as the commodity comes under pressure against cheaper options such as natural gas.

“I can’t overstate the extreme competition between coal and natural gas,”  Hans Daniels, CEO of Doyle Trading Consultants said last year.

Indeed, take a look at the BLS numbers:

Screen Shot 2019-07-08 at 11.02.18 AM.png

This is, despite the fact that, per the Wall Street Journal:

Blackjewel is at least the fifth coal company to file for bankruptcy within the past 12 months and third to file chapter 11 since May. Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Cambrian Holding Co. filed for chapter 11 protection in the previous two months. Westmoreland Coal Co. and Mission Coal Co. filed for bankruptcy last fall.

This is, despite the fact that, per the Wall Street Journal:

Blackjewel is at least the fifth coal company to file for bankruptcy within the past 12 months and third to file chapter 11 since May. Cloud Peak Energy Inc. and Cambrian Holding Co. filed for chapter 11 protection in the previous two months. Westmoreland Coal Co. and Mission Coal Co. filed for bankruptcy last fall.

Curious.

As for the Powder River Basin, generally? Things aren’t so peachy. Per E&E News, the Blackjewel bankruptcy portends more pain to come:

"To me, it's a real sign there is something fundamentally wrong with the economics of PRB coal," said Clark Williams-Derry, an analyst who tracks the coal industry at the Sightline Institute, which advocates for a transition to clean energy. "The new normal is not stasis. It is contraction and disappointment."

It wasn't always that way. In the 1970s, a newly strengthened Clean Air Act prompted a westward expansion of the U.S. coal industry. The coal found in the Powder River Basin of Montana and Wyoming does not pack as much energy as the varieties buried in Appalachia. But its low sulphur content made it popular with power companies searching for ways to comply with America's new air quality laws.

Today, the Powder River Basin accounts for roughly 40% of U.S. coal output, by far the most of any basin. Yet production there has plunged, falling from 462 million tons in 2011 to 324 million tons last year, according to federal figures.

What is the cause of this decline?

The decline has been driven by stiff competition from natural gas and renewable energy. Wind, in particular, has eroded the Powder River Basin's market in the Great Plains, a major outlet for the basin's coal.

"Wind power has caused a lot of these coal plants to be uneconomical and be shut down," said John Hanou, a coal consultant who produces an annual study on the Powder River Basin. "Then on top of that you have the cheap natural gas from fracking."

The fact that PRB coal’s primary use is electricity had largely insulated it from the coal downturn of a few years ago. The bankruptcies of Arch Coal Inc. ($ARCH), Peabody Energy ($BTU) and Alpha Natural Resources largely revolved around over-expansion and too much debt as these companies dove into met coal for purposes of steal production. Electricity-producing coal of the sort produced in the PRB wasn’t as affected. Until now.

The problem: U.S. power companies consumed 687 million tons of coal in 2018, the lowest amount since 1978.

The decline has prompted upheaval in a region that long prided itself on stability. Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which operates three mines in the region, declared bankruptcy in May….

Last month, Arch and Peabody announced plans to form a joint venture, effectively combining their mining operations in the Powder River Basin in an attempt to cut costs. 

President Trump promised to save coal.

In reality, the cancer has spread farther than it had ever before.

Pour one out for the PRB.


  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of West Virginia (Judge Folk)

  • Capital Structure: $28mm term loan (15% interest)(Riverstone Credit Partners) + $6mm from Jeff A. Hoops Sr. and Lime Rock Partners, ~$6mm RCF and TL (United Bank Inc.), $23.8mm (Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation), $25.5mm Fifth Third Bank Loan, $1.7mm Javelin Commodities Security Agreement, $4.9mm Uniper Security Agreement, $11mm Hoops’ Prepetition unsecured loans

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Squire Patton Boggs (Stephen Lerner, Nava Hazan, Maura McIntyre, Travis McRoberts, Kyle Arendsen) & (local) Supple Law Office PLLC (Joe Supple)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (David Beckman)

    • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Robert White)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Walker Machinery Company, Jennmar Corporation of Virginia, CAM Mining LLC, United Central Industrial Supply Company LLC, Kentucky River Properties LLC)

      • Legal: Whiteford Taylor & Preston LLP (Michael Roeschenthaler, Brandy Rapp, Daniel Schimizzi)

Updated 7/7/19 #88

🏠New Chapter 11 Filing - Monitronics International Inc.🏠

Monitronics International inc.

June 30, 2019

We wrote about Monitronics International Inc. in July 2018 in "😬Home Security Company Looks Vulnerable 😬,” noting that “home security is a tough business (short Ascent Capital Group).” And, by “tough” we meant uber-competitive and saturated. It doesn’t help when you’re levered like a boss. We recommend you read the link above to understand the challenges these businesses faced in a better way than that described in the bankruptcy papers.

That said, the debtors’ capital structure is an important element of this story; they carry:

  • $181.4mm ‘21 Revolving Credit Facility

  • $1.072b ‘22 Term Loan

  • $585mm ‘20 9.125% Senior Notes

Leverage + disruption = a recipe for disaster. This prepackaged bankruptcy filing is meant to address the former. Management will be on the clock to figure out the latter. A significantly deleveraged capital structure and a cash infusion will certainly help.

The debtors’ proposed prepackaged plan of reorganization will eliminate approximately $885mm of funded debt by way of equitizing the entirety of the senior notes, and reducing the revolving credit facility (by $50mm) and the amount of term loans (by $250mm). The term lenders will receive $150mm in cash (financed by a rights offering totaling $177mm) and equitize $100mm worth of their loans. The remainder of the term loan amount will be exchanged for take back paper issued by the reorganized debtors.

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

This is what the capital structure will look like pre and post-transaction:

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

Source: First Day Declaration ($ in millions)

The senior unsecured notes are fully exchanged for 18% of pre-diluted equity in the reorganized debtors.

The overall structure of the transaction is complex and depends upon some contingencies. This is the summary the debtors provided:

It might as well be gibberish at this point. Once we know whether Ascent toggle occurs we’ll have a better sense of who is contributing what. Moreover, once we the rights offering is consummated, the debtors’ new ownership will be more obvious.

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Jones)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (David Hammerman, Annemarie Reilly, Jeremy Mispagel, Liza Burton, Brian Rosen, Christopher Harris, Zachary Proulx) & King & Spalding LLP (Roger Schwartz, Sarah Primrose) & (local) Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Timothy Davidson, Ashley Harper)

    • Board of Directors: Jeffery Gardner, William Niles, Marc Beilinson, Sherman Edmiston III

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc Lender Group (Term B-2 Lenders)(Anchorage Capital Group LLC, Boston Management and Research, BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, Eaton Vance Management, FS Global Advisor LLC, Invesco Advisors Inc., KKR Credit Advisors US LLC, Monarch Alternative Capital LP)

      • Legal: Jones Day (Paul Green, Scott Greenberg, Michael Schneidereit, Peter Saba)

      • Financial Advisor: Evecore LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Noteholders

      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP (Kristohper Hansen, Sayan Bhattacharyya, Jason Pierce) & (local) Haynes and Boone LLP (Kelli Norfleet, Stephen Pezanosky)

      • Financial Advisor: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc.

    • KKR Credit Advisors US LLC

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Chris Theodoridis)

    • Administrative Agent under Pre-Petition Credit Agreement: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP (Amelia Joiner) & ( Local) Winstead PC (Sean Davis)

    • Pre-Petition Agent: Cortland Capital Markets Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Christopher Odell, Hannah Sibiski, D. Tyler Nurnberg, Sarah Gryll)

    • Ascent Capital Group

      • Legal: Baker Botts LLP

😷New Chapter 11 Filing - Center City Healthcare LLC (d/b/a Hahnemann University Hospital)😷

Center City Healthcare LLC

June 30, 2019

We take a break from our regularly scheduled oil and gas distress to bring you some regularly scheduled healthcare distress. That’s right: more healthcare distress. Here, Philadelphia Academic Health System LLC and 12 affiliated debtors — including two major hospitals in Philadelphia, St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children (“STC”) and Hahnemann University Hospital (“HUH”) and related physician practices — have filed for bankruptcy in Pennsyl…strike that…in the District of Delaware.* Gotta love venue!

This bankruptcy case likely marks the end of HUH, an academic medical center that (a) is the primary teaching hospital for Drexel University and (b) has been providing healthcare services since 1848.

According to the debtors, their troubles can be traced back to an August 2017 acquisition — consummated in January 2018 — of the assets (i.e., operating entities, non-debtor entities owning the real estate upon which the hospital operate, and certain receivables) from Tenet Business Services Corporation. The debtors’ primary source of funding for the acquisition was a pre-petition credit facility from Midcap Funding IV Trust.

Immediately after the sale, the debtors realized that they bought a lemon. Per the debtors:

Disputes arose between the Debtors and Tenet with regards to, among other things, the “Net Working Capital Adjustment” provided for under the parties’ Asset Sale Agreement, most notably, for overstated amounts of accounts receivable totaling approximately $21 million. The Debtors also learned that approximately $5 million of amounts received by Tenet at closing in order for it to pay certain accounts payable was never in fact paid. These issues resulted in a significant liquidity shortfall that adversely affected the Debtors’ operations almost immediately after closing of the Acquisition.

The parties are now in litigation with Tenet asserting counterclaims. Gotta hate when that happens. And that’s not the end of it:

Disputes also arose between the parties regarding the financial condition of the Debtors’ businesses, wherein the Debtors asserted that they were led to believe during due diligence process for the Acquisition that the business, as a whole, was essentially breaking even through November 2017 on an EBITDA basis. In fact, the business lost more than $6 million during its first full operational month in February 2018, and continues to experience substantial losses. The Debtors and their affiliates have asserted indemnity and fraud claims against Tenet on these grounds, which Tenet disputes.

Basically this is a hot mess. Coupled with (i) disputes with Drexel, (ii) delays in, and reduction of, payments of supplemental payments from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (iii) decreased patient volumes in 2018, (iv) increased losses by certain of the physician groups, (v) material declines in outpatient procedures and surgeries; and (vi) reductions in average daily census, partly due to a reduction in average length of stay and reduced direct admissions, HUH encountered a maelstrom of negative operational issues to the tune of a pre-tax 2018 loss of approximately $69mm. STC is profitable; it, however, is dragged down by the rest of the enterprise. All in, the debtors pre-tax losses in 2018 exceeded $85mm and have not abated in 2019. Due to this piss poor financial performance, the debtors defaulted on their MidCap credit facility.

The debtors intend to use the chapter 11 process to pursue an orderly wind down of HUH while, contemporaneously, pursuing a sale of STC and the related physician practices. No stalking horse bidder is currently lined up. The debtors do, however, have a commitment from Midcap for $65mm of DIP financing, of which it appears less than $7mm will be new money.

Now is an occasion for Philly to, once again, show how tough it can be.

*SCH, HUH and their corporate parent, Philadelphia Academic Health System LLC, are all DE LLCs.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: $38.6mm RCF & $20mm TL (Midcap Funding IV Trust)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP (Monique Bair DiSabatino, Mark Minuti, Jeffrey Hampton, Adam Isenberg, Aaron Applebaum, Jeremiah Vandermark) & Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg LLP

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: EisnerAmper LLP (Allen Wilen)

    • Investment Banker: SSG Advisors LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition & DIP Lender ($65mm): MidCap Funding IV Trust

    • Tenet Business Services Corp.

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Gregory Pesce) & (local) Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP (Laura Davis Jones)

😷New Chapter 11 Filing - Joerns WoundCo Holdings Inc.😷

Joerns WoundCo Holdings Inc.

June 24, 2019

We scoured far and wide to see whether there might be some businesses that get harmed by the uptick in healthcare distress we’ve witnessed of late. In early June, we took a bit of a stab in the dark (Members’-only access):

There has been notable bankruptcy activity in the healthcare industry this year — from continuing care retirement communities to the acute care space. When end users capitulate and need to streamline operations and cut costs, who gets harmed farther down the chain? It’s a good question: after all, there’s always some trickle down effect.

Our internal search for answers to this question recently brought us to Charlotte-based Joerns Healthcare, a “premier supplier and service provider in post-acute care.” The company sells supportive care beds, transport systems, respiratory care solutions and more.

Among other things, we noted how the company’s term loan maturing in May 2020 “was among one of the worst performing loans in the month of May — quoted in the low 70s, down approximately 15% since April.” We insinuated that a bankruptcy filing may not be too far afield.

We didn’t expect it to be in six weeks later.

On Monday, June 24, 2019, Joerns WoundCo Holdings Inc. and 13 affiliated entities filed a prepackaged bankruptcy in the District of Delaware. Among other reasons provided to explain its capitulation into bankruptcy court is “post acute sector disruption.” Now that’s music to our ears. Per the company:

The Company has been adversely impacted by the challenges faced by the postacute sector, which is a key end market. Post-acute providers have experienced multi-year occupancy rate declines while simultaneously seeing increases in the costs of providing patient care and structural changes in reimbursement instituted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services not yet offset by countervailing demographic trends. These structural changes include, among other things, higher operational costs driven by increasing regulatory burdens, lower reimbursement rates instituted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for patients, and patient migration to home health care. The decline in occupancy rates has led to reduced demand for the Company’s products and services, particularly in the rental segment, which is a major component of the Company’s business.

Further, the general post-acute sector disruption has placed many of the Company’s Customers under significant financial pressure, resulting in several bankruptcy filings, increased mergers and acquisition activity to divest under-performing facilities, and proactive cost reduction efforts, as well as fewer equipment purchases. (emphasis added).

Trickle down indeed. The provision of healthcare has simply changed: the debtors served fewer patients not only because of the reduction in the number of facilities served but because patients don’t fill facility beds like they used to. And when they do, the duration is much shorter than years past. The demand side simply wasn’t there* and, yet, the costs associated with the supply side of the business persisted. The debtors were caught between a rock and a hard place. Compounding matters was the company’s balance sheet:

  • $272 first lien term loan (+ $3.2mm LOCs)(Ankura Trust Company)

  • $80 tranche A second lien notes (US Bank NA)

  • $45.5mm tranche B second lien notes

In early June, we noted that one problem with understanding the full extent of Joerns’ trouble was that the company was private. In fact, the debtors had been in default of their covenants under their first and second lien agreements since 2018 and have been operating under a perpetual state of waivers since. In the midst of this, the debtors plunged deeper into default when they breached a financial covenant in March 2019: the debtors’ EBITDA plunged below the $40mm and $36.4mm thresholds required by the first and second lien agreements, respectively. On May 31, 2019, the company skipped a $5.9mm interest payment which, five days later, constituted an event of default.

The debtors then dove headfirst into a proposed sale process. It didn’t work: while dozens of parties signed NDAs and took a peek at marketing materials, none of the parties that the debtors and their banker, Moelis & Co. LLC ($MO), spoke to expressed interest in bidding.

This is where value really comes in to play in a restructuring transaction. And the value calculus for the existing lenders is different than that of outside strategics or sponsors who, seeing a distressed company hobbling, have no incentive to make a generous offer — if they’re even interested in making an offer at all.

The lack of market interest and the declining performance made clear that the value of the company doesn’t clear the first lien debt — making that part of the capital structure the “fulcrum security.” Accordingly, the debtors entered into a restructuring support agreement for a prepackaged plan of reorganization that would confer 95% of the equity in the reorganized debtors to the first lien lenders and the remainder to the second lien lenders (both subject to dilution). Said differently, the debtors’ value dictated that the second lien lenders had limited leverage in negotiations: the best they could achieve was a limited recovery of their positions and play out the option that, on a de-levered basis, the company can optimize their businesses and wade through the storm currently pounding the healthcare space. To aid with that, the lenders all agreed to pay general unsecured claimants in full so as to eliminate any additional unnecessary risk to the business. The debtors private sponsors also support the plan — not surprising given that they will want full exculpation and release provisions. To effectuate the deal, the debtors seek approval of a $40mm new money DIP (in addition to a roll-up portion of certain pre-petition amounts).

In the end, the company will eliminate $320mm of funded debt and have a new exit facility to lean on for post-emergence liquidity. The debtors hope to be out of bankruptcy before the end of summer.

*Even when demand WAS there, the debtors’ customers had liquidity issues of their own, preventing the debtors from collecting accounts receivable and causing bad debt expenses in each of 2016, 2017, 2018 and the first half of 2019.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Dorsey)

  • Capital Structure: $272 first lien term loan (+ $3.2mm LOCs)(Ankura Trust Company), $80 tranche A second lien notes, $45.5mm tranche B second lien notes (US Bank NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: White & Case LLP (David Turetsky, Philip Abelson, Richard Graham, John Ramirez, Fan He, Elizabeth Feld) & (local) Fox Rothschild LLP (Jeffrey Schlerf, Courtney Emerson, Katelyn Crawford)

    • Board of Directors: Frank Winslow, Anthony Ignaczak, Terrence Daniels, John Mapes, Terry Sutter, Todd Dunn

    • Financial Advisor: Conway MacKenzie Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Large Equityholders: Quad-C Partners VII LP, Aurora Equity Partners III LP

    • First Lien Agent: Ankura Trust Company

      • Legal: King & Spalding LLP

      • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Second Lien Noteholders: PineBridge, Cetus Funds

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - HDR Holding Inc. (Schramm Inc.)⛽️

Jim Carrey Drill.gif

June 24, 2019

It stands to reason that businesses centered upon servicing mining and oil and gas drilling rigs may be suffering a bit in the current — and by “current,” we mean the last five-or-so years — macroeconomic environment. HDR Holding Inc., a Pennsylvania-based company started in 1900(!), along with certain debtor affiliates, produces “a variety of mobile, top-head hydraulic rotary drilling rigs that are mounted on trucks, tracks and trailers.” The company makes money by (i) manufacturing and selling their various rig models to drillers, (ii) selling consumable drill parts that naturally deteriorate over time, and (iii) servicing their equipment. For reasons that are, by now, blatantly obvious to anyone following the distressed world, oil and gas drilling hasn’t exactly been an obscenely profitable endeavor these last few years (or, in the case of certain drilling regions, EVER, really).

And so demand for the debtors’ wares is down. Per the debtors:

Given its strong connections to the oil and gas industry, the Company has faced significant challenges pervasive in the industry over the past three to five years. Numerous oil and gas producers have significantly curtailed, if not entirely ceased, drilling new wells in response to declines in commodity prices that make such projects uneconomical. The result of this trend for the Company has been a reduced demand for both new rigs and for the related consumable drill parts as existing rig assemblies are idled, which has led to the Debtors failing to meet revenue projections and maintain compliance with the covenants under their prepetition credit facilities.

Ah, yes, the debt. The debtors have approximately $20mm in debt spread out across three different term loan facilities. In an attempt to better service this debt, the debtors have pivoted their sales efforts “to a steadier mining sector” (Bitcoin, maybe? We kid, we kid), now sell aftermarket equipment, and have “managed” their workforce and expenses to preserve cash with the hope that oil and gas might cover. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t. Nevertheless, the debtors purport to have increased performance over the last few years. Just not enough to service their capital structure.

Accordingly, over the last eight months, the debtors and their advisors have pursued a sale process with the hope of selling the business as a going concern. No third-party purchaser came forward pre-petition, unfortunately, and so the debtors seek to pursue a sale to their largest pre-petition equityholder…which also happens to be their largest pre-petition lender…AND which also happens to be their proposed DIP lender (GenNx360 Capital Parters LP). The committed DIP is $6mm at 12% and the proposed purchase price is $10.3mm plus a credit bid of the $6mm DIP amount. Pursuant to the terms of the DIP, the debtors seek to have a sale hearing on or about August 19 to have some cushion in advance of the August 28 sale order milestone under the proposed DIP.

We’ll, therefore, have at least one data point by the end of summer to show us how bullish folks are vis-a-vis a recovery in the oil and gas market.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Walrath)

  • Capital Structure: $5.3mm Term Loan A (Hark Capital I LP), $6.5mm Term Loan B (GenNx360), $6mm Term Loan C (Citizens Bank NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP (Sean Greecher, Pauline Morgan,

    • Investment Banker: FocalPoint Partners LLC (Michael Fixler)

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Largest EquityHolder & Stalking Horse Purchaser: GenNx360 Capital Partners L.P.

    • DIP Lender ($6mm at 12%): Schramm II Inc. (an acquisition vehicle created by GenNx360)

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Carey Schreiber) & (local) Robinson+Cole LLP (Jamie Edmonson)

    • Term Loan A Lender: Hark Capital I LP

      • Legal: Perkins Coie LLP (Jordan Kroop) & (local) The Rosner Law Group LLC (Frederick Rosner)

Updated 7/7 #65

⛽️New Chapter 11 Filing - Legacy Reserves Inc.⛽️

Even at 95 years old, you can’t get one past Charlie Munger. #Legend.

The Permian Basin in West Texas is where it’s at in the world of oil and gas exploration and production. Per Wikipedia:

As of 2018, the Permian Basin has produced more than 33 billion barrels of oil, along with 118 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This production accounts for 20% of US crude oil production and 7% of US dry natural gas production. While the production was thought to have peaked in the early 1970s, new technologies for oil extraction, such as hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have increased production dramatically. Estimates from the Energy Information Administration have predicted that proven reserves in the Permian Basin still hold 5 billion barrels of oil and approximately 19 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

oil gushing.gif

And it may be even more prolific than originally thought. Norwegian research firm Rystad Energy recently issued a report indicating that Permian projected output was already above 4.5mm barrels a day in May with volumes exceeding 5mm barrels in June. This staggering level of production is pushing total U.S. oil production to approximately 12.5mm barrels per day in May. That means the Permian now accounts for 36% of US crude oil production — a significant increase over 2018. Normalized across 365 days, that would be a 1.64 billion barrel run rate. This is despite (a) rigs coming offline in the Permian and (b) natural gas flaring and venting reaching all-time highs in Q1 ‘19 due to a lack of pipelines. Come again? That’s right. The Permian is producing in quantities larger than pipelines can accommodate. Per Reuters:

Producers burned or vented 661 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) in the Permian Basin of West Texas and eastern New Mexico, the field that has driven the U.S. to record oil production, according to a new report from Rystad Energy.

The Permian’s first-quarter flaring and venting level more than doubles the production of the U.S. Gulf of Mexico’s most productive gas facility, Royal Dutch Shell’s Mars-Ursa complex, which produces about 260 to 270 mmcfd of gas.

The Permian isn’t alone in this, however. The Bakken shale field in North Dakota is also flaring at a high level. More from Reuters:

Together, the two oil fields on a yearly basis are burning and venting more than the gas demand in countries that include Hungary, Israel, Azerbaijan, Colombia and Romania, according to the report.

All of which brings us to Legacy Reserves Inc. ($LGCY). Despite the midstream challenges, one could be forgiven for thinking that any operators engaged in E&P in the Permian might be insulated from commodity price declines and other macro headwinds. That position, however, would be wrong.

Legacy is a publicly-traded energy company engaged in the acquisition, development, production of oil and nat gas properties; its primary operations are in the Permian Basin (its largest operating region, historically), East Texas, and in the Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent regions. While some of these basins may produce gobs of oil and gas, acquisition and production is nevertheless a HIGHLY capital intensive endeavor. And, here, like with many other E&P companies that have recently made their way into the bankruptcy bin, “significant capital” translates to “significant debt.”

Per the Company:

Like similar companies in this industry, the Company’s oil and natural gas operations, including their exploration, drilling, and production operations, are capital-intensive activities that require access to significant amounts of capital.  An oil price environment that has not recovered from the downturn seen in mid-2014 and the Company’s limited access to new capital have adversely affected the Company’s business. The Company further had liquidity constraints through borrowing base redeterminations under the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement, as well as an inability to refinance or extend the maturity of the Prepetition RBL Credit Agreement beyond May 31, 2019.

This is the company’s capital structure:

Legacy Cap Stack.png

The company made two acquisitions in mid-2015 costing over $540mm. These acquisitions proved to be ill-timed given the longer-than-expected downturn in oil and gas. Per the Company:

In hindsight, despite the GP Board’s and management’s favorable view of the potential future opportunities afforded by these acquisitions and the high-caliber employees hired by the Company in connection therewith, these two acquisitions consumed disproportionately large amounts of the Company’s liquidity during a difficult industry period.

WHOOPS. It’s a good thing there were no public investors in this thing who were in it for the high yield and favorable tax treatment.*

Yet, the company was able to avoid a prior bankruptcy when various other E&P companies were falling like flies. Why was that? Insert the “drillco” structure here: the company entered into a development agreement with private equity firm TPG Special Situations Partners to drill, baby, drill (as opposed to acquire). What’s a drillco structure? Quite simply, the PE firm provided capital in return for a wellbore interest in the wells that it capitalized. Once TPG clears a specified IRR in relation to any specific well, any remaining proceeds revert to the operator. This structure — along with efforts to delever through out of court exchanges of debt — provided the company with much-needed runway during a rough macro patch.

It didn’t last, however. Liquidity continued to be a pervasive problem and it became abundantly clear that the company required a holistic solution to its balance sheet. That’s what this filing will achieve: this chapter 11 case is a financial restructuring backed by a Restructuring Support Agreement agreed to by nearly the entirety of the capital structure — down through the unsecured notes. Per the Company:

The Global RSA contemplates $256.3 million in backstopped equity commitments, $500.0 million in committed exit financing from the existing RBL Lenders, the equitization of approximately $815.8 million of prepetition debt, and payment in full of the Debtors’ general unsecured creditors.

Said another way, the Permian holds far too much promise for parties in interest to walk away from it without maintaining optionality for the future.

*Investors got burned multiple times along the way here. How did management do? Here is one view (view thread: it’s precious):

😬

  • Jurisdiction: S.D. of Texas (Judge Isgur)

  • Capital Structure: See above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Sidley Austin LLP (Duston McFaul, Charles Persons, Michael Fishel, Maegan Quejada, James Conlan, Bojan Guzina, Andrew O’Neill, Allison Ross Stromberg)

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Seth Bullock, Mark Rajcevich)

    • Investment Banker: Perella Weinberg Partners (Kevin Cofsky)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Wilmington Trust NA, Dalton Investments LLC, Paul Drueke, John Dinkel, Nicholas Mumford)

    • GSO Capital Partners LP

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP (George Davis, Adam Goldberg, Christopher Harris, Zachary Proulx, Brett Neve, Julian Bulaon) & (local) Porter Hedges LLP (John Higgins, Eric English, M. Shane Johnson)

    • DIP Lender: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Orrick LLP (Raniero D’Aversa, Laura Metzger)

    • Prepetition Term Agent: Cortland Capital Market Services LLC

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP (Gerardo Mijares-Shafai, Seth Kleinman)

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Pryor Cashman (Seth Lieberman, Patrick Sibley, Andrew Richmond)

    • Ad Hoc Group of Senior Noteholders (Canyon Capital Advisors LLC, DoubleLine Income Solutions Fund, J.H. Lane Partners Master Fund LP, JCG 2016 Holdings LP, The John C. Goff 2010 Family Trust, John C. Goff SEP-IRA, Cuerno Largo Partners LP, MGA insurance Company Inc., Pingora Partners LLC)

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Stephen Piraino, Michael Pera) & (local) Rapp & Krock PC (Henry Flores)

Updated 7/7/19 #188

🌑New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Cambrian Holding Company Inc.🌑

Cambrian Holding Company Inc.

June 16, 2019

Pour one out for the fine folks of eastern Kentucky and western Virginia. They can’t seem to catch a break.

Earlier this week, Cambrian Holding Company Inc. (and its affiliate debtors) joined a long line of coal producers/processors (e.g., Cloud Peak Energy, Westmoreland Coal, Mission Coal) who have recently filed for bankruptcy. The company employees approximately 660 people, none of whom are members of a labor union (in contrast to bigger, more controversial, coal filings, i.e., Westmoreland) and most of whom must be fretting over their futures. They must really be getting tired of all of the post-election “winning” that’s going on in coal country.

The company’s problems appear to start in 2015, at the time the company acquired TECO Coal LLC and assumed $40mm of workers’ compensation and black lung liabilities that TECO had previously self-insured. The company sought to leverage its broader scale to increase production but it failed to raise the working capital it needed to live up to its obligations and sustain production at levels necessary to service the company’s balance sheet. Post-acquisition, the company doubled revenues, but it couldn’t sustain that progress and nevertheless recorded net losses from 2015 through 2018. In turn, the company triggered financial covenant and other defaults under its ABL Revolver and Term Loan.

In other words, the company has been in a state of emergency ever since the acquisition. Almost immediately, the company “undertook various efforts to return to a positive cashflow,” which, as you might expect, meant idling or closing certain mining operations, stretching the usable life of equipment, and laying off employees.* Its efforts proved fruitless. Per the company:

Notwithstanding these efforts, the Debtors have been unable to overcome the pressures placed on their profit margins from steadily declining coal prices (along with burdensome regulations and the accompanying decline in demand for coal), all of which have contributed to the Debtors’ substantial negative cashflow and inability to consummate a value-enhancing transaction.

So, what now? The company, with assistance from Jefferies LLC, will attempt to find a buyer willing to catch a falling knife: the plan is to “commence an expeditious sale and marketing process” of the company’s assets (call us crazy, but shouldn’t it be the other way around?). To fund this process, the company has a DIP commitment from affiliates of pre-petition lenders for $15mm.**

*Interestingly, it was in March 2016 when Hilary Clinton infamously stated, “Because we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” At the time, Cambrian was already struggling, laying off people in an attempt to generate positive cashflow. That message really must’ve struck a chord down in coal country. WHOOPS.

**The Term Lenders swiftly objected to the terms of the DIP and the use of cash collateral.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Kentucky (Judge Schaaf)

  • Capital Structure: $48mm ABL Revolver (Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch), $78mm Term Loan (Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Frost Brown Todd LLC (Ronald Gold, Douglas Lutz, Patrica Burgess)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Bertrand Troiano)

    • Investment Banker: Jefferies LLC (Leon Szlezinger)

    • Claims Agent: Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC (*click on the link above for free docket access)

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Term Lenders: Deutsche Bank AG, London Branch, Tennenbaum Opportunities Partners V, LP and Tennenbaum Opportunities Fund VI, LLC

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Brian Resnick, Christopher Robertson, Elliot Moskowitz) & (local) Bingham Greenbaum Doll LLP (Christopher Madden)

    • DIP & Bridge Lender: Richmond Hill Capital Partners, LP

🔫New Chapter 11 Filing - Sportco Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)🔫

SportCo Holdings Inc. (United Sporting Companies Inc.)

June 10, 2019

Callback to four previous PETITION pieces:

The first one — which was a tongue-in-cheek mock First Day Declaration we wrote in advance of Remington Outdoor Company’s chapter 11 bankruptcy — is, if we do say so ourselves, AN ABSOLUTE MUST READ. The same basic narrative could apply to the recent chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of Sportco Holdings Inc., a marketer and distributor of products and accessories for hunting, which filed for bankruptcy on Monday, June 10, 2019. Sportco’s customer base consists of 20k independent retailers covering all 50 states. But back to the “MUST READ.” There are some choice bits there:

Murica!! F*#& Yeah!! 

Remington (f/k/a Freedom Group) is "Freedom Built, American Made." Because nothing says freedom like blowing sh*t up. Cue Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." Hell, we may even sing it in court now that Toys R Ushas made that a thing. 

Our company traces its current travails to 2007 when Cerberus Capital Management LP bought Remington for $370mm (cash + assumption of debt) and immediately "loaded" the North Carolina-based company with even more debt. As of today, the company has $950mm of said debt on its balance sheet, including a $150mm asset-backed loan due June '19, a $550mm term loan B due April '19, and 7.875% $250mm 3rd lien notes due '20. Suffice it to say, the capital structure is pretty "jammed." Nothing says America like guns...and leverage

Indeed, this is true of Sportco too. Sportco “sports” $23mm in prepetition ABL obligations and $249.8mm in the form of a term loan. Not too shabby on the debt side, you gun nuts!

More from our mock-up on Remington:

Shortly after Cerberus purchased the company, Barack Obama became president - a fact, on its own, that many perceived as a real "blowback" to gun ownership. Little did they know. But, then, compounding matters, the Sandy Hook incident occurred and it featured Remington's Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle. Subsequently, speeches were made. Tears were shed. Big pension fund investors like CSTRS got skittish AF. And Cerberus pseudo-committed to selling the company. Many thought that this situation was going to spark "change [you] can believe in," lead to more regulation, and curtail gun sales/ownership. But everyone thought wrong. Tears are no match for lobby dollars. Suckers. 

Instead, firearm background checks have risen for at least a decade - a bullish indication for gun sales. In a sick twist of only-in-America fate, Obama's caustic tone towards gunmakers actually helped sell guns. And that is precisely what Remington needed in order to justify its burdensome capital structure and corresponding interest expense. With Hillary Clinton set to win the the election in 2016, Cerberus' convenient inability to sell was set to pay off. 

But then that "dum dum" "ramrod" Donald Trump was elected and he enthusiastically and publicly declared that he would "never, ever infringe on the right of the people to keep and bear arms."  While that's a great policy as far as we, here, at Remington are concerned, we'd rather him say that to us in private and declare in public that he's going to go door-to-door to confiscate your guns. Boom! Sales through the roof! And money money money money for the PE overlords! Who cares if you can't go see a concert in Las Vegas without fearing for your lives. Yield baby. Daddy needs a new house in Emerald Isle. 

Wait? "How would President Trump say he's going to confiscate guns and nevertheless maintain his base?" you ask. Given that he can basically say ANYTHING and maintain his base, we're not too worried about it. #MAGA!! Plus, wink wink nod nod, North Carolina. We'd all have a "barrel" of laughs over that.  

So now what? Well, "shoot." We could "burst mode" this thing, and liquidate it but what's the fun in that. After all, we still made net revenue of $603.4mm and have gross profit margins of 20.9%. Yeah, sure, those numbers are both down from $865.1mm and 27.4%, respectively, but, heck, all it'll take is a midterm election to reverse those trends baby. 

That was a pretty stellar $260mm revenue decline for Remington. Thanks Trump!! So, how did Sportco fare?

Trump seems to be failing to make America great again for those who sell guns.

But don’t take our word for it. Per Sportco:

In the lead up to the 2016 presidential election, the Debtors anticipated an uptick in firearms sales historically attributable to the election of a Democratic presidential nominee. The Debtors increased their inventory to account for anticipated sales increases. In the aftermath of the unexpected Republican victory, the Debtors realized lower than expected sales figures for the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, with higher than expected carrying costs due to the Debtors’ increased inventory. These factors contributed to the Debtors tightening liquidity and an industry-wide glut of inventory.

Whoops. Shows them for betting against the stable genius. What are these carrying costs they refer to? No gun sales = too much inventory = storage. Long warehousemen.

Compounding matters, the company’s excess inventory butted with industry-wide excess inventory sparked by “the financial distress of certain market participants.” This pressured margins further as Sportco had to discount product to push sales. This “further eroded…slim margins and contributed to…tightening liquidity.” Per the company:

Many of the Debtors’ vendors and manufacturers suffered heavy losses as a result of the Cabela’s-Bass Pro Shop merger, Dick’s Sporting Good’s pull back from the market, and the recent Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies. Those losses adversely impacted the terms and conditions on which such vendors and manufacturers were willing to extend credit to the Debtors. With respect to the Gander Mountain and AcuSport bankruptcies, the dumping of excess product into the marketplace pushed prices—and margins— even lower. The resulting tightening of credit terms eroded the Debtors’ sales and further contributed to the Debtors’ tightening liquidity.

The company also blames some usual suspects for its chapter 11 filing. First, weather. Weather ALWAYS gets a bad rap. And, of course, the debt.

Riiiiiight. About that debt. When we previously asked “Who is Financing Guns?,” the answer, in the case of Remington, was Bank of America Inc. ($BAC)Wells Fargo Inc. ($WFC) and Regions Bank Inc. ($RF). Likewise here. Those same three institutions make up the company’s ABL lender roster. We’re old enough to remember when banks paid lip service to wanting to do something about guns.

One other issue was the company’s inability to…wait for it…REALIZE CERTAIN SUPPLY CHAIN SYNERGIES after acquiring certain assets from once-bankrupt competitor AcuSport Corporation. Per the company:

The lower than anticipated increase in customer base following the AcuSport Transaction magnified the adverse effects of the market factors discussed above and resulted in a faster than expected tightening of the Debtors’ liquidity and overall deterioration of the Debtors’ financial condition.

The company then ran into issues with its pre-petition lenders and its vendors and the squeeze was on. Recognizing that time was wearing thin, the company hired Houlihan Lokey Inc. ($HLI) to market the assets. No compelling offers came, however, and the company determined that a chapter 11 filing “to pursue an orderly liquidation…was in the best interest of all stakeholders.

R.I.P. Sportco.

*****

But not before you get in one last fight.

The glorious thing about first day papers is that they provide debtors with the opportunity to set the tone in the case. The First Day Declaration, in particular, is a narrative. A narrative told to the judge and other parties-in-interest about what was, what is, and what may be. That narrative often explains why certain other requests for relief are necessary: that is, that without them, there will be immediate and irreparable harm to the estate. The biggest one of these is typically a request for authority to tap a committed DIP credit facility and/or cash collateral to fund operations. On the flip side of that request, however, are the company’s lenders. And they often have something to say about that — objections over, say, the use of cash collateral are common.

But you don’t often see an objector re-write the entire frikken narrative and file it prior to the first hearing in the case.

Shortly after the bankruptcy filing, Prospect Capital Corporation (“PCC”), as the second lien term loan agent, unleashed an objection all over the debtors. Per PCC:

Just a few years ago, the Debtors were the largest distributor of firearms in the United States, with reported annual revenue of in excess of $770 million. Contrary to the First Day Declaration filed in these cases, the Debtors’ demise was not due to outside forces such as the “2016 presidential election,” “disruptions in the industry” and “natural disasters. Rather, as a result of dividend recapitalization transactions in 2012 and 2013, the Debtors’ equity owner, Wellspring Capital, “cashed out” in excess of $183 million. After lining their pockets with over $183 million, fiduciaries appointed by Wellspring Capital to be directors and officers of the Debtors grossly mismanaged the business and depleted all reserves necessary to weather the storms and the headwinds the business would face. In a short time, the business went from being the largest firearms distributor in the United States to being liquidated. As a result of years of mismanagement and the failure of the estates’ fiduciaries to preserve value, the Second Lien Lenders will, in all likelihood, recover only a small fraction of their $249.7 million secured loan claim. Years of mismanagement ultimately placed the Debtors in the position where they are in now….

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This sh*t just got much more interesting: y’all know we love dividend recapitalizations. Anyway, PCC went on to object to the fact that this is an in-court liquidation when an out-of-court process would be, in their view, cheaper and just as effective; they also object to the debtors’ proposed budget and use of cash collateral. The upshot is that they see very little chance of recovery of their second lien loan and want to maximize value.

Of course, the debtors be like:

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The numbers speak for themselves, they replied. They were $X of revenue between 2012 and 2016 and then, after Trump was elected, they’ve been $X-Y%. Plain and simple.

So where does this leave us? After some concessions from the DIP lenders and the debtors, the court approved the debtors requested DIP credit facility on an interim basis. The order preserves PCC’s rights to come back to the court with an argument related to cash collateral after the first lien lenders (read: the banks) are paid off in full (and any intercreditor agreement-imposed limitations on PCC’s ability to fight fall away).

Ultimately, THIS may sum up this situation best:

It’s genuinely difficult to pick the most villainous company in this story. Is it the company selling guns who made a big bet on people’s deepest fears and insecurities and then shit the bed? The private equity company bleeding the gun distributor dry and then running it straight into the ground? Or the other private equity company that is now mad it likely won’t get anything near what it paid out in the original loan to the distributor? Folks...let them fight.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure: $23.1mm ABL, $249mm term loan (Prospect Capital, Summit Partners)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: McDermott Will & Emery LLP (Timothy Walsh, Darren Azman, Riley Orloff) & (local) Polsinelli PC (Christopher Ward, Brenna Dolphin, Lindsey Suprum)

    • Board of Directors: Bradley Johnson, Alexander Carles, Justin Vorwerk

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: Winter Harbor LLC (Dalton Edgecomb)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Bank of America NA

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Daniel McGuire, Gregory Gartland, Carrie Hardman) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Amanda Steele)

    • Agent for Second Lien Lenders: Prospect Capital Corporation

      • Legal: Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP (Adam Friedman, Jonathan Koevary) & (local) Blank Rome LLP (Regina Stango Kelbon, Victoria Guilfoyle, John Lucian)

    • Prepetition ABL Lenders: Bank of America NA, Wells Fargo Bank NA, Regions Bank NA

    • Large equityholders: Wellspring Capital Partners, Summit Partners, Prospect Capital Corporation

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (Vista Outdoor Sales LLC, Magpul Industries Corporation, American Outdoor Brands Corporation, Garmin USA Inc., Fiocchi of America Inc., FN America LLC, Remington Arms Company LLC)

      • Legal: Lowenstein Sandler LLP (Jeffrey Cohen, Eric Chafetz, Gabriel Olivera) & (local) Morris James LLP (Eric Monzo)

      • Financial Advisor: Emerald Capital Advisors (John Madden)

Update 7/7/19 #115

🏥New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Insys Therapeutics Inc.🏥

Insys Therapeutics Inc.

June 10, 2019

Within a week of a massive settlement entered into with the United States Department of Justice, Insys Therapeutics Inc. ($INSY) and six affiliates have filed for bankruptcy in the District of Delaware.* The company is a specialty pharmaceutical company that commercializes drugs and drug delivery systems for targeted therapies (read: it manufactures opioids); it has two marked products. These products, if prescribed and used in the right way, aren’t in and of themselves evil (though former management is another story). Subsys is used for cancer patients and is delivered in the (non-invasive) form of an under-the-tongue spray. Syndros is used to treat loss of appetite and anorexia associated with weight loss in people with AIDS as well as nausea and vomiting caused by anti-cancer medicine. Not one to miss out on all the latest fads, the company also apparently has cannabinoid-based formulations in its pipeline. Because, like, to the extent the company wants to pursue a sale, nothing will get investor juices flowing like cannabinoid! Will its marketing get done via Snapchat and its sales conducted via the blockchain? Maybe it ought to package its formulations with fake meat. Lit!!

All in, the company owns 94 worldwide patents and 62 patent applications with expiration dates ranging between 2022 and 2039. In other words, it does have some potentially valuable intellectual property.

The company’s synopsis of why it is now in bankruptcy court reflects the world of opioid producers today:

…the Debtors are facing extensive litigation relating to their SUBSYS® product (“Subsys”), which is a prescription opioid. As of the Petition Date, one or more of the Debtors have been named in approximately one thousand lawsuits, and the Debtors anticipate that additional lawsuits may be commenced in the future. Some of the litigation they are facing is common to all opioid manufacturers, while other claims are based on particular alleged activities of the Debtors’ former executives, many of whom either pleaded guilty to or were convicted after trial of federal criminal activity relating to such activities. The expenses and settlement costs resulting from such litigation have been substantial, consuming large portions of the Debtors’ revenue and liquidity.

At the same time, over the last few years, the Debtors’ revenues from Subsys have been declining rapidly as a result of the increased national scrutiny of prescription of opioids by healthcare professionals, the resulting high-profile political and legal actions taken against manufacturers and distributors of opioids, and the specific news relating to the former executives’ criminal activity. Moreover, although the Debtors have promising products in the pipeline, those products are not yet approved for production, require significant additional investment to bring to market, and are not expected to generate revenue in the near term. As a smaller company than some other opioid manufacturers, with over 90% of its current revenue coming from the sale of opioids, Insys could not withstand the concurrent negative impact of massive litigation costs and significant opioid revenue deterioration. These factors have caused a substantial cash drain on the company to the point where, despite the Debtors’ best efforts, they risk running out of cash in 2019. (emphasis added)

We quoted that bit at length because it captures the risk that all opioid manufacturers face today given what appears to be pervasive sales and prescription practices across the country, subsuming countless companies all seeking sales and profits often in the name of shareholder value. Which is not to say that all companies and company management teams are equal: while the jury is still out in a variety of cases, here, we know that former company management engaged in some shady-a$$ methods to enrich themselves. Per Bloomberg:

In May, Insys founder and former Chief Executive Officer John Kapoor, 75, and four former executives were convicted of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to bribe doctors to boost off-label prescriptions of Subsys, a fentanyl spray originally intended to treat cancer pain. The executives baited doctors with sham speaker fees, lavish dinners and nightclub outings, and then duped insurers into covering the prescriptions, prosecutors said. Kapoor and the others each face a maximum of 20 years in prison and will be sentenced in September.

A pandemic of addiction in Wyoming, Oklahoma and elsewhere, powered by some corrupt-AF executives and their bottles-and-models loving doctor homies.

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The debtors filed their bankruptcy cases to (i) trigger the automatic stay, a statutorily imposed injunction that will, for the time being, halt ongoing litigation, (ii) pursue a sale of substantially all of their assets, and (iii) implement procedures designed to estimate categories of claims and impose distribution procedures via a plan of reorganization. Moreover, the debtors hope that a court-supervised proceeding in chapter 11 will provide the structure required to enter into additional settlements with other large groups of claimants.

As for current claims, there are lot (including a variety of professional services claims on account of indemnities and otherwise — a lot of lawyers are likely to have write-offs here). But the company has no funded debt and so the proceeds of any sale will, after professionals are paid, go to general unsecured creditors. First and foremost, the DOJ — on account of its allowed general unsecured claim ($243mm, but capped at a $195mm recovery inclusive of a $5mm prepetition payment). The DOJ will have to contend with, on an equal basis, other federal actions/settlements, state actions, municipal actions, and insurance, personal injury, securities and indemnity claimants. It’s a liability lovefest!

To address these liabilities, the debtors need asset value. To that end, the debtors are looking to establish a global sale process for their IP; they’re also looking at clawing back certain indemnification amounts they’ve paid over the years on behalf of their seemingly corrupt-AF former management; finally, they may pursue claims against their insurers for wrongful denial of coverage. All in, the debtors are seeking to maximize their estates for the purposes of broadening the potential pool for distribution to claimants. We’re all for that objective provided it can be done in a cost effective way — a rare accomplishment, these days, in bankruptcy.

*The stock, which had been trading at $1.31/share at market close on Friday, plummeted 51.45% on Monday upon the news of the bankruptcy filing. This prompted The Wall Street Journal’s Charley Grant to quip, “So much for efficient markets.” He continued:

Why the news took anyone by surprise, however, is more of a mystery. After all, Insys had given investors fair warning, just days after a federal jury convicted five former employees of engaging in a racketeering conspiracy to boost opioid sales. The company said in a report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that “it may be necessary... to file a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in order to implement a restructuring.”

In case that hint was too subtle, investors got another one last week, when Insys agreed to settle criminal and civil claims with the Justice Department for $225 million.

He forgot to mention another sign. In March we wrote:

Opioids (Long Professional Retentions)Insys Therapeutics Inc. ($INSY) has JMP Securities pursuing a divestiture of its fentanyl sublinqual spray, Subsys. The company revealed this week that Lazard has now also been hired. Per Reuters, a company spokesperson stated:

“We engaged Lazard thereafter to advise us on our capital planning and strategic alternatives across the business. These are two independent efforts.”

What kind of independent effort? Color us suspicious.

“Color us suspicious” was not-so-subtle code for “this f*cker is going to file for bankruptcy, people.” So, to Mr. Grant’s point, it should have been abundantly clear what was going to happen to any market follower actually paying attention.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Gross)

  • Capital Structure: No funded debt.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Ronit Berkovich, Candace Arthur, Olga Peshko, Brenda Funk, Ramsey Scofield, Peter Isakoff ) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (John Knight, Paul Heath, Amanda Steele, Zachary Schapiro)

    • Board of Directors: John McKenna, Trudy Vanhove, Rohit Vishnoi, Vaseem Mahboob, Andrew Long, Elizabeth Bohlen

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc.

    • Investment Banker: Lazard Freres & Co. LLC (Andrew Yearley)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (McKesson Corporation, Infirmary Health Hospitals Inc., Louisiana Health Service & Indemnity Co. d/b/a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, LifePoint Health Inc., Deborah Fuller, Julie Kay, James Starling Jr., Angela Mistrulli-Cantone, Lisa Mencucci)

      • Legal: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP (Daniel Golden, Mitchell Hurley, Arik Preis) & (local) Bayard PA (Justin Alberto, Erin Fay, Daniel Brogan)

    • MDL Plaintiffs

      • Legal: Brown Rudnick LLP (David Molton, Gerard Cicero, Kenneth Aulet, Chelsea Mullarney, Steven Pohl) & Blank Rome LLP (Stanley Tarr, Victoria Guilfoyle) & Gilbert LLP (Scott Gilbert, Craig Litherland, Kami Quinn, Jenna Hudson)

Update 7/7/19 #244

New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing -- Fusion Connect Inc.

June 3, 2019

We previously wrote about Fusion Connect Inc. ($FSNN), providers of “Unified Communications-as-a-Service” and “Infrastructure-as-a-Service” in “⛈A Dark "Cloud" on the Horizon⛈.” Therein we marveled at how special Fusion must be…to fail SO SPECTACULARLY in today’s cloud here, cloud there, cloud everywhere, everyone’s gaga for cloud environment. Cloud is SO captivating that it wasn’t until the company filed a piss poor 8-K back in April that a B. Riley FBR ($RILY) analyst FINALLY had an epiphany and declared that the company’s stock ought to be downgraded from “buy” to “neutral” (huh?!?) with a price target of $0.75 — down from $9.75/share. This is despite the fact that the stock hadn’t traded anywhere in the vicinity of $9.75/share in ages — nowhere even close, actually — but whatevs. Clearly, his head was in the cloud(s). This, ladies and gentlemen, demonstrates, in a nutshell, the utter worthlessness of equity analyst reports.🖕

But this isn’t a story about shoddy analyst research. That would be wholly unoriginal. This is a story about synergies and burdensome debt. Because, like, that’s so super original that you won’t read of it again until…well…you scroll below to the next bit of content about FTD!! 🙄

Boiled down to its simplest form, this company is the product of an acquisition strategy (and reverse merger) gone wrong. Like, in a majormajor way. Per the company:

The Company pursued the Birch Merger with a vision of leveraging its existing processes and structures to create synergies between Fusion’s and Birch’s joined customer bases, combine network infrastructure assets to improve operational efficiencies, and ultimately drive material growth in Fusion’s and Birch’s combined annual revenue. In connection with the Birch Merger and MegaPath Merger, the Company incurred $680 million in secured debt(emphasis added)

That reverse merger closed at the end of Q2, 2018. Yet…

Unfortunately, due to underperformance compared to business projections, the Company found itself with limited liquidity and at risk of default under its debt documents by early 2019.

Wait, what? Limited liquidity and risk of default by “early 2019”?!? Who the f*ck diligenced and underwrote this transaction?!? This sitch is so bad, that the company literally didn’t have enough liquidity to make a recent $6.7mm amort payment under the first lien credit agreement and a $300k interest payment on its unsecured debt. This is the company’s pre-petition capital structure:

  • $20mm super senior L+10% June 2019 debt

  • $43.3mm Tranche A Term Loans L+6.0% May 2022 debt

  • $490.9mm Tranche B Term Loans L+8.5% May 2023 debt

  • $39mm Revolving Loans L+6.0% May 2022 debt

  • $85mm Second Lien L+10.5% November 2023 debt

  • $13.3mm Unsecured Debt

Back in April we summed up the situation as follows:

The company’s recent SEC reports constitute a perfect storm of bad news. On April 2, the company filed a Form 8-K indicating that (i) a recently-acquired company had material accounting deficiencies that will affect its financials and, therefore, certain of the company’s prior filings “can no longer be relied upon,” (ii) it won’t be able to file its 10-K, (iii) it failed to make a $7mm interest payment on its Tranche A and Tranche B term loan borrowings due on April 1, 2019, and (iv) due to the accounting errors, the company has tripped various covenants under the first lien credit agreement — including its fixed charge coverage ratio and its total net leverage ratio.

Again, who diligenced the reverse merger?!? 😡

So here we are. In bankruptcy. To what end?

The company is seeking a dual-path restructuring that is all the rage these days: everyone loves to promote optionality that will potentially result in greater value to the estate. In the first instance, the company proposes, as a form of “stalking horse,” a “reorganization transaction” backed by a restructuring support agreement with certain of its lenders. This transaction would slash $300mm of the company’s $665mm of debt and result in the company’s first lien lenders owning the company. That is, unless a buyer emerges out of the woodwork with a compelling purchase price. To promote this possibility, the company is filing a bid procedures motion with the bankruptcy court with the hope of an eventual auction taking place. If a buyer surfaces with mucho dinero, the company will toggle over to a sale pursuant to a plan of reorganization. This would obviously be the optimal scenario. Absent that (and maybe even with that), we’ve got a jaw-dropping example of value destruction. “Fail fast,” many in tech say. These cloud bros listened!! Nothing like deep-sixing yourself with a misguided poorly-diligenced acquisition. Bravo!!

The company has secured a commitment for a fully-backstopped $59.5mm DIP that subsumes the $20mm in super senior pre-petition bridge financing recently provided by the first lien lenders. Is this DIP commitment good for general unsecured creditors? Is any of this generally good for unsecured creditors? Probably not.

Major creditors include a who’s who of telecommunications companies, including AT&T Inc. ($T) (first Donald Trump and now THIS…rough week for AT&T), Verizon Communications Inc. ($VZ)XO Communications (owned by VZ), Frontier Communications Corp. ($FTR)(which has its own issues to contend with as it sells assets to sure up its own balance sheet), CenturyLink Inc. ($CTL)Level 3 Communications ($LVLT)Time Warner Inc. ($TWX), and….wait for it…bankrupt Windstream Communications ($WINMQ). Because the hits just keep on coming for Windstream….

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Jurisdiction: S.D. of New York (Judge Bernstein)

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP (Gary Holtzer, Sunny Singh, Natasha Hwangpo)

    • Board of Directors: Matthew Rosen, Holcombe Green Jr., Marvin Rosen, Holcombe Green III, Michael Del Guidice, Lewis Dickey Jr., Rafe de la Gueronniere, Neil Goldman)

    • Financial Advisor: FTI Consulting Inc. (Mark Katzenstein)

    • Investment Banker: PJT Partners (Brent Herlihy, John Singh)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Ad Hoc First Lien Lender Group

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Damian Schaible, Adam Shpeen)

      • Financial Advisor: Greenhill & Co. Inc.

    • DIP Lender: Credit Suisse Loan Funding LLC

    • DIP Agent, Prepetition Super Senior Agent & Prepetition First Lien Agent: Wilmington Trust NA

      • Legal: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Michael Messersmith, Sarah Grylll, Alan Glantz)

    • Prepetition Second Lien Successor Agent: GLAS America LLC & GLAS USA LLC

    • Ad Hoc Group of Tranche A Term Loan/Revolving Lenders

      • Legal: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (Sandeep Qusba, Soogy Lee, Edward Linden)

    • Second Lien Lenders

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP (Charles Dale, Jon English)

    • Large Unsecured Creditor: AT&T

      • Legal: Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP (David Rosenzweig, Francisco Vazquez)

Updated 6/4/19 at 5:42am


New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing -- FTD Companies Inc.

FTD Companies Inc.

June 3, 2019

After the issuance of Illinois-based FTD Companies Inc’s ($FTD) most recent 10-K, everyone and their mother — well, other than maybe United Parcel Service Inc. ($UPS)* — knew that FTD was headed towards a bankruptcy court near you. It arrived.

The company is a floral and gifting company operating primarily within the United States and Canada; it (and its affiliated debtors) specializes in providing floral, specialty foods, gift and related products to consumers (direct-to-consumer), retail florists and other retail locations. The company basks in the glory of its “iconic” “Mercury Man” logo, which it alleges is “one of the most recognized logos in the world.” Seriously? Hyperbole much?🙄

Maybe…not? This, for any sort of history nerd, is actually pretty interesting:

Originally called "Florists' Telegraph Delivery Association," FTD was the world's first flowers-by-wire service and has been a leader in the floral and gifting industry for over a century. The Debtors' story began in 1910 when thirteen American retail florists agreed to exchange orders for out-of-town deliveries by telegraph, thereby eliminating prohibitively lengthy transit times that made sending flowers to friends and relatives in distant locations almost impossible. The idea revolutionized the industry, and soon independent florists all over America were telegraphing and telephoning orders to each other using the FTD network. In 1914, FTD adopted the Roman messenger god as its logo and, in 1929, copyrighted the Mercury Man® logo as the official trademark for FTD.

This company is only slightly younger than Sears (1893). And so this bankruptcy filing is a bigger deal than meets the eye. This company revolutionized flower delivery, regularly innovating and expanding its reach over its decades in business. In 1923, FTD expanded to Britain. In 1946, FTD, FTD Britain and a European clearinghouse established what is now known as Interflora to sell flowers-by-wire around the world. In 1979, the company launched an electronic system to link florists together; and in 1994, it launched its first e-commerce site. In other words, this company always tackled the “innovator’s dilemma” head on, pivoting regularly over time to seize opportunities whenever and wherever they emerged. For quite some time, this was, at least for some time, an impressive operation — seemingly always one step ahead of disruption. WE ALL LIKELY TAKE FOR GRANTED JUST HOW EASY IT IS TO DELIVER FLOWERS THESE DAYS. These guys helped make it all possible. If ever a debtor was in need of a hype man, this company is it. A read of the bankruptcy papers barely gives you a sense for the history and legacy of this company.

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Interestingly, for much of its history, the company was actually a not-for-profit. That’s right: a not-for-profit. Per the company:

For the majority of its existence, FTD operated as a not-for-profit organization run by its member florists. With the florists as its core, the Debtors' legacy business provided a powerful mix of a "local," authentic, and bespoke product, broad geographic range, and a commitment to exacting standards of quality and service. Moreover, the Debtors historically were devoted to creating an optimal product for their florist network, including through investment in innovation and technology and marketing the FTD brand and the floral industry overall. As a result, florists sought out FTD membership, and the FTD brand had (and still has) significant caché in the industry.

Amazing!

So what the hell happened? Well, the blood-sucking capitalists arrived knocking. Now-defunct Perry Capital acquired FTD in 1994 (the same year that the company established its web presence) and converted the company into a for-profit corporation. In 2000, the company IPO’d and in 2008, United Online (now owned by B.Riley Financial $RILY), merged with the company in a $800mm transaction consummated just prior to the financial crisis. Then, in 2013, FTD spun off from United Online, once again becoming a publicly-traded company on the NASDAQ exchange.

Throughout the company’s evolution, it pursued a strategy of dominating the floral market via strategic acquisitions (and, in the process, drew antitrust scrutiny a handful of times). In 2006, it acquired Interflora and in 2014, it acquired Provide Commerce LLC (ProFlowers) in a $430mm cash and equity transaction. The purchase was predicated upon uniting FTD’s B2B “Florist” business (read: FTD-to-retail-florists) and B2C (read: FTD-direct-to-consumer) businesses with Provide Commerce’s B2C model in such a way that would (i) offer customers greater choice, (ii) provide the company with expanded geographic and demographic reach, and (iii) promote cross-selling possibilities. Per the company:

…FTD anticipated that the Provide Acquisition would generate significant cost synergies through efficiencies in combined operations.

Ah, synergies. Is there anything more romantic than the thought of ever-elusive synergies?

The company incurred $120-200mm of debt to finance the transaction.** You know where this is headed. If not, well, please allow the company to spell it out for you:

Though the Provide Business Units have increased the Debtors' revenue (the Provide Business Units currently contribute more than 50% of the Debtors' total revenue) … certain shifts in the market, technological changes, and improvident strategic outcomes in connection with the implementation of the Provide Acquisition combined to (a) frustrate expectations regarding the earnings of the combined entity and (b) impair the Debtors' ability to refinance near-term maturities, which has driven the Debtors' need to commence these chapter 11 cases.

That sure escalated quickly. 😬

Let’s take a moment here, however, to appreciate what the company attempted to do. In the spirit of its long-time legacy of getting out ahead of disruption, the company identified a competitor that was quickly disrupting the floral business. Per the company:

ProFlowers had entered the floral industry as a disruptor by reimagining floral delivery to consumers. Unlike the Debtors' "asset-light" B2B business model, ProFlowers took ownership of the floral inventory and fulfilled orders directly through a company-operated supply chain. By sourcing finished bouquets directly from farms, limiting product selection, pricing strategically into the consumer demand curve, and leveraging analytically-driven direct response marketing to generate large volumes at peak periods (i.e., Valentine's Day and Mother's Day), ProFlowers appealed to a broad market of consumers who wanted an efficient order process coupled with lower cost purchases.

There’s more:

In addition to these potential opportunities, FTD also viewed the Provide Acquisition as the means to strategically position itself for success within a changing industry. At the time of the Provide Acquisition, the disruptive impact of ProFlowers was perceived as a threat to traditional business models within the floral industry (and to the Florist Member Network specifically). FTD was concerned that, if it failed to adapt and embrace shifting industry paradigms, competitors would take advantage and acquire ProFlowers to FTD's detriment. Accordingly, FTD effected the Provide Acquisition.

We clown on companies all of the time for failing to heed the signs of disruption. But, that’s not actually the case here. This company was, seemingly, on its game. Where it failed, however, was with the post-acquisition integration. It’s awfully hard to realize synergies when businesses effectively run as independent entities. Per the company:

In particular, a number of key post-acquisition targets, such as (a) floral brand alignment, (b) necessary technological investments in the combined business (e.g., the consolidation of technology/ecommerce platforms), and (c) the integration of marketing and business teams, have lagged. As a result, both the Provide Commerce and the Debtors' legacy brands suffered from internal friction and suboptimal structures within the Debtors' enterprise.

And while the company failed to integrate Provide Commerce, the industry never stopped evolving. Competitors didn’t just take the acquisition as a sign that they ought to fold up their tents and relinquish the flower industry to FTD. F*ck no. To the contrary, this is where…wait for it…AMAZON INC. ($AMZN) ENTERS THE PICTURE:***

While the Debtors struggled to unify their businesses and implement the Provide Acquisition, the floral industry – and consumer expectations – continued to evolve. Following the example set by ProFlowers, other companies began to deliver farm-sourced fresh bouquets directly to customers, increasing competition in the B2C space. In addition, the expanding influence of e-commerce platforms like Amazon transformed customer expectations, particularly with respect to ease of experience and the fast, free delivery of goods. Given the perishable and delicate nature of the product, delivery and service fees were standard in the floral industry. As e-commerce companies trained consumers to expect free or nominal cost delivery, floral service fees became anathema to many customers.

Well, Amazon AND venture capital-backed floral startups (i.e., The Bouqs Company - $43mm of VC funding) that could absorb losses in the name of customer acquisition.

The company also blames a significant number of trends that we’ve covered here in PETITION for its demise. Like, for instance, increased shipping and online marketing costs (long Facebook Inc. ($FB)), low barriers to entry for other DTC businesses (long Shopify Inc. ($SHOP)), and “the growing presence of grocers and mass merchants providing low-cost floral products and chocolate-dipped strawberries during peak holidays” (long Target Inc., ($T)Walmart Inc. ($WMT)Trader Joe’s, etc.).

Collectively, market pressures contributed to declining sales and decreased order volumes, impairing the B2C businesses' ability to leverage and capitalize on scale.

In other words, (a) chocolate-dipped strawberries have no f*cking moat whatsoever and (b) as with all other things retail, this is a perfect storm story that is best explained by factors beyond just the f*cking “Amazon Effect” (the most obvious one being: a ton of debt).

Consequently, the company has been mired in a year-plus-long process of triage; it tried to cap-ex its way out of problems, but that didn’t work; it brought in new leadership but…well…you see how that turned out; it attempted to “reinvent” its user experience to combat its techie VC-backed upstart competitors with no results; and, it sought to optimize efficiencies. None of this could stem the tide of underperformance, bolster liquidity, and, ultimately, prevent debt covenant issues. The company currently has $149.4mm of secured indebtedness on its balance sheet (comprised of a $57.4mm term loan and $92mm under a revolving credit facility). The company reports approximately $72.4mm of unsecured debt owed to providers of goods and services.

In a strange fit of irony, it was the most romantic holiday of the calendar year that spelled doom for FTD. The company’s Valentine’s Day 2018 was pathetic: aggregate consumer order volume declined 5% and, even when people did use FTD, the average order size fell by 3%.

Valentine’s Day 2019 was no better. The company materially underperformed projections again. In addition to constraining liquidity further, this had the added effect of cooling any interest prospective buyers might have in the company pre-bankruptcy.

So, where are we now?

The crown jewel of the company is the company’s B2B retail business. This segment generated $150.3mm in revenue and $42.7mm in operating income in 2018. Operating margin is approximately 30%. The B2C business (including FTD.com), on the other hand, lost $4.6mm in ‘18 (on $727.9mm of revenue) and had -1% operating margin in 2018. (PETITION Note: while these numbers are in many respects abysmal, its fun to think that if they belonged, sans debt, to one of those VC-backed upstarts, they’s probably be WAY GOOD ENOUGH for the company to IPO in today’s environment…flowers-as-a-service anyone?). Clearly, there is nothing “iconic” about this brand outside of the floral network/community.

Anywho, the company is selling the company for parts. On Mary 31, the company effectuated a sale of Interflora for $59.5mm. On June 2, the company entered into an asset purchase agreement with Nexus Capital Management LP for the purchase of certain FTD assets and the ProFlowers business for $95mm. It also entered into non-binding letters of intent to sell other assets, including Shari’s Berries to Farids & Co. LLC (which is owned by the founder of Edible Arrangements LLC, the gnarliest company we’ve ever encountered when it comes to gifts.).

All of which is to say, R.I.P. FTD. We’ll be sure to send flowers. From Bouqs.

*Why are we picking on UPS? It is listed as the largest unsecured creditor to the tune of $23.2mm. Surely they’ll be clamoring for “critical vendor” status given the core function they provide to FTD’s business.

**At one point the papers say, $120mm, at another $200mm.

***We didn’t actually realize this but, yes, of course you can buy fresh flowers on Amazon.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge Silverstein)

  • Capital Structure:

    • Secured Indebtedness:

      • $92mm Revolver

      • $57.4mm Term Loan

    • Unsecured Indebtedness

      • $72.4mm of Various Trade Claims

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Jones Day (Heather Lennox, Brad Erens, Thomas Wilson, Caitlin Cahow) & (local) Richards Layton & Finger PA (Daniel DeFranceshi, Paul Heath, Brett Haywood, Megan Kinney)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLP (Alan Holtz, Scott Tandberg, Jason Muscovich, Job Chan, Bassaam Fawad, J.C. Chang)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Company & Piper Jaffray Companies

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:


⛽️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC⛽️

White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC

May 28, 2019

Hey look. It’s Tuesday. It must be time for another oil and gas bankruptcy filing! White Star Petroleum Holdings LLC is the latest oil and gas company to make an oh-so-2015-like appearance in bankruptcy court. No need to knock your skull or check your watch: yes, it is very much 2019.*

The company, formerly known as American Energy — Woodford LLC, was originally formed in 2013 by American Energy Partners LP, a shared services platform founded by Aubrey McClendon, the eccentric wildcatter who plowed his life (literally) and billions of dollars of cash into the exploration and production business. In 2014, The Energy & Minerals Group LP (“EMG”) and other investors cut an equity check and, in this case, it didn’t take Mr. McClendon as long as usual to fail: by 2016, the company and its businesses were separated from American Energy to become White Star, a standalone company independent of the American Energy platform. Of course, in typical McClendon fashion, the company sprayed and prayed for a while prior to the transition, gobbling up Mississippian Lime and Woodford Shale assets along the way.

Which is not to say that, post separation/transition, the company just sat on its hands. In 2016 and thereafter, the company extended its shopping spree. First it acquired additional Mississippian Lime and Woodford Shale assets from Devon Production Company LP for approximately $200mm (funded in part by equity from ESG and borrowings under the company’s revolving credit facility). Then it acquired Lighthouse Oil and Gas LP (which was 49.4% minority owned by EMG, but whatevs) through a combination of equity and more borrowings under the credit facility. Finally, the company expanded its portfolio into the Sooner Trend Anadarko Canadian Kingfisher area with borrowings under its credit facility. If you’ve been paying attention, yes, E&P is a capital intensive business: there’s a reason why so many of these companies are levered up the wazoo.

What did that capital buy? “As of December 31, 2018, the Debtors had proved reserves of approximately 84.4 million barrels of oil equivalent (“boe”) across approximately 315,000 net leasehold acres….” But, to be sure, this is a company that focuses its exploration and production on “unconventional” resource plays. Said another way, it is a horizontal driller and hydraulic fracker: its assets tend to produce in high volume for two or so years and then tail off considerably requiring capital to acquire and develop a steady stream of new wells. Of course, an investment in new wells only works if the commodity environment permits it to. With oil and gas trading where it has been trading, well…suffice it to say…the environment is proving unaccommodating. Per the company:

“Despite controlling significant leasehold and mineral acreage in the MidContinent region, due to the declines in commodity prices in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the Debtors’ financial condition, the Debtors ceased drilling new wells in April 2019 and have not resumed such activities as of the Petition Date.”

Consequently, the company suffered a net loss of $114mm in 2018 after losing $14mm in 2017; it has negative working capital of $61mm as of 12/31/18 and $70mm as of the petition date. This sucker is burning cash.

The company’s capital structure looks as follows:

Source: First Day Declaration

Source: First Day Declaration

The current capital structure is the result of clear triage undertaken by the company in the midst of a severe commodity downturn. WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH: nearly every oil and gas exploration and production company under the sun was forced into some sort of balance sheet transaction around the 2015 time period — many in-court, others out-of-court in an attempt to stave off bankruptcy. Here, notably, the $10.3mm of unsecured notes represent the remnants of a distressed exchange that took place in 2015 whereby approximately $340mm of unsecured notes (with a 9% cash-pay interest coupon) were exchanged for approximately $348mm 12% second lien notes. Thereafter, in late 2015 and extending through August 2016, the company entered into a series of cash and equity transactions that took out the second lien notes in a cash-draining attempt to strengthen the balance sheet and extend liquidity (by way of reduced interest expense)**. The company was effectively playing whack-a-mole.

Alas, the company is in bankruptcy. That happens when your primary sources of capital are large equity checks, borrowings under a credit facility, and proceeds from producing oil and gas properties in a rough price environment. Of course, not all oil and gas properties are created equal either. This company happens to frack in challenging territory. Per the company:

Independent oil and gas companies, such as the Debtors, with Mississippian Lime-weighted assets in the Mid-Continent region have been particularly hard-hit by volatile market conditions in recent years and the majority of the Debtors’ peers in the region have filed for chapter 11 since 2015. This is in large part due to operational challenges unique to the region, including complex geological characteristics. One of these challenges is the Mississippian Lime’s relatively high ratio of “saltwater” to produced oil and gas. During the normal production of oil and gas, saltwater mixed with hydrocarbon byproducts comes to the surface, and its separation and disposal increases production costs. Low production volumes and higher than expected production costs, together with allegations that increased saltwater injection by the operators in the area caused increased seismic activity, resulted in many operators reducing activity and many capital providers discounting asset values in the region.

Recognizing the dire nature of the situation, the company’s RBL lenders effectuated a debilitating borrowing base redetermination that created a deficiency payment that the company simply couldn’t manage. This triggered a “potential” Event of Default under the facility. Thereafter, the company entered into an amendment with the RBL lenders with the hope of securing some capital to refinance the RBL. Spoiler alert: the company couldn’t get it done. The amendment also dictated that the company attempt to secure a buyer so as to repay the debt. To chapter 11 filing is meant to aid that marketing and sale process.*** To aid this process, the company has a commitment from MUFG Union Bank NA, its prepetition RBL Agent, for a DIP credit facility of $28.5mm as well as the use of cash collateral.

*We’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight that in the “AlixPartners 14th Annual Turnaround & Restructuring Experts Survey” released in February 2019, oil and gas was listed as the second most likely sector to face distress, with 36% of respondents predicting it would be a hot and heavy sector (up from 31% the in 2018).

**The company also refinanced its RBL, sold midstream and non-strategic properties and adjusted midstream pipeline commitments.

***Some trigger happy creditors beat the company to the punch here. On May 24, five “purported” creditors filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition against the company in the Western District of Oklahoma. Considering Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations Inc. ($GE) is among the top 5 largest creditors, we can’t say we’re that surprised.

  • Jurisdiction: D. of Delaware (Judge )

  • Capital Structure: see above.

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP (Andrew Dietderich, Brian Glueckstein, Alexa Kranzley) & (local) Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnel LLP (Derek Abbott, Gregory Werkheiser, Tamara Mann, Joseph Barsalona)

    • Independent Director: Patrick Bartels Jr.

    • Financial Advisor: Alvarez & Marsal LLC (Ed Mosley)

    • Investment Banker: Guggenheim Securities LLC

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • RBL Agent: MUFG Union Bank NA

      • Legal: Winston & Strawn LLP (Justin Rawlins)

    • TL Agent: EnLink Oklahoma Processing LP

    • Indenture Trustee: Wilmington Trust NA

New Chapter 11 Filing - Elk Petroleum Inc.

Elk Petroleum Inc.

May 22, 2019

On May 22nd 2019, Elk Petroleum Aneth, LLC and Resolute Aneth, LLC voluntarily filed petitions for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with a restructuring support agreement with their noteholders. The debtors already have a plan of reorganization on file. Per the disclosure statement, the debtors claim that the cause of its financial distress and eventual bankruptcy was due to:

Debtors’ ambitious endeavors to acquire multiple oil and gas assets outpaced the Debtors’ balance sheet, and in certain respects, performance of the operated and non-operated assets failed to meet initial expectations.

The debtors tried to alleviate uncertainty of future cash flows through hedging oil prices. Oil prices went up, however, not down, and the hedging was, with the benefit of 50/50 hindsight, clearly a bad mistake. Here is what they have to say about that:

Debtors were unable to capture the financial benefits of the improving commodity price environment due to their hedge obligations under the BP ISDA.

Whoops. The Debtors are to receive $10mm in Debtor-in-Possession financing by certain supporting noteholders. All in all, the cause of distress continues to align with the reason for other bankruptcy filings in O&G land we’ve touched on. High fixed costs, lower than expected revenues and impatient lenders.

  • Jurisdiction: District of Delaware (Judge Laurie Silverstein)

  • Pre-Petition Capital Structure:

    • Revolving Credit Facility: $14.5mm FO Revolver (AB Elk Holdings LLC)

    • First Lien Credit Facility: $114.0mm TL (HPS Investment Partners)

    • Unsecured Debt: $54.9mm TL (LIM Asia Special Situations Master Fund Limited, AB Elk Holdings, ACR Multi-Strategy Quality Return (MQR) Fund, A Series of Investment Management Series Trust II (“ACR”), Fulcrum Energy Capital Fund II, LLC)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Proposed Debtors & Debtors-in-Possession - Norton Rose Fulbright LLP (Gregory M. Wilkes, Kristian W. Gluck, Scott P. Drake, John N. Schwartz & Shivani Shah) Womble Bond Dickinson LLP (Matthew P. Ward & Morgan L. Patterson)

    • Financial Advisor: Ankura Consulting Group, LLC (Scott M. Pinsonnault), Opportune LLP

    • Investment Banker: Stephens Inc.

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • HPS Investment Partners: Provider of First Lien Term Loan

    • Certain unsecured loan holders:

      • AB Co-Invest Elk Holdings LLC

    • Certain secured debt holders:

      • AB Elk Holdings LLC

      • Riverstone Credit Partners - Direct, L.P.

      • Riverstone Credit Partners II - Direct LP

      • Riverstone Strategic Credit Partners S, L.P.

      • Riverstone Strategic Credit Partners A-2 AIV, L.P.

😷New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc.😷

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

May 20, 2019

We were right and we were wrong. Back in November 2018, in “😬Biopharma is in Pain😬 ,” we snidely wrote, “Do Pills Count as ‘Healthcare’? Short Biopharma” riffing on the common trope that healthcare was a hot spot for restructuring activity.* No, we argued: the activity is really in publicly-traded biopharma companies with little to no sales, too much debt (and usually busted convertible notes) and attractive intellectual property. We went on to predict that Synergy Pharmaceuticals Inc. ($SGYP) and Aegerion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (a subsidiary of Novelion Therapeutics Inc. ($NVLN)) would both file for bankruptcy. Ding ding!!! We were right.** The former filed back in December and, now, the latter is also in bankruptcy court. Of course, with respect to the latter, we also wrote, “[c]ome February — if not sooner — it may be in bankruptcy court.” But let’s not split hairs.***

The company manufactures two approved therapies, JUXTAPID and MYALEPT, that treat rare diseases. On Sunday, we’ll discuss the future of these therapies and what the company seeks to achieve with this restructuring.

*To be fair, the healthcare space has, indeed, picked up in activity since then.

**For what it’s worth, we also predicted that Orchids Paper Products Company ($TIS) would be in bankruptcy soon, writing “This company doesn’t produce enough toilet paper to wipe away this sh*tfest. See you in bankruptcy court.” Three for three: this is precisely why — wait for the shameless plug — you should become a PETITION Member today.

***Maturity of the bridge loan was initially February 15, 2019 but the debtors had a right to extend, which they did.

  • Jurisdiction: Southern District of New York (Judge )

  • Capital Structure: $36.1mm 8% PIK ‘19 secured Novelion Intercompany Loan, $73.8mm Bridge Loan (Highbridge Capital Management LLC and Athyrium Capital Management LP), $304mm 2% unsecured convertible notes (The Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company NA)

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP (Paul Shalhoub, Andrew Mordkoff)

    • Financial Advisor/CRO: AlixPartners LLP (John Castellano)

    • Investment Banker: Moelis & Co. (Barak Klein)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • DIP Agent: Cantor Fitzgerald Securities

    • Ad Hoc Group of Convertible Noteholders

      • Legal: Latham & Watkins LLP & King & Spalding LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Ducera Partners LLC

    • Novelion

      • Legal: Goodwin Proctor LLP & Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

      • Financial Advisor: Evercore

🛌New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy & CCAA Filing - Hollander Sleep Products LLC🛌

Hollander Sleep Products LLC

May 19, 2019

Florida-based private equity owned Hollander Sleep Products LLC and six affiliates (including one Canadian affiliate) have filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York. The debtors are “the largest bed pillow and mattress pad manufacturer in North America.” The debtors produce pillows, comforters and mattress pads for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Simmons, Beautyrest, Nautica and Calvin Klein; their products are available at major retailers like Costco Wholesale Corporation ($COST), Kohl’s Corporation ($KSS), Walmart Inc. ($WMT) and Target Inc. ($TGT) and with the Marriott International Inc. ($MAR) chain of hotels; they have a main showroom in New York City, nine manufacturing facilities throughout the US and Canada, and a sourcing, product development and quality control office in China. Speaking of China, 60% of the debtors’ top 10 creditors are Chinese companies.

Why bankruptcy? Interestingly, the debtors colorfully ask, “How Did We Get Here?” And the answer appears to be a combination of (a) “[r]ecent substantial price increases on materials” like fiber, down and feathers, (b) acquisition integration costs, (c) too much competition in a low margin space, (d) employee wage increases “as a result of natural wage inflation and the tight job market” and (e) too much leverage. The debtors burned through $20mm in the last year on material cost increases alone (it opted NOT to pass price increases on to the consumer), straining liquidity to the point that, at the time of filing, the company had less than $1mm of cash on hand.

With the filing, the debtors seek to restructure approximately $166.5mm of term debt, effectuating a debt-for-equity swap in the new reorganized entity (plus participation in a $30mm exit facility). 100% of the debtors’ term lenders support the plan. As does lender and equity sponsor, Sentinel Capital Partners LLC. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that they truly want to own the post-reorg company. Indeed, the debtors have indicated that while they march towards plan confirmation (which they say will be in four months), they will also entertain the possibility of a sale of the company to a third-party. These dual-track chapter 11 cases are all the rage these days, see, e.g., Shopko.

If approved by the bankruptcy court, the bankruptcy will be funded by a $118mm DIP credit facility which will infuse the debtors with $28mm in incremental new money and roll-up the debtors’ prepetition asset-backed first priority credit facility.

The debtors note that “the sleep industry as a whole is both healthy and growing. Market trends favor healthy lifestyle sectors, and the basic bedding segment is generally recession resilient.” We have no quibble with either comment. The company believes that by, among other things, (i) delevering its balance sheet, (ii) gaining access to new capital, (iii) engaging in selective price increases, (iv) implementing material efficiencies, (v) streamlining manufacturing, and (vi) building out their e-commerce channel, it will have a more sustainable path forward. Whether that path will be taken at the direction of their lenders or a strategic buyer remains to be seen.

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

  • Capital Structure: $125mm ABL ($43mm funded), $166.5mm term loan

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (Joshua Sussberg, Christopher Greco, Joseph Graham, Andrew McGaan, Laura Krucks)

    • Board of Directors: Eric Bommer, Michael Fabian, Steve Cumbow, Chris Baker

    • Disinterested Director: Matthew Kahn

      • Legal: Proskauer Rose LLP

    • Financial Advisor: Carl Marks Advisory Group LLC (Mark Pfefferle)

    • Investment Banker: Houlihan Lokey Capital Inc. (Saul Burian)

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Prepetition and ($90mm) DIP ABL Agent: Wells Fargo Bank NA

      • Legal: Goldberg Kohn Ltd. (Randall Klein, Prisca Kim) & (local) Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP (Laura Metzger, Peter Amend)

    • ($28mm) DIP Term Loan Agent:

5/2/19, #2

⚡️New Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Filing - Empire Generating Co LLC⚡️

Empire Generating Co LLC

May 19, 2019

We love when companies that have been circling around the bankruptcy bowl finally get flushed into bankruptcy court. Empire Generating Company is a name that has been kicking around distressed circles for some time now: The Wall Street Journal wrote about it a year ago, back in May 2018. Alas, it now sits within the Southern District of New York. It is the latest in a line of power producers to file for bankruptcy in recent years.

The company owns and operates a (now) dual-fuel power plant in Rensselaer New York; as a merchant power plant, it sells electricity in the wholesale market that ultimately helps power New York’s electrical grid. Very soon, it will likewise be able to generate revenue in New England. In fiscal year 2017, the company generated $91.8mm of revenue and $16.77 of EBITDA. EBITDA decreased to $11.05mm in 2018. The company also has a meaningful amount of debt. As of the petition date, its outstanding owed amounts under its credit facility total $353.4mm. Its $20mm revolver matured in March 2019.

The company cites some interesting causes for its filing. First, it gives an economics 101 lesson, saying that coal and nuclear facilities in New York haven’t been retired quickly enough to limit electricity supply and put upward pressure on prices. Second, it blames progressives (Cuomo!!): New York’s Clean Energy Standard requires that 50% of NY’s electricity come from renewables by 2030, creating yet another supply/demand imbalance that has placed “downward pressure on the price for energy generated by other sources.” Third, unlike retailers who blame bad weather for under performance all of the time, this company actually has a viable excuse: the abnormally cold winter of 2017/2018 increased natural gas prices, compressing the company’s margins. At the time, the company wasn’t yet “dual-fuel” and, therefore, relied exclusively on natural gas whereas competitors could toggle to more economical fuel oil instead. This confluence of factors ultimately led the company to default under its loan docs.

The company has since been in a state of perpetual forbearance with an ad hoc group of pre-petition lenders. It was on the verge of a prepackaged solution to its balance sheet but time ticked away and the company’s pesky lenders traded out of their respective positions. Per the company:

Once the debt trades settled, approximately 55% of the Credit Facility was held by the Consenting Lenders (Black Diamond and MJX), and approximately 34% of the Credit Facility was held by funds managed by Ares Capital (“Ares”).

For the uninitiated, debtors need 2/3 of the amount of a particular tranche of debt to approve a deal for a plan of reorganization to be confirmed by the bankruptcy court. As you can see from the percentages above, Ares Capital and the “Consenting Lenders” (Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC) had “blocking positions,” eliminating the possibility of surpassing the required threshold. Months of negotiations ensued and, apparently, Ares and Black Diamond simply couldn’t get along. Uh, yeah, bros: Black Diamond is kinda known for not getting along. Just sayin.

In lieu of an agreement with those parties, the company has secured, pursuant to a restructuring support agreement, a commitment by Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC to credit bid — subject to higher and better offers — their debt in exchange for a 100% interest in the reorganized company. The company has, in turn, rejected a proposal from Ares Capital that would confer $37.8mm in cash and 89.75% equity of an acquisition vehicle as consideration for the company’s assets (which it values at a total of $369mm). Why? It concluded that the offer was neither higher nor better than the credit bid; it also had concerns about valuation, approval and feasibility (feasibility!!!!!). Otherwise, the company be like, “PEACE, B*TCHES, WE DON’T WANT NO PART OF THIS INTERCREDITOR DISPUTE.”

And an intercreditor dispute there is! Ares objected right away to the company’s proposed cash collateral, among other things, saying that Black Diamond is steering the company like a meek little sheep. The objection is too lengthy to recant here but, suffice it to say, it looks like we can expect an old school private equity battle over the course of the case. Judge Drain more or less shot down Ares at the hearing, questioning, even, whether they had standing to object; he then went on to amend the proposed cash collateral order.

Absent a settlement between the funds, this will not be the last fight in the case. Pop the popcorn.

  • Jurisdiction: (Judge Drain)

  • Capital Structure: $20mm RCF, $430mm Term B loan, $30mm Term C loan

  • Professionals:

    • Legal: Steinhilber Swanson LLP (Michael Richman) & Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP (Peter Partee Sr., Robert Rich, Michael Legge)

    • Financial Advisor: RPA Advisors (Chip Cummins)

    • Investment Banker:

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

  • Other Parties in Interest:

    • Secured Lenders: Black Diamond Capital Management LLC & MJX Asset Management LLC

      • Legal: Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP (Christine Okike, Albert Hogan III, Carl Tullson)

    • Secured Lender: Ares Capital LP

      • Legal: Kirkland & Ellis LLP (James Sprayragen, Brian Schartz, Anup Sathy, Stephen Hackney, Alexandra Schwarzman)

    • Secured Lender: Starwood

      • Legal: Vinson & Elkins LLP (Steven Abramowitz)

    • Ad Hoc Group

      • Legal: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

    • Agent: Ankura Trust Company

      • Legal: Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP (Darren Klein)