Bloomberg confirms that 2020 was the biggest year for large commercial bankruptcies since the Great Recession in 2009.  Led by the energy, retail, and consumer services sectors, 224 companies with liabilities exceeding $50 million filed Chapter 7 and 11 cases, far exceeding the number of large filings each year in the preceding decade. Bloomberg also

As reported in Yahoo Finance, the first trading day of 2021 was off to a rocky start in the U.S.  Despite progress on COVID vaccine distribution, markets reacted to the discovery of a highly transmissible strain of COVID in the US, which comes with a greater risk of lockdowns, along with uncertainty surrounding the

Bloomberg reports that Revlon Inc. was able to exchange approximately $236.5 million of its $343 million in outstanding bonds that were scheduled to mature in 2021 in a deal that the company said should eliminate the need for a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the near future. [Bloomberg; Nov. 11, 2020]

The Washington Post reports

BJ Services, a Texas-based provider of hydraulic fracturing (i.e., “fracking”) and cementing services for upstream oil and gas companies, filed for chapter 11 protection on July 20, 2020, in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, along with three of its affiliates.  Their chapter 11 filings were prompted by unsuccessful restructuring negotiations with one of their equity sponsors—CSL Capital Management—which would have provided a $75 million new money investment, including $30 million in the form of DIP financing, in exchange for the majority of the reorganized equity.  Citing commodity price volatility and an unmanageable capital structure, the debtors have been pursuing an orderly wind-down and confirmation of a chapter 11 liquidation plan, the cornerstone of which was a sale process for six asset packages:  (a) cementing business; (b) fracking business; (c) certain equipment related to the cementing business; (d) certain equipment related to the fracking business; (e) shared lab equipment; and (f) other miscellaneous equipment (e.g., tractors).

Continue Reading BJ Services, LLC, et al.: Not-So-Smooth Sailing for Credit Bidders

Research from the Brookings Institute finds that the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on firm profits and revenues thus far is comparable to the worst quarter of the 2008-2009 financial crisis. The researchers further project that bankruptcy filings will increase by as much as 140 percent this year compared with last year. [Brookings; Sept. 23, 2020]

Bloomberg

Houston, TX-based oil services provider SAExploration Holdings Inc. has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, reports the Wall Street Journal. SAExploration reportedly owes $6.8 million on a unsecured loan it received through the Paycheck Protection Program of the CARES Act. [WSJ; Aug.

Retail Ecommerce Ventures (“REV”), an investment firm that seeks to convert struggling brick-and-mortar brands into successful e-commerce brands, has purchased the intellectual property and e-commerce assets of Pier 1 Imports for $31 million, reports Forbes.  REV also recently purchased the intellectual property and e-commerce assets of Dressbarn, which has seen growth in revenue since

Reporting from Reuters discusses how large firms that have filed for bankruptcy relief since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic have awarded bonuses to executives shortly before filing for bankruptcy. Of the 40 large firms investigated, Reuters found that approximately one-third awarded bonuses to executives within the month before filing for bankruptcy. [Reuters; July 17,

The New York Times reports that natural gas extraction company Chesapeake Energy Corporation has sought chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Chesapeake’s bankruptcy is reportedly the largest bankruptcy of a United States oil and gas company since 2015 (N.Y. Times; June 29, 2020)

German fintech

Reporting from the New York Times suggests that the United States economy may be heading for a “COVID-19 cliff,” in which distressed businesses that have made efforts to amass and conserve cash throughout the COVID-19 pandemic will be forced to spend money at an unsustainable rate as economies reopen and government pandemic relief programs expire