Plans of Reorganization

The Wall Street Journal reports on the winning bid in the 36-hour auction for control of Hertz in anticipation of its emergence from bankruptcy later this summer.  The winning bidders, a group of co-investors led by Knighthead Capital Management and Certares Management, will buy the bulk of Hertz’s equity upon emergence for $2.8 billion.  Assuming

After more than one year since the Paycheck Protection Program, or PPP, was established pursuant to the US Cares Act in March 2020, the Small Business Administration (“SBA”) has recently reversed its policy that prohibited companies in bankruptcy from applying for PPP funding due to their status as debtors in bankruptcy.  Specifically, on April 6, 2021, SBA released new guidance as part of its eighth version of Frequently Asked Questions for Borrowers and Lenders Participating in the Paycheck Protection Program,[1] which clarifies what it means to be “presently involved in any bankruptcy.”  As set forth in greater detail below, this newly-issued guidance removes bankruptcy as a roadblock to PPP funding and now permits companies on the road out of bankruptcy to apply for PPP loans before the program’s May 31, 2021 deadline.
Continue Reading Too Little Too Late? After Much Debate, SBA Allows Debtors to Access PPP Loans – But Only on a Limited Basis

In a March 2021 decision in the jointly administered bankruptcy cases of Fencepost Productions, Inc. and certain of its affiliates, Judge Dale L. Somers of the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Kansas declined to enforce a voting restriction in subordination agreements between two of the debtors’ creditors, but nonetheless found that the deeply subordinated creditors were barred from voting on the debtors’ plan because they lacked prudential standing.[1] In declining to enforce the contractual voting restriction, the decision defies a trend toward enforcing subordination and intercreditor agreement terms – so long as they are specific and express – even if such terms may limit a party’s statutory rights as a creditor in bankruptcy. Instead, Judge Somers applied a federal court jurisdictional doctrine, the relevance of which can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Continue Reading In re Fencepost Productions: Prudential Standing Doctrine Blocks a Subordinated Creditor from Voting

Bloomberg Law reports that that the U.S. Trustee’s Office is working to combat the recent rise of “pre-packaged” chapter 11 bankruptcy filings. A pre-packaged bankruptcy or a “pre-pack” refers to the circumstances in which a debtor negotiates its reorganizational agreements with key stakeholders before filing its chapter 11 case and then files and confirm its

On Friday, March 19, 2021, Congressional lawmakers introduced a bill that would amend the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to prohibit bankruptcy judges from permanently enjoining or releasing legal claims of states, tribes, municipalities or the U.S. government against non-debtors.

According to media reports, the bill, which is named the “SACKLER Act,” (i.e., the “Stop Shielding Assets from Corporate Known Liability by Eliminating Non-Debtor Releases Act”) is specifically designed to prevent members of the Sackler family, who own OxyContin-maker Purdue Pharma LP, from using the bankruptcy process to obtain legal releases from government lawsuits.  Purdue Pharma LP filed for bankruptcy in September 2019, but none of the members of the Sackler family have filed for bankruptcy as individuals.  Nevertheless, the Sacklers have offered to contribute roughly $4.28 billion as part of a proposed bankruptcy plan to fund payouts to victims who suffered injuries linked to Purdue Pharma’s opioids over the next decade in exchange for legal releases that would enjoin claims against the Sackler family.  If approved, those legal releases would shield the Sackler family from further liability related to the opioid crisis, something that many state attorneys general have ardently opposed. 
Continue Reading Wither Non-Debtor Releases? Purdue Pharma and the Proposed SACKLER Act

Bloomberg reports that HighPoint Resources Corp. received approval for its chapter 11 reorganization plan, clearing the way for its merger with Bonanza Creek Energy Inc. less than one week after filing for bankruptcy protection.  The fully-consensual plan, which carried the support of more than 99% of impaired claimants, deleverages HighPoint’s balance sheet by approximately $625 million vis-à-vis an unsecured debt-for-equity swap and an issuance of new unsecured notes totaling $100 million.  Existing equityholders are even slated to receive 1.6% of the new equity in the combined company.  [Bloomberg; Mar. 18, 2021].

Continue Reading What We’re Reading This Week [March 22, 2021]

On March 10, 2021, the parent company of sports club and gym-operator Town Sports International, LLC, filed a motion seeking to set aside a purported $250,000 settlement agreement between Town Sports and the New York Attorney General arguing that the agreement (1) was barred by the terms of Town Sports’ confirmed chapter 11 plan and (2) in any case, not authorized by Town Sports but instead only by one of its prior attorneys.

As noted in our prior post on the case, Town Sports has been embroiled in litigation with the New York Attorney General since September 2020, when the attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Town Sports arguing that it improperly failed to honor certain of its members’ cancellation requests, and instead continued to assess monthly membership fees, during the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and related government shutdown orders.  The parties appeared to have settled their lawsuit on March 4, 2021, when a New York state court
Continue Reading Settled or Not? Town Sports Challenges Settlement it Purportedly Entered into with New York Attorney General

Reporting from CNBC indicates that Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has proposed a $10 billion plan to exit bankruptcy.  According to sources, the exit plan not only includes a significant contribution of more than $4 billion from members of the Sackler family who own the Connecticut-based pharmaceutical giant, but also calls for the pharmaceutical

Just after 5:00 p.m. Central Time on February 23, 2021, Belk, Inc. and its affiliates filed chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, along with a proposed “prepackaged” plan of reorganization.   Before midnight, the US Trustee objected to Belk’s plan, and, by 8:00 a.m. the next day, the parties were in court to decide plan confirmation.  Two hours later, Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur confirmed the plan, and it became effective that afternoon, just 20 hours after the Chapter 11 cases were filed.  Typically, chapter 11 debtors take many months, if not longer, to confirm a plan, and even prepackaged bankruptcy cases like Belk’s often take several weeks from filing to confirmation.   As we discuss in this post, Belk’s swift bankruptcy case is part of a growing trend of bankruptcy courts confirming chapter 11 plans shortly after case filing where there is adequate notice and creditor buy-in prior to the filing.

Continue Reading Belk Chapter 11 Plan Confirmed and Effective Within 24 Hours of Bankruptcy Filing

In a recent decision in In re Nuverra Environmental Solutions, Inc., No. 18-3084, 2021 WL 50160 (3d Cir. Jan 6, 2021), a divided Third Circuit panel held that an appeal of a Chapter 11 plan confirmation order was equitably moot and that the dissenting unsecured creditor who filed the appeal, David Hargreaves, was not entitled to individualized relief.  Under the confirmed Chapter 11 plan in Nuverra, secured creditors did not receive payment in full and creditors that were holders of prepetition unsecured notes, including Hargreaves, received cash and securities equal to only six percent of the face value of their note claims, while trade creditors were entitled to be paid in full.  The plan proponents described the full payment to these unsecured trade creditors as a “gift” from the secured creditors, who were undersecured based on the debtors’ enterprise value under the plan.

Continue Reading Opinion of Interest – In re Nuverra Environmental Solutions, Inc.