Expedited Pre-Packs: Balancing Cost-Saving with Adequacy of Notice

In HighPoint Resources Corporation, Case No. 21-10565-CSS (Bankr. D. Del. 2021), the U.S. Trustee’s office filed an objection (Dkt. No. 48) to the rapid confirmation of the Debtors’ plan of reorganization, among other things, indicating its concern regarding the recent trend of expedited pre-packaged plans because of their failure to provide interested parties with adequate notice.

Expedited Pre-Packs

In a typical bankruptcy, a debtor files for bankruptcy, notifies its creditors and other interested parties, prepares compressive schedules, proposes a plan of reorganization and solicits votes on such plan with a disclosure statement. This will often take anywhere from 6 to 20 months, and sometimes much longer.

By contrast, as discussed in our prior post entitled “Rocket Confirmations Gain Traction,” an expedited pre-packaged plan (a “Pre-Pack”) occurs when a debtor files its bankruptcy petition having already solicited votes on a confirmable plan, and a court approves the debtor’s plan within the first few weeks and sometimes, as in In re Belk Inc., Case No. 21-3060630 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2021), within the first 24 hours of the filing of the debtor’s bankruptcy petition. Continue reading “Expedited Pre-Packs: Balancing Cost-Saving with Adequacy of Notice”

Rocket Confirmations Gain Traction

Early evening on February 23, 2021, Belk Inc. and its affiliates (collectively, “Belk”) filed their Chapter 11 bankruptcy petitions in the Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Less than seventeen hours later, Judge Marvin Isgur confirmed Belk’s pre-packed plan of reorganization. Belk is not the first Chapter 11 bankruptcy case to accomplish plan confirmation within the first twenty-four hours after filing a petition, and it certainly won’t be the last. In 2019, Sungard Availability Services Capital, Inc. and its affiliates filed their Chapter 11 petitions and similarly confirmed their plan the following day. Likewise, FullBeauty Brands Inc., a retailer like Belk, also achieved plan confirmation less than 24-hours after filing its Chapter 11 petition earlier in 2019.
Continue reading “Rocket Confirmations Gain Traction”

Credit Bidding Part III: Some Additional Considerations

Parts I and II in this series discussed certain of the statutory predicates of credit bidding and some considerations for structuring such a bid. Here in Part III, we will address some additional issues that a lender must take into account when deciding to credit bid its debt and some documentary considerations. As its name implies, the predominant form of consideration in a credit bid is often the lender’s debt. Lenders, however, cannot ignore another component of consideration often needed to consummate a transaction, cash. Continue reading “Credit Bidding Part III: Some Additional Considerations”

Credit Bidding Part II: Important Mechanics

In Part I of this three part series we noted the likelihood that credit bidding will be more prevalent in today’s unpredictable economic environment and discussed some of the statutory backdrop. Here, in Part II, we will discuss certain mechanics that are associated with making, and later consummating, a credit bid.

Rather than risk holding assets in an entity that was not organized with that in mind (e.g., a bank), lenders will often organize a new “acquisition vehicle” (e.g., a limited liability company) for purposes of consummating, if not making, a credit bid. The form of the entity may depend on the assets to be acquired. For example, lenders in a recent transaction formed a trust, rather than LLC, to acquire their helicopter collateral. Continue reading “Credit Bidding Part II: Important Mechanics”

Credit Bidding Part I: An Important Tool for Lenders

For many secured lenders, the concept of credit bidding in bankruptcy is generally understood yet infrequently explored in practice. In today’s extremely uncertain economic environment, third-party alternatives may not present themselves as M&A activity and acquisition financing have slowed significantly with the spread of COVID-19. As a result, credit bidding could gain momentum as lenders look for self-help alternatives to maximize their recoveries. In three related posts, we will address (i) the statutory predicates for a credit bid, (ii) certain mechanics involved in structuring and consummating a credit bid, and (iii) the need to raise cash to close a credit bid, as well as items to consider when drafting loan documentation that may facilitate a credit bid in the event of a borrower’s bankruptcy. Continue reading “Credit Bidding Part I: An Important Tool for Lenders”

A Landlord’s Primer For An Uncertain Retail Environment

Landlords are often among the very first to feel the impacts of their tenant’s financial woes. In today’s unpredictable economic environment, many businesses are forced to shut their stores temporarily while the risks of COVID-19 continue to play out. Within the last few days many large and small retailers have unilaterally announced publicly that they would not be paying upcoming rent. In these unprecedented times, landlords must be aware of the risks they face in light of what is certain to be a previously unheard of level of tenant defaults. Noted below are a number of things that landlords should take into consideration and be aware of, both in anticipation of a tenant’s bankruptcy and following such an event. Of course, the discussion below is intended only to highlight certain points and careful consideration must be given to each in the particular circumstances that a landlord may find itself. Continue reading “A Landlord’s Primer For An Uncertain Retail Environment”

Small Business Reorganization Act Will Bring Changes to Preference Litigation

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (the “Act”) will go into effect on February 19, 2020. Most of the attention given to the new law deservedly addresses the impact of those provisions that are intended to streamline the bankruptcy process for “small business debtors” that might not otherwise have the financial resources to reorganize under Chapter 11. Recognizing that a Chapter 11 proceeding has become very expensive, lawmakers have offered small business owners (generally persons or entities engaged in commercial activities and having aggregate debts not exceeding $2,725,625) an opportunity to reorganize under a new Subchapter V of Chapter 11. These provisions reduce the likelihood that an unsecured creditors’ committee will be appointed, lighten reporting requirements, and provide for guidance of a “small business trustee,” among other things. Although critically important, these changes will not have any effect on middle-market and large corporate bankruptcies. Much less attention has been paid to a provision in the Act that is applicable in bankruptcy cases of all sizes and could prove to be of material benefit to a debtor’s vendors. Continue reading “Small Business Reorganization Act Will Bring Changes to Preference Litigation”

Next Wave of Oil and Gas Bankruptcies

A new wave of bankruptcy filings for leveraged oil and gas companies has begun and this time it may involve more prepacks and less optimism. Beginning in late 2015 and continuing through 2017, downtown Houston was filled with bankruptcy lawyers. Highly leveraged exploration and production (or E&P) companies had become crippled by falling oil prices and the resulting impact on the value of their producing and non-producing reserves in their borrowing bases. No one was immune from the effect: servicing companies, suppliers and vendors, mid-stream and up-stream alike, all operating in a changed market. Many of these borrowers, however, anticipated a near term upswing in the price of oil and commenced their chapter 11 cases with that in mind. For a period of time, they were right. In 2018, WTI Crude recovered above $60 per barrel and reached the mid-$70s as many oil and gas companies exited bankruptcy with improved balance sheets. The volume of oil and gas company bankruptcies declined dramatically from 2016 to 2018. But it didn’t last. Continue reading “Next Wave of Oil and Gas Bankruptcies”