Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 Year in Review – Part 2

To our readers:

From the Supreme Court weighing in on a chapter 11 case to Bankruptcy Court opinions that may profoundly impact venue selection, many important bankruptcy developments occurred in Restructuring Review’s inaugural year. Below is Part II in our first annual year-end list of the most significant decisions and developments in 2012. This list is presented chronologically. We’d love to hear your feedback as to what you think are the most important events of the year.

We appreciate you visiting Restructuring Review this year and look forward to providing you with frequent insight and analysis in 2013.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

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2012 Year In Review – Part 1

To our readers:

From the Supreme Court weighing in on a chapter 11 case to Bankruptcy Court opinions that may profoundly impact venue selection, many important bankruptcy developments occurred in Restructuring Review’s inaugural year. Below is Part I in our first annual year-end list of the most significant decisions and developments in 2012. Part II will be posted shortly. This list is presented chronologically. We’d love to hear your feedback as to what you think are the most important events of the year.

We appreciate you visiting Restructuring Review this year and look forward to providing you with frequent insight and analysis in 2013.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season. Continue reading

So You Want to Sell (or Buy) A Company Under Section 363? Here’s How

With companies facing significant distress due to vast over-leverage, debtors have increasingly turned to asset sales under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code, rather than Chapter 11 plans, to dispose of their assets quickly and begin the process of winding down their estates. According to the UCLA-LoPucki Bankruptcy Research Database, less than 4 percent of all large, public company bankruptcies were resolved by substantial asset sales from 1990-2000. However, in the period from 2001-2010, that figure rose to nearly 20 percent – peaking in 2011 when 43 percent of large public cases were resolved by an asset sale. Continue reading

California Dreaming? CalPERS Seeks Payment in Full of All Pension Obligations During Pendency of San Bernardino’s Chapter 9 Case

California has seen a string of three Chapter 9 filings this year and faces a long line of distressed municipalities. Given this backdrop, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (“CalPERS”) figures to play a prominent role in the resolution of many of these situations (in or out of bankruptcy). Thus, the bond‑buying public will scrutinize closely any steps that CalPERS takes to protect its claims in the Bankruptcy Court. Continue reading

Court Denies Pinnacle Airlines’ Motion to Reject Collective Bargaining Agreement: Outlines Potential Resolution

Following the pattern recently established by other S.D.N.Y. bankruptcy judges in Hostess and American Airlines, Judge Robert Gerber denied Pinnacle Airlines’ motion to reject its collective bargaining agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association on narrow factual grounds. Although Judge Gerber found that Pinnacle had demonstrated that the “great bulk” of its final offer to the pilots was necessary to Pinnacle’s reorganization, the court held that:

• Pinnacle had not demonstrated that it was necessary to reduce its labor costs below the labor costs of its competitors,
• Given the substantial concessions requested from the pilots, the profit sharing proposals offered to the pilots were not fair and equitable, and
• Pinnacle’s failure to make any changes to the total labor cost savings requested from the pilots constituted good cause on the part of the pilots to reject Pinnacle’s proposal.
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SDNY Finds Direct Payments to Shareholders in a LBO Are Safe Harbored Under Section 546(e) of the Bankruptcy Code

On November 7, 2012, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan for the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York held that payments made in connection with a leveraged buyout to holders of privately held securities were safe harbored under section 546(e) of the Bankruptcy Code notwithstanding the fact that the payments passed directly from the purchaser to the seller without the use of any financial intermediary. AP Services LLP v. Silva, et al., Case No. 11-03005 (S.D.N.Y. Nov. 7, 2012). The decision comports with the trend among the United States Courts of Appeal, including the Second Circuit, to interpret section 546(e) broadly, and provides clarity regarding the section’s application to payments made in connection with a LBO that are wired directly to a shareholder’s bank account. Continue reading

Because of Winn-Dixie? SDNY Bankruptcy Court Looks Beyond Literal Compliance with Venue Statute and Transfers Patriot Coal Cases to Eastern District of Missouri

On November 27, 2012, in a ruling that undoubtedly will impact the choice of venue for many large corporate bankruptcies in the future, Judge Shelley C. Chapman of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York transferred venue of the chapter 11 cases of Patriot Coal Corporation and ninety-eight of its affiliates to the Eastern District of Missouri. Drawing on an array of jurisprudence regarding venue, Judge Chapman found that notwithstanding literal compliance with the applicable statute, the New York domicile of two of the debtors was insufficient to establish venue for all ninety-nine cases in the Southern District of New York when the two debtors were formed on the eve of the commencement of the chapter 11 cases admittedly for the sole purpose of establishing venue. In re Patriot Coal Corp., 12-12900-SCC (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Nov. 27, 2012) [docket no. 1629]. The Patriot decision is the latest in a line of recent decisions by courts in the Southern District of New York and the District of Delaware granting motions to transfer venue to other districts. The decision is notable in that it strongly discourages the practice of “bootstrapping” a corporate bankruptcy case to the case of a recently formed affiliate in New York when the debtor has no meaningful presence in the jurisdiction, change of venue is requested by economic parties in interest, and moving the case is unlikely to inflict demonstrable economic harm to the estate. Continue reading