Leveraged loans may have a role in recent retail bankruptcies. Leveraged loan volume is nearing pre-recession highs and is on track to surpass 2007 levels, concerning many regulators and investors. Leveraged loans are typically offered to companies that already have large amounts of debt, and therefore, leveraged loans carry higher interest rates due to an increased risk of borrower default. Companies often use leveraged loans to finance mergers, refinance debt or for general company purposes. Private equity firms also utilize leveraged loans in order to fund takeovers of companies, including struggling retailers. Loans issued to fund leveraged buyouts from private equity firms rose 74 percent in 2017 and totaled 88.5 billion dollars. Additionally, nearly a third of loans to companies backed by private equity firms are leveraged six times or more. Continue Reading Leveraged Loans Raise Bankruptcy Fears

In March of this year, consumer electronics and home appliance retailer Gregg Appliances, Inc., better known as H.H. Gregg, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Indianapolis, Indiana. H.H. Gregg, which took over many of the retail spaces previously occupied by Circuit City, is one of many big-box retailers that have sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy over the past several years. Like Circuit City, H.H. Gregg was unsuccessful in reorganizing in bankruptcy and is now seeking to recover payments made to vendors and other creditors within 90 days prior to the bankruptcy filing. Continue Reading Creditors’ Committee in H.H. Gregg Initiates Preference Demands and Litigation Against Creditors

Earlier this month, teen clothing retailer Aéropostale filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, seeking to immediately close 154 of its over 800 stores located throughout the United States and Canada. Many of these stores are located in smaller shopping malls, which have been hit the hardest by the shift to online shopping.

The continued march of retail bankruptcies since 2015 includes Sports Authority, Vestis Retail Group, Inc. (the operator of Sports Chalet, Eastern Mountain Sports, and Bob’s Stores), Radio Shack, American Apparel, Quicksilver, Wet Seal, Delia’s and PacSun. Continue Reading Aeropostale Bankruptcy Highlights Challenges for Retailers Seeking to Reorganize

On August 4, 2014, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (the “OCC”) of the US Department of the Treasury issued new guidance outlining sound banking practices related to consumer debt sales to third-party debt buyers. The bulletin sets forth the OCC’s expectations for banks that engage in debt-sale arrangements and applies to all OCC-supervised banks.

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The Eighth Circuit recently issued an opinion in the Interstate Bakeries Corporation bankruptcy case reversing its previous holding that a perpetual royalty-free trademark license constituted an executory contract that could be assumed or rejected in bankruptcy.  The Eighth Circuit, in a rehearing en banc on its earlier decision in Interstate III2, determined that the contract at issue should be considered part of an integrated agreement with another contemporaneously executed deal. When the Eighth Circuit expanded the parameters of the contract being considered, it determined that certain unperformed obligations by the bankrupt were not material and the contract was not executor.

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