Curated financial news, analysis and commentary with an emphasis on distressed investing, restructuring and bankruptcy. We discuss disruption, from the vantage point of the disrupted.

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PETITION 34 likes 07 Jun 20
Neiman Marcus Group LTD LLC filed for bankruptcy a mere three weeks ago and the First Day hearing foreshadowed — to use our descriptor — “BIG” fireworks. We wrote: This case is all about “BIG.” A BIG capital structure stemming from a BIG LBO by two BIG PE funds,
PETITION 32 likes 10 Jun 20
You wouldn’t know it from the equity price action in oil and gas this week but lest there be any confusion: generally speaking, oil and gas is still very much f*cked. Privately-held (The Lonestar Prospects Holdings Company LLC and First Reserve) Texas-based
PETITION 31 likes 03 Jun 20
💥Wait. What?!?💥 Whoa boy. What a month. As for as equity markets go, the old adage “sell in May, go away” turned into “Log into Robinhood, buy in May, sit and pray.” April was the best month for US stocks in over three decades: absolutely everyone could be forgiven for thinking that May might — particularly given ALL OF THE BAD NEWS out there — be a re…
PETITION 30 likes 26 Apr 20
🚢 It’s a Bad Time to Service Oil and Cruiseline Companies 🚢 This is a fun one. Speedcast International Limited, a publicly-traded Australian company headquartered in Houston and 32 affiliates (the “debtors”) filed rare freefall bankruptcy cases in the Southern District of Texas earlier this week. In a week where another 4.4mm people filed for unemployme…
PETITION 30 likes 29 Apr 20
✈️Yield Baby Yield (Long Drooling Investors)✈️ Nobody knows when the airline industry will enjoy the same level of robust activity and growth that it enjoyed earlier this year. Even as states re-open for business and people get back to normal — whatever “normal” means these days — it’s anybody’s guess as to whether business and recreational travel will d…
PETITION 30 likes 13 May 20
Over the last several weeks there has been a significant amount of debate across the United States about (i) the financial state of the major airlines post-COVID-19, (ii) when the resumption of consumer demand for air travel will occur in earnest, and (iii) to what degree government assistance ought to be available to them, what conditions ought to be attached to said assistance (if any). There are arguments on both sides for government assistance. One view against —
PETITION 30 likes 08 Apr 20
⚡️Announcement⚡️ We are going to take this weekend off folks. We’d represent that the break is due to the Easter and Passover holidays which is true, in part. But in reality: these last few weeks have been very tough and we simply need a break to relax and refresh. Take care of yourselves PETITIONERS.
PETITION 29 likes 16 May 20
Let’s be clear about something right off the bat. Encino Man, Captain America and Austin Powers could all suddenly surface from being entombed in ice for decades and even THEY wouldn’t be surprised that Texas-based J.C. Penney Company Inc. (and 17 affiliates, the “debtors”) filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. Ok, ok, that’s not fair. As recently as 2007, J…
PETITION 29 likes 22 Apr 20
⚡️Upfront⚡️ Good news. We were all just living in a simulation and it’s now over. Dolores won. Now back to normal soon. 😉😬 Anyway, while we’re all struggling right now trying to balance shelter-in, work and family, some folks in our community are finding time to do some good. We’d like to commend:
PETITION 29 likes 23 May 20
💥Hertz Crashes into Bankruptcy Court💥 Going into 2020, many restructuring professionals expected the automotive space to be active. There were a number of reasons for that including, among other things: (a) car lending standards began to tighten disincentivizing buyers to splurge on new car purchases; (b) large OEMs, coming off of years of record car b…
PETITION 29 likes 15 Apr 20
⚡️Upfront⚡️ Companies re-acquainted themselves with bankruptcy courts this week as a surge in filings filled dockets. Some highlights: The District of Delaware is, once again, a very busy place. Virtually every case of decent size and/or import has filed there so far this month (exceptions being
PETITION 29 likes 19 Apr 20
Long "The Amazon Effect." Amidst a global pandemic that has, among other things, (i) decimated manufacturing, (ii) lofted unemployment, and (iii) absolutely smoked consumer spending (see charts down below), it is telling when a business shuts down a majority part of its business BECAUSE IT DOESN’T HAVE THE CAPACITY TO FULFILL IT. You’re a rare bird when,…
PETITION 29 likes 20 May 20
Kansas-based YRC Worldwide Inc. ($YRCW) is a holding company that, through various operating subsidiaries, provides a range of transportation services to customers seeking to move “less-than-truckload” (aka “less than load” or “LTL”) industrial, commercial and retail goods. It has 30k employees and serves 200k customers including medical suppliers and t…
PETITION 28 likes 29 Jan 20
💥Retail in 20: New Year Same Old Sh*t (Short B&M)💥 2020 is off to a rockin’ start for retail. The USA Today cites recent figures from Coresight Research that indicate that 1,218 store closures have already been announced in 2020.* This puts 2020 at a run rate of over 12,000 store closures. For the sake of comparison, 2019, which was a complete and utte…
PETITION 28 likes 14 Jun 20
Show us a free-association test where, upon prompt by the word “bankruptcy,” the response is “cool” and we’ll show you a PO Box in Wyoming where you can ship us the sh*t you’re smoking. But even the sun shines on a dog’s a$$ some days. Turn on the the tv and the talking heads are blathering on about $HTZ and $VAL and $CHK and $WLL. Open up Twitter and t…
PETITION 28 likes 09 Feb 20
🍔More Restaurant Distress (Short Franchisees?)🍔 Short food? 2020 hasn’t been kind. In the first five weeks of the year, three grocers filed for bankruptcy:
PETITION 28 likes 20 Apr 20
💥Frontier Finally Falls (Short Synergies)💥 We often highlight how, particularly in the case of oil and gas companies, capital intensive companies end up with a lot of debt and a lot of debt often results in bankruptcy. In the upstream oil and gas space, exploration and production companies need a lot of upfront capital to, among other things, enter int…
PETITION 28 likes 17 May 20
⚡️Update: J.C. Penney Company Inc.⚡️ Yesterday we went off-schedule and hastefully sent out a summary of JCP’s bankruptcy in an effort to front-run an extraordinary Saturday afternoon first day tele-hearing. ICYMI: it is here. For the most part we got it right. Debtors’ counsel, however, might take issue with our skepticism over the debtors’ alleged “Ren…
PETITION 28 likes 05 Apr 20
⛽️Is Whiting the First Big Energy Domino To Fall?⛽️ Denver-based Whiting Petroleum Corporation ($WLL) and four affiliates (the “debtors”), independent oil-focused upstream exploration and production companies focused primarily on the North Dakota and Rocky Mountain regions, filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of Texas earlier this week. This is…
PETITION 27 likes 15 Mar 20
🔥F.E.A.R. Part Four🔥 What a wild ride. The coronavirus has effectively shut down large swaths of the economy as people engage in “social distancing” and businesses implement “WFH” policies. The implications are widespread: theme parks ($DIS), sporting events ($MSG), cable providers that carry sports as the last bastion against cord-cutting, movie theat…
PETITION 27 likes 03 May 20
For those of you who weren’t with us back in April 2019, here is Part I, a PETITION classic. For complementary reading, we also suggest December 2018’s “🏆PETITION's 2018 Deal of the Year🏆” covering Sycamore Partners’ history with Nine West, a portfolio company that trudged through an ignominious bankruptcy process in 2018-2019. Part II was always su…
PETITION 27 likes 01 Mar 20
⚡️What. The. Hell.⚡️ This week was a complete and utter sh*tshow. There’s no sugar-coating it. As fears about coronavirus rose, the stock market got absolutely annihilated — the S&P dipped over 11% for the week (one of the most severe declines in history) and the Dow dropped approximately 4000 points — precipitating a rabid shift to safety in the markets…
PETITION 27 likes 15 Jan 20
In Sunday’s Members’-only edition we noted how, unlike certain other retailers that have found themselves in bankruptcy of late, Pier 1 Imports Inc. ($PIR) is almost certainly a victim of Amazon Inc. ($AMZN). Given the relative lack of debt and no private equity overlord, it seems that pundits have as clear-cut an example of “The Amazon Effect” as you c…
PETITION 26 likes 24 May 20
⚡️Update: Pier 1 Imports⚡️ We last wrote about Pier 1 Imports Inc. here. We wrote: Then, late on Friday, March 27, the company issued a “Notice of Cancellation of Auction.” Among other things, this notice stated the obvious: no new meaningful qualified bids came in and, hence, there’s no need for an auction. Significantly, though, the notice also indicate…
PETITION 26 likes 31 May 20
💵 Distressed Investing (Long Long-Lost Exuberance) 💵 We’re all finally popular again. Per The Wall Street Journal: “Everybody and their sister is back in the marketplace trying to raise a distressed debt fund. We’ve been inundated with distressed ideas,” said David Fann, vice chairman at New York investment advisory and research firm Aksia LLC.
PETITION 26 likes 27 May 20
COVID-19 is starting to notch a long list of corporate victims. Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings have NOT been in short supply the last two months. Yet while many of the debtors may cite COVID-19 as a factor leading to the bankruptcy filings, in the super-majority of cases it was merely a contributing factor. The icing on the cake, if you will. From our vantage point, prior to the last week, there had only been (arguably) four