(June 29, 2012, Weil News)
International law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP today announced it has been named the 2012 Global Restructuring Law Firm of the Year by the Turnaround Atlas Awards, part of the Global M&A Network’s prestigious M&A Atlas Awards program worldwide. This award annually recognizes one distinguished global law firm with a dedicated restructuring/insolvency practice that has closed large, multi-jurisdictional cases in the past year. Additionally, the Dallas Stars reorganization and sale on which Weil served as lead debtor’s counsel and transactional advisor received the Chapter 11 Turnaround of the Year Award – Middle Market category.
The annual awards program exclusively honors excellence in assignments and deals completed from the restructuring, reorganization and turnaround communities worldwide. Weil was presented the honors at an awards gala held at the University Club of Chicago in Chicago, Ill.
Weil’s premier Business Finance & Restructuring Department has been involved in countless international and US restructurings over the past decade, with representations, ranging from top global corporations in mega-restructurings to middle-market debtors. Weil has served as chief debtors’ counsel in five of the six largest US bankruptcy filings in history and has represented clients in numerous complicated cross-border insolvency and restructuring matters. Significantly, and unlike most other large firms’ bankruptcy and restructuring practices, Weil’s broad-based experience also includes numerous creditor representations, representations of purchasers and sellers of distressed assets, and substantial bankruptcy litigation.
During the most recent economic crisis, Weil’s restructuring group generated successes for both debtors and creditors, including prominent representations of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., General Motors Co., Washington Mutual Inc., and AMR Corp., the parent company of American Airlines, among others. Additionally, last year, Weil represented Blockbuster Inc. in the company’s announced acquisition out of bankruptcy by satellite television company Dish Network Corp., whose winning bid of $320 million was approved by the US Bankruptcy Court. The Blockbuster deal was also a finalist at the awards gala, in the Special Situation M&A of the Year – Middle Market category.
In the winning Dallas Stars deal, Weil served as counsel to Dallas Stars, LP, owner of the Dallas Stars National Hockey League club, in the successful sale of the club and all its hockey-related assets to Dallas Sports & Entertainment, a group owned by Vancouver-based businessman Tom Gagliardi and his family. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
On September 15, 2011
, the Dallas Stars, LP, StarCenters LLC, Dallas Stars US Holdings Corp., and Dallas Arena LLC filed a prepackaged bankruptcy plan in US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware in order to facilitate the sale. On November 18, 2011
, the Bankruptcy Court approved the sale and confirmed the plan. The sale closed later that day.
The deal, which had to be approved not only by the US Bankruptcy Court, but also by the Dallas Stars’ lenders and the National Hockey League, involved a large number of advisers and lenders, making it extremely complicated. The debtors owed just over $250 million at the time to lenders led by first lien administrative agent JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., second lien administrative agent GSP Finance LLC, and significant lender, Monarch Master Funding Ltd.
Besides the Dallas Stars Hockey Club, the sale included a 50 percent ownership interest in the American Airlines Center, and the Dallas Stars’ interest in four Dr Pepper StarCenters in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Among other conditions, the sale called for Gagliardi to pay nearly $52 million to an affiliate of the NHL (CFV I LLC) and to issue notes valued at approximately $100 million to the team’s first-lien lenders, with second-lien lenders receiving approximately $500,000 of those notes. The buyer also assumed all operating obligations of the company.