Below is our initial take on recent bankruptcy-related developments:
Cryptocurrency service provider agrees to return $17 million to digital lender Celsius as it reorganizes in bankruptcy | CNBC
Crypto service provider Prime Trust agreed Thursday to return $17 million from crypto lending platform Celsius that was allegedly withheld just as digital currencies hit their first bottom last year.
Bankrupt Crypto Lender Celsius Facing Federal ‘Investigations’ | Bloomberg
Bankrupt cryptocurrency lender Celsius Network faces US federal “investigations,” according to a filing from lawyers for its committee of unsecured creditors.
S&K Take: We start with a couple of Celsius stories today. There is a lot going on in the case, with the Examiner investigation full speed ahead, a sale process approved and commencing in earnest, and property of the estate issues on the precipice of full-blown litigation. These stories related to some more run-of-the-mill issues in the case (although in another case, they might be a centerpiece)—the settlement of a $17 million dispute with a third party holding estate assets, and rumblings of a number of federal investigations into the Debtors. With respect to the investigations, the UCC has stated that they should not impact (or be added to) the Examiner’s investigation, as that review is already quite a heavy lift.
After Years of Litigation, Toys R Us’ Creditors Reach Resolution with Former Execs | Retail Dive
A lawsuit against former executives and directors of Toys R Us that grew out of the company’s Chapter 11 case reached a resolution after a Virginia bankruptcy judge approved a settlement between the litigants.
S&K Take: At long last, some resolution for Toys’ creditors. The terms of the settlement were filed under seal, so we don’t have any insight into specifics. The litigation itself was unique, as it related at least in part to post-petition conduct of the Debtors. Basically, the Debtors’ management was accused of gross mismanagement in entering into a massive post-petition financing facility which eventually defaulted. This left administrative (or post-petition) creditors at a massive loss (I believe $800 million was alleged in the complaint) for goods delivered before the funding was pulled. Hopefully the settlement gives those creditors some solace in an otherwise dismal situation.
Cineworld Lender Opposes Priority Status for Pre-Bankruptcy Loans | Bloomberg Law
A creditor of Cineworld Group Plc is opposing the pay-back priority status given to a Blackstone unit and other lenders.
S&K Take: A creditor in the Cineworld cases is challenging a massive $1.2 billion roll-up of prepetition debt in connection with DIP financing. The total facility is $1.9 billion, so the roll-up looks like it is a little under 2:1. There have been more aggressive roll-ups done, although the sheer numbers here are huge. We will keep an eye on this one and see what gets done.
As Pension Goes Broke, Bankruptcy Haunts City Near Philadelphia | Bloomberg
Chester, Pennsylvania has struggled financially and its police pension is running out of cash. As a last resort, a state-appointed receiver is considering filing for bankruptcy.
S&K Take: Chester, PA is facing municipal bankruptcy as its pension obligations are far greater than its ability to pay. We have seen this story before, with cities and local governments writing checks that they ultimately aren’t able to cash. Chester has apparently been suffering for many years, so this comes as no surprise. But with markets down and pension funds around the country likely to be feeling some pain, is Chester the canary in the coal mine? Time will tell if this downturn is deep enough to cause nationwide municipal distress.
Alex Jones Lost a $1 Billion Trial. Why is Infowars Still Streaming? | Vox
According to bankruptcy experts, the families who won the trial against Alex Jones can immediately pursue their claims against him by trying to seize his personal property without waiting for the appeals process. However, Free Speech Systems LLC, which runs Infowars, will be shielded from any judgments for months or years, courtesy of U.S. bankruptcy law.
S&K Take: We covered this story over the last few weeks. As we noted, it will likely be a long road in bankruptcy to recover against Free Speech Systems, but recovery against Jones personally is more feasible (unless he files personal bankruptcy). We could see a request to stay any actions against Jones as part of the FSS case, although those requests have met with mixed reviews lately.