Below is our initial take on recent bankruptcy-related developments:
The world’s largest crypto firm, Binance, backed out of its plans to acquire FTX, just one day after Binance’s CEO announced that the firm had reached a non-binding deal to buy FTX’s non-U.S. businesses. This reversal leaves FTX at risk of bankruptcy with nearly $8 billion in liabilities.
S&K Take: The biggest news of the week, which had a bit of an ’08 feel to it. Started out with a shocking revelation from FTX that it was subject to a run on the bank, and then it seemed like Binance would bail them out. That fell through in a day, and now SBF is back to the drawing board. As it stands, FTX’s international presence, based out of the Bahamas, seems destined for an insolvency proceeding of some kind. FTX US appears to be in better shape, although time will tell on that one. Word is that SBF is working to obtain financing or some white-knight deal to stave off disaster. FTX was, at one point, the white knight in the industry, but it appears that even they were using customer assets in risky deals (this time involving Alameda). Obviously, we will be watching this situation very closely. Who knows what we will be reporting in this space next week.
In a quarterly securities filing, U.S. drugmaker Clovis Oncology disclosed it will not be able to operate beyond January 2023 due to difficulties selling its only approved drug, liquidity shortcomings, and challenges with the FDA.
S&K Take: Looks like another pharma bankruptcy is in the works, coming on the heels of the PhaseBio case. There have been a few life sciences names that have made their way through the bankruptcy system recently.
Although the Boy Scouts of America’s largest insurers supported the $2.46 billion sex abuse settlement, more than a dozen minor insurers have filed appeals in Delaware federal court claiming that “bogus abuse claims” helped rig the deal against them.
S&K Take: A subset of insurers involved in the Boy Scouts’ cases have appealed the confirmation of the Boy Scouts’ plan of reorganization, which implements a settlement that they say compromises their rights. The main thrust of their argument is that the bankruptcy fostered illegitimate claims which they won’t have the ability to defend appropriately. The appeal could be a long process, and Boy Scouts’ exit from bankruptcy hangs in the balance.
Sears Holdings has finally exited from bankruptcy after four years and more than 10,000 court filings, resulting in the chain’s retail footprint shrinking from almost 700 stores to about 20.
S&K Take: Some really interesting numbers in this one. At the time of the 2005 Sears-Kmart merger, the combined entity had revenue of $55 billion. Compare that to about $2.5 billion in revenue for Amazon at the time. The rest is history, as Sears almost embodies big box retail dinosaurs that have gone, well, the way of the dinosaurs. There is also a list of Sears’ stores that remain open (it isn’t a long list) in case you, intrepid reader, want to take a field trip to a museum of retail.