Transaction Award Winners Use Pioneering Strategies to Achieve Unprecedented Results

Oct 14, 2011, 13:52 ET from Turnaround Management Association

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Turnaround Management Association will honor 37 restructuring professionals who crafted non-operational transactions that changed the course of struggling businesses at an October 26 luncheon during the 2011 TMA Annual Convention at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. The winners are:

Mega Company: James Mesterharm, AlixPartners, LLP; Kenneth A. Hiltz, AlixPartners, LLP; John Dischner, CTP, AlixPartners, LLP; Kenneth Buckfire, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Ronen Bojmel, formerly of Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Elizabeth Abrams, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Steven Smith, UBS AG; Jackson Hsieh, UBS AG; Marcia L. Goldstein, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; Gary T. Holtzer, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; James H.M. Sprayregen, Kirkland & Ellis LLP; and Anup Sathy, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

General Growth Properties, Inc., a publicly traded real estate investment trust that owned and operated more than 200 regional shopping malls reached a market capitalization of approximately $20 billion before the 2008 financial crisis. Engaged late that year, the transaction team was thwarted in its attempt to stave off a Chapter 11 filing because of structural aspects of GGP's commercial mortgage-backed security (CMBS) debt and the volume of maturities. The team engineered a two-stage strategy: restructuring $14.9 billion of property-level secured mortgage debt first and then addressing $6.6 billion of parent-level unsecured debt. Market value of GGP's publicly traded equity and debt securities increased by roughly $11 billion between filing and emergence. The transaction resulted in GGP becoming the only company to have had its common equity re-listed on the New York Stock Exchange during its Chapter 11 proceeding.

Mid-size Company: Alexandra Steinberg Barrage, Morrison & Foerster LLP; G. Larry Engel, Morrison & Foerster LLP;  Vincent J. Novak, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Dina Kushner, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Jonathan T. Keen, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Kristin A. Hiensch, Morrison & Foerster LLP; Van C. Durrer II, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Kimberly D. Jaimez, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP; Ragan Powers, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Dillon Jackson, Foster Pepper PLLC; and Al Glowasky, Sandler O'Neill & Partners

AmericanWest Bank N.A., a Spokane, Wash.-based community bank faced imminent threat of seizure by the FDIC because of undercapitalization. With the guidance of its transaction team, the company pioneered the use of Section 363 under the bankruptcy code to effectuate an equity infusion into the bank and its sale to a private equity-backed buyer. This structure minimized obstacles posed by the company's capital structure, including trust-preferred securities, and addressed regulatory concerns. The sale to stalking horse bidder, SKBHC Holdings LLC, provided partial recovery for stakeholders, preserved jobs, improved the bank's capital structure, and paved the way for expansion.

Mid-size Company: James H.M. Sprayregen, Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Anup Sathy, Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Ray Schrock, Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Ronen Bojmel, formerly of Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Ofir Nitzan, Miller Buckfire & Co., LLC; Holly Etlin, CTP, AlixPartners LLP; and Harvey Rubinson, formerly of AlixPartners LLP

Neff Rental LLC, the 13th-largest equipment rental company in the U.S. at the time of its May 2010 pre-arranged bankruptcy filing, epitomized the classic case of a "good company, bad balance sheet." The 2008 financial collapse, tight credit markets and a slowdown in non-residential construction severely reduced the company's available liquidity despite the soundness of the business. The team orchestrated a first-in-kind prepetition "payout event" and negotiated DIP and exit financing commitments from the incumbent lending group before the company entered Chapter 11.

Small Company: J. Scott Victor, SSG Capital Advisors, LLC; Matthew P. Karlson, SSG Capital Advisors, LLC; Terry Kohler, SSG Capital Advisors, LLC; L. Stan Neely, Neely Consulting; Barbara G. Barton, Barton Law Firm PA; J. William Porter, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP; and Steven Kortanek, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC

Jackson & Perkins/Park Seed's roots date to 2007 when the owners of Park Seed acquired Jackson & Perkins, creating a national leader in the horticultural direct-marketing industry. The company wilted under the strain of management issues, inability to produce a catalog for two seasons and the loss of a large retailer's account. After an April 2010 bankruptcy filing, the team developed a model for a sustainable and profitable business that was used to market the company to more than 100 potential strategic and financial buyers. At auction, the winning bid included a commitment to retain nearly all of the company's 200-plus employees for three years.

The Chicago-based Turnaround Management Association,, has more than 9,000 members in 48 regional chapters worldwide who comprise a professional community of turnaround practitioners, attorneys, accountants, investors, lenders, venture capitalists, appraisers, liquidators, executive recruiters and consultants.

SOURCE Turnaround Management Association