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Another Busy Year for Retail Restructuring

I'm honored to have been selected by TMA’s Executive Committee as chair of the Editorial Advisory Board. Together with TMA’s Leadership, we’re underway with some innovative changes to the JCR that should provide a lot of value to our membership and continue to position the magazine as the premier member-focused periodical in the restructuring community.

This year has already proven to be a busy time in the turnaround industry and even more so within retail restructuring, the topic of this issue of the JCR. In fact, 2019 is on pace to be one of the most active years for large retail Chapter 11s, with more retail stores closing in the U.S. in the first four months of 2019 than in all of 2018.

Our authors have provided thoughtful perspectives on key considerations for retailers in this time of evolution and dislocation in the industry. These same individuals are leading many recent cases. Many retailers have shown an increased propensity recently to end up filing Chapter 11 for a second time, as noted by Cowen’s Lori Beers and Anne Miller in their article on retail Chapter 22s.

O’Melveny’s Suzzanne Uhland, Nancy Mitchell, and Joseph Spina have written a thoughtful article on grocery restructurings and how the “retail apocalypse” is impacting all segments of grocery. Dr. Wolfram Prusko of Kirkland’s Munich office, along with his colleagues Brad Weiland in the U.S. and Hannah Crawford in London, provides a fascinating overview of the filing of Agrokor, a large, multijurisdictional conglomerate based in Croatia. In addition to having a large grocery division, this case is also a fascinating overview in international case law.

Esben Christiansen and Jeff Drake of AlixPartners provide a detailed analysis of the state of the shipping industry, which on many routes has a tremendous interrelationship with retail. The Cooley team of Jay Indyke, Michael Klein, and Evan Lazerowitz explore the roles of special committees in their article, “Are the Foxes Guarding the Henhouse? Special Committee Investigations in Bankruptcy.”

Morris Nichols’ Robert Dehney provides an article on recent rulings in Delaware, “Chapter 11’s Inherent Flexibility,” which looks at “horizontal gifting,” nonconsensual third-party releases, and the processes of appointing or limiting the appointment of examiners.

We conclude with the Norman Pernick and Rebecca Hollander of Cole Schotz, who look at some of the recent prepackaged retail Chapter 11s and their unique attributes in “Recent Prepacks Stay True to Chapter 11’s Intent—with a Speedy Twist.”

Spencer Ware

Spencer Ware, CTP


Spencer M. Ware, CTP, is a director with AlixPartners in New York and a member of the firm’s Turnaround & Restructuring Services group. He has nearly 20 years of experience advising clients on complex financial and operational restructuring matters. Ware was named Future Leader of the Year by the New York Institute of Credit and an Emerging Leader by the M&A Advisor. In 2018, he received TMA’s Mid-Sized Transaction of the Year for his work as CRO at Eastern Outfitters.

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