News 04 Mar. 2015

Curtis Restructuring Matters Win Four M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards

New York, NY, March 3, 2015 — Three of Curtis' recent restructuring transactions were selected as winners in four categories at the 9th Annual M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards:

The restructuring of Ashley Stewart Holdings, Inc., et. al. was selected as both the Restructuring of the Year ($10 million to $50 million) and Retail Manufacturing/ Distribution Deal of the Year.

The restructuring of FriendFinder Networks was named as the Restructuring of the Year ($500 million to $1 Billion).

The restructuring of Genco Shipping & Trading Limited was honored as the Industrial Manufacturing/Distribution Deal of the Year.

“The award winners represent the best of the distressed investing and reorganization industry in 2014 and earned these honors by standing out in a group of very impressive candidates,” said David Fergusson, Co-CEO and President of The M&A Advisor. “From lower middle market to multi-billion dollar deals, we have recognized the leading transactions, firms and individuals that represent the highest levels of performance.”

The nominations, representing more than 250 participating companies, were judged by an independent jury of industry experts.

The awards were presented at the M&A Advisor Turnaround Awards Gala on February 23 in Palm Beach, FL.

Curtis acted as lead bankruptcy counsel to Ashley Stewart, a leading specialty retailer and brand of fashion-forward, inspirational apparel and accessories catering to plus-sized women. In March 2014, facing excessive debt and certain unfavorable leases, Ashley Stewart filed Chapter 11 cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. Within weeks, the company negotiated a stalking horse asset purchase agreement with an affiliate of Clearlake Capital Group for the sale of substantially all of its assets. Ashley Stewart also resolved potential claims and causes of actions held by the estates and creditors' committee, paving the way for consummation of a consensual asset sale a mere 45 days after the Chapter 11 cases were filed.

The Curtis team of lawyers counseling Ashley Stewart included partner Turner P. Smith (Litigation); and partners Evan S. Borenstein (Corporate) and Lawrence Goodman (Corporate), and counsel Joshua S. Geller (Corporate).

Curtis represented Wilmington Trust, National Association, as successor indenture trustee for certain secured notes in connection with FriendFinder's successful Chapter 11 cases, which were filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. FriendFinder operates an internet and technology business providing services in the social networking and web-based video sharing markets. The plan confirmed in the FriendFinder Chapter 11 cases implemented a financial restructuring that, among other things, (a) provided second lien noteholders with approximately 100% of the reorganized company's new common stock and (b) provided that general unsecured creditors would either be paid in full or satisfied in the ordinary course.

The FriendFinder restructuring was also selected as the Technology, Media and Telecom Deal of the Year ($100 million - $1 Billion) at the 2014 M&A Advisor Awards and as the 2013 Media & Entertainment Turnaround of the Year by the Turnaround Atlas Awards.

The Curtis team of lawyers counseling Wilmington Trust in the FriendFinder Chapter 11 cases included partner Evan S. Borenstein (Corporate), and counsel Susana Namnum (Corporate).

Curtis served as conflicts counsel to Genco Shipping & Trading Limited and certain affiliates in Genco's successful Chapter 11 cases filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York, alongside Genco's lead counsel, Kramer Levin Naftalis and Frankel LLP. Genco is one of the world's leading providers of international seaborne transportation services for dry bulk cargo (including iron ore, coal, and grain). Genco owns and operates a fleet of 53 vessels and manages vessels for Baltic Trading and Maritime Equity Partners.

Genco filed prepackaged Chapter 11 cases in order to implement a $1 billion restructuring. In July 2014, after a lengthy trial, the Bankruptcy Court overruled the objections of certain equity holders related to the value of Genco's businesses and confirmed the prepackaged Chapter 11 plan proposed by Genco. Genco emerged from bankruptcy on July 9, 2014 positioned for long-term success after having completed a financial restructuring that reduced its debt by approximately $1.3 billion and provided for a new equity infusion of $100 million.

The Curtis team of lawyers counseling Genco included counsel Gabriel Hertzberg (Litigation) and associate Edward Combs (Litigation).

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP is a leading international law firm providing a broad range of services to clients around the world. Curtis currently has 17 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Central and East Asia. The firm's international orientation has been a hallmark of its practice for nearly two centuries. For more information about Curtis, please visit