Governance and Restructuring Attorney in New York, New York

$1.6 billion in Debt

New York business solutions, governance, restructuring & bankruptcy attorney Martin Bienenstock of Proskauer Rose explains how he helped navigate his clients’ $1.6 billion debts.

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At Owens Corning, I was representing a group of entities comprised of banks and hedge funds that had each owned portions of the $1.6 billion of bank debt that the company had. And the company there went into Chapter 11 because of an asbestos problem. And the asbestos creditors and the bondholders realized that since the bank debt was guaranteed by the subsidiaries that the banks would get paid off and there would be little left for the asbestos creditors and the bond holders. They asked the company to get rid of the guaranteed by doing something called substantive consolidation. What we did was we first explained to the hedge funds and the banks that there are principles of substantive consolidation and that they were violated when the district court authorized it and it should be reversed on appeal to the third circuit.

We then went to the company and we explained how it could have a successful reorganization without substantive consolidation and we would cooperate in that they would just pay more to the banks and less to the asbestos creditors and the bondholders. And we did prevail in the third circuit. It rendered what I think today is regarded as the seminal decision on substantive consolidation. The banks were paid their full principle, their full interest, interest on interest and all their attorney’s fees it amounted to about $2.2 billion. And the company today is back out of Chapter 11 and surviving and thriving.

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