Information for Creditors of The Collected Group, LLC
Jointly Administered Under Case Number 21-10663 in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware
DEBTORS AND THEIR BUSINESSES
- The Collected Group, LLC
- The Collected Group Company, LLC
- The Collected Group Exports, Inc.
- The Collected Group Retail, LLC
- RBR, LLC
The above list shows the technical legal names of the companies that filed for bankruptcy. However, they are better known to the public by their clothing brand names: Joie, Equipment, and Current/Elliott. Before the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted all businesses, the Debtors operated around 34 physical stand-alone locations, distributed its products through wholesale networks, including to stores like Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and operated a small-scale e-commerce business.
Since the complete closure of all of the Debtors’ stand-alone stores caused by government shutdowns, the Debtors have decided that operating their own stores is no longer viable. Yet, these same shutdowns caused the Debtors’ e-commerce sales to soar. Through bankruptcy, the Debtors plan to pivot to a wholesale and e-commerce only business.
THE DEBTORS ARE DROWNING IN DEBT AND PLAN TO LEAVE CREDITORS HOLDING THE BAG
In initial filings in the bankruptcy court, the Debtors have disclosed that they have over $185 million in secured debt plus around $35.5 million in unsecured debt. They also state that they attempted to sell their assets both pre-COVID in late 2019 and pre-bankruptcy in early 2021. These sales efforts apparently produced some indications of interest, but no bids that “remotely approached” the amount of the Debtors’ secured debt, according to the Debtors’ Chief Restructuring Officer (“CRO”).
Through the bankruptcy process, the Debtors hope to reduce their secured debt obligations from $185 million down to $30 million. They also intend to eliminate all of their unsecured debt. In order to accomplish this feat, the Debtors propose to partially pay back their senior secured lenders, give a pittance to the secondary secured lenders, and leave all other creditors out in the cold. The Debtors’ third position secured lenders and unsecured creditors will all receive nothing by way of the plan, if it is confirmed.
The Debtors’ senior and second-position secured lenders support the plan, which the Debtors will ask the Court to confirm at a hearing set for May 25, 2021 at 10:00 am EDT.
UNSECURED CREDITORS MUST BE STRATEGIC WITH LIMITED OPTIONS
While the Debtors have proposed a very aggressive plan that gives nothing to pre-petition claims, unsecured creditors are not completely without options. There are some provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and some specific details of the Debtors’ young case that provide hope for some trade creditors of Joie, Equipment, and Current/Elliott.
Bankruptcy Code Options
The Bankruptcy Code provides some limited protections to innocent creditors in bankruptcy cases. Specifically, it allows certain creditors to elevate the payment priority for certain claims. Those creditors who delivered goods to the Debtors in the 45 days prior to the bankruptcy filing (February 19th through April 4th) may have a better chance of being repaid for those deliveries. Additionally, the Debtors are required to pay for all goods delivered on or after the Debtors filed for bankruptcy (on April 5, 2021). If you delivered goods to the Debtors in these time frames, you may have a greater right to repayment.
Debtors’ Case Specific Options
In this case, the Debtors have sought permission to pay what are known as “critical vendors,” which are creditors they can’t carry on their business without. The Debtors have pre-determined who some of these creditors are but unsecured creditors may yet be able to be added to the list. Critical vendors get preferential treatment, including payment of some claims where other creditors will get nothing. This option could be worth exploring for creditors with a long-standing and/or high volume business with the Debtors.
PRLT does not represent The Collected Group or any of their affiliated Debtors. The content on this page is provided for informational purposes only. Nothing on this page or this website creates an attorney/client relationship between you and PRLT. Nothing on this page is legal advice. If you have any questions about The Collected Group’s jointly administered bankruptcy case or anything discussed on this page, please contact us.