UPDATE: See Is a Decision Pre-Ordained in the Texas Rangers Bankruptcy Case? on Forbes SportsMoney for additional information on the Texas Rangers case.
Texas Rangers Baseball Partners, the current owners of the Texas Rangers, have filed an amended version of the “prepackaged plan” that seems to address requirements by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn that would lift “impairments” to certain classes of creditors of the ballclub. If those impairments are lifted, the plan, that is designed to pay the secured and unsecured lenders of the Rangers, would no longer be able to block the sale via vote.
First Lien Holder Claim section (as well as the section for Second Lien Holder Claims that has the same verbiage, but has “First Lien Holder” replaced with “Second Lien Holder”, reads:
On the Effective Date, an amount of Cash equal to $75 million (or the amount outstanding under the First Lien Credit Agreement and Second Lien Credit Agreement if less than $75 million is outstanding in the aggregate under the First Lien Credit Agreement and Second Lien Credit Agreement on the Effective Date), together with postpetition interest for the period from the Commencement Date through the Effective Date (to the extent the Bankruptcy Court determines that holders of such Claims are entitled to postpetition interest in order for such Claims to be unimpaired), shall be paid to JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., as administrative agent for the holders of Allowed First Lien Holder Claims, to be applied in accordance with the First Lien Credit Agreement, the Second Lien Credit Agreement, and the Intercreditor Agreement. On and after the Effective Date, the holders of Allowed First Lien Holder Claims shall retain all existing contractual rights against the Debtor or its affiliates to which they are entitled under the First Lien Credit Agreement and related documents.
The plan has also been updated to address the right of the creditors to sue for damages. The sections for the First and Second Lien Holders reads:
Right to Pursue Damages On and after the Effective Date, the holders of Allowed [First and Second] Lien Holder Claims shall retain all existing contractual rights against the Debtor or its affiliates to which they areentitled under the First Lien Credit Agreement and related documents.
What is unclear is whether these changes will allow the third class, TRBP Equity Interest, to then have its impairment lifted. The latest amended document shows no changes from prior versions and continues to read, “The Debtor submits that [TRBP Equity Interest] is unimpaired by the Prepackaged Plan, each holder of an Allowed TRBP Equity Interest is not entitled to vote to accept or reject the Prepackaged Plan, and should be conclusively deemed to accept the Prepackaged Plan.”
The update to the prepackaged plan comes after Judge Lynn had set a July 22 confirmation hearing date, that was later moved back to July 9 after an emergency motion to keep that date was filed by Ranger Baseball Express, the investor group led by Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan. While Lynn agreed to keep the date, it came with stern words from the judge about the situation at hand.
“You guys, not me, you guys are the ones who pushed for this,” Lynn told them. “For the sake of the Rangers, I do not want to see this team stuck in Chapter 11 until this fall.”
He added, “We will not decide based on what the fans want ... what the media wants ... what Mr. Ryan or Mr. Greenberg wants, or what (Baseball Commissioner) Bud Selig wants. I will deny confirmation, and we’re back to square one, and it will be on the heads of those who support this motion.”
To add further tension to the case, Stephen Shimshak, an attorney representing the Commissioner’s Office, let the following fly after the phone conference was done, not knowing that the call was still on.
"If [Lynn] doesn’t confirm the plan we’ll just terminate the franchise. We'll take over the g--damn franchise."
Look for more on Forbes SportsMoney later on Monday.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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