On January 13, 2020, the Supreme Court denied petitions for writ of certiorari on the question of whether payments on municipal bonds secured by special revenues are required during the issuer’s bankruptcy. Special revenue bonds are paid from pledged revenues generated from a specific activity. The case arose because after the Puerto Rico Highway and Transportation Agency (PRHTA) commenced its municipal reorganization case in 2017, it refused to make a July 2017 payment of $219 million, arguing that the automatic stay of the Bankruptcy Code precluded such payments. That dispute followed actions by Puerto Rico’s governor and legislature in 2015 and 2016, in which they had diverted PRHTA’s special revenues, which consisted of tolls, motor fuels, taxes and other transportation-related revenues, for payment of the Commonwealth’s other obligations.
Continue Reading Bond Market Shaken (Not Stirred) As Supreme Court Declines To Hear Puerto Rico Municipal Bonds Dispute

Introduction

The First Circuit recently ruled in Sun Capital Partners III, LP v. New England Teamsters & Trucking Ind. Pension Fund that two investment funds controlled by private equity firm Sun Capital were not part of a “controlled group” with a former portfolio company, Scott Brass, Inc. (“Scott Brass”), and therefore not liable for Scott Brass’s withdrawal liability from a multi-employer pension plan.[1] While this decision ends the decade-long attempt by the New England Teamsters pension fund to hold the Sun Capital funds liable, the opinion is not a repudiation of the principle that private equity funds may constitute a “controlled group” for purposes of pension plan withdrawal liability. Rather, it signals that each case will have to be evaluated on its own facts. So, while the ruling is good news for Sun Capital, the message for investors is that they need to be mindful of pension plan withdrawal liability in structuring private equity acquisitions.
Continue Reading First Circuit Rules that Sun Capital Funds Not Part of “Controlled Group” and Not Liable for Pension Plan Withdrawal Liability