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LBO-Backed Bankruptcies 2009: One Month, 11 Down

Just over a month into 2009 and we’ve already seen 11 LBO-backed bankruptcies. That’s up over the eight we had this time last year, but nowhere near the massive wave some were predicting.

In fact, the size of these bankruptcies has also been much smaller than expected. The argument remains that mega-buyouts from the ’06 and early ’07 glory days have a few years before their debt matures.

Judging by purchase price, the largest companies to go down are Star Tribune, the newspaper backed by Avista, sugar alternative maker Merisant Worldwide, backed by Pegasus Capital, and Bruno’s Supermarkets, backed by Lone Star Funds. If TPG’s Aleris files in the coming weeks as expected, it would take the prize. TPG purchased the struggling aerospace supplier for $3.3 billion in 2006.

Find the spreadsheet below. This year, we’ve created a more comprehensive tracking method. Beyond just listing sponsor, company, date, and reason for filing, this spreadsheet now includes the year the investment was made, deal value, and, when available, the fund, equity amount, status of the company, and assets and liabilities of the company. If I get ambitious, I’ll add the vintage of the fund, too. You’ll notice there are a small number of “unavailable” boxes in those categories so far, but what do you expect? I’ve made calls to the firms, but it is private equity, after all…

Like last year’s list, this list doesn’t include debt investments (like Apollo’s Lyondell), hedge fund investments, (unless it was made alongside a buyout fund), or PIPEs. Only buyouts. Please let us know if we’ve overlooked one that fits those criteria.

LBO-Backed Bankruptcies 02.09.09