zom·bie /ˈzämbē (noun): the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, by a supernatural force; a corpse brought back to life unnaturally by witchcraft or voodoo

Zombies are very popular lately. There are zombie properties, zombie brands, zombie industries, and even zombie leggings.

“Zombification” is a variant of the word zombie, used in the restructuring world to mean headed toward death – as in the case of an industry or a brand.

Zombification can describe an asset with the potential for rebirth – as in the case of properties, as the Wall Street Journal recently reported (“Zombie Properties Come Back to Life”  by Eliot Brown, November 2, 2011):


Restructuring professionals are dealing with all manner of zombies. Each one became a zombie in a different way, and we have different approaches to each one of them.

In the case of zombie properties, the causes are so “macro” they are beyond our comprehension.  But zombie properties, like Kenny in SouthPark, come back to life.  Once a property is in the hands of a new owner, free and clear of old encumbrances, it loses it zombie characteristics, and snaps back to life. Continue reading

Posted in Restructuring Blog, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Heard on the street: If failure is the mother of success, then who is the father? Or does success, like Heather, have two mommies?”

CNN recently ran a series on creativity.  One of the articles was “The Success of Failure.”


While this particular piece was not directed specifically at business failures, the timing was striking.  Its been over three years since one of the worst financial meltdowns in history. We are still digging ourselves out.  Are we still in “failure” mode?

Nowhere is failure more apparent than in the restructuring area.  Every case stems from a failure of one kind or another.  Our job is to make a success of it, or at least try to salvage what we can.  This is ever more challenging now, given that the economy is still operating like the Spaceship Mir. Continue reading

Posted in Restructuring Blog | Comments Off

At the beginning of any new year, much of the conversation among restructuring types centers on one question: What’s in store for us this year?

A clue was found in a recent “attack ad” run by a super-PAC in connection with the upcoming South Carolina primary.  The ad, which runs over half an hour, interviews workers who lost their jobs after take-overs of their employers by a private equity fund founded by one of the candidates.

Most bankruptcy lawyers – regardless of political persuasion – had the same reaction to this ad:  ”Welcome to my world.”  The voices of displaced workers are all too familiar to those who work in the restructuring world, as are private equity firms and other distressed debt investors. Continue reading

Posted in Restructuring Blog | 1 Comment

The most recent Republican presidential debate was co-sponsored by Facebook and two networks.  The innovative format allowed the moderators to take questions from Facebook users, who participated in a real-time commentary during the debate, with NBC staff monitoring the posts for questions.

I watched the debate on TV and followed the Facebook chat at the same time.  As I saw the FB comments make their way into the hands of the moderators and into the debate, I was struck by the fact that some of the questions and ideas expressed on FB went far beyond what the moderators had in mind going into the debate.

How does this, you ask, relate to why all of us bankruptcy types are losing sleep? And how in the world is this blog going to help with that. Continue reading

Posted in Restructuring Blog | Comments Off

Every one has them. Some say they are a bad idea and that making them simply deters actual action. But we all make them nonetheless. I can only talk about my own, but maybe you will share yours too.


Not just the headline or first two paragraphs. Read the entire article. Especially financial, political, and business news.


The state of the art means: what happened yesterday – literally. The form of DIP order that was entered in Delaware last week. The latest ruling on retention of financial advisors. The state of most-watched bankruptcy appeals. To paraphrase the famous commercial, if you don’t get it, then you don’t get it. Continue reading

Posted in Restructuring Blog | 2 Comments

Let me start with a topic near and dear to all of us…the Debt Wall is lower than everyone though it would be last year. What does that mean for us? Is the economy “strong” yet? If the economy gets too “strong” for too long, what will we do for a living? Will we have to retool? In the next few weeks, I am going to answer these questions and more.

Everyone wants more work right now. There is a lot of hand wringing over where it’s going to come from and when. The answers, however, are all right in front of us.

Every time I overhear a debate about whether the economy presently is “strong” or “weak”, I want to interrupt and say, “Its neither.” As restructuring types, if there is one thing we know, its that the economy is never “good” or “bad” – its simply evolving. Like the weather in New York – it changes every ten minutes. The economy may seem “bad” to most people now, but its “good” right now for one group of people that we serve – investors in the distressed debt and restructuring market. This is also a good time for investors in the established sectors.

Posted in Restructuring Blog | 5 Comments