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Sungard Availability Is Said to Prepare Bankruptcy Filing

The expected Chapter 11 filing could kick off the fastest court restructuring on record.

Katherine Doherty (Bloomberg) -- Private equity-owned Sungard Availability Services Capital Inc. is preparing a pre-arranged bankruptcy filing that would reduce its nearly $1.3 billion debt load and hand control to existing lenders in what could be the fastest court restructuring on record.

The technology company aims to file for Chapter 11 protection around May 1 with a confirmation hearing the next day, according to people with knowledge of the matter. To speed up the process, Sungard negotiated the terms of a restructuring support agreement with two creditor groups, the majority of whom support the deal, said the people, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

The Wayne, Pennsylvania-based company plans to skip a coupon payment that was due April 1 on its 8.75 percent notes maturing April 2022 as part of the restructuring process, the people said. Its plan depends on a bankruptcy judge’s approval of Sungard’s proposal to convert existing first-lien and unsecured debt into equity.

Lenders holding Sungard’s $421 million loan due 2021 and $380 million loan due 2022 are slated to receive around 89 percent of the reorganized firm, while holders of $425 million of unsecured notes will receive the remaining 11 percent, said the people. The company plans to emerge with around $400 million of debt on its balance sheet, most of which will be distributed to its existing secured lenders.

Creditor Groups

Sungard offers technology support to firms including cloud-based recovery services, employing over 3,000 people, according to its website.

The company is backed by six private equity sponsors -- Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, Providence Equity Partners, KKR & Co., Silver Lake Management and TPG Capital. Sungard Availability Services was split from SunGard Data Systems in 2014 and remained in the hands of the private equity owners even as its parent was sold off to Fidelity National Information Services Inc.

Sungard has been negotiating the terms of the restructuring with two creditor groups. A group of both term-loan and bond holders, including GSO Capital Partners and Angelo Gordon, are working with law firm Akin Gump and investment bank PJT Partners, the people said.

A group of term-loan holders including Carlyle Group enlisted Jones Day as counsel and Houlihan Lokey as financial adviser, the people said. Sungard is represented by restructuring law firm Kirkland & Ellis, investment bank Centerview Partners and restructuring adviser AlixPartners.

“Our creditors recognize the value in what we’ve built, and are investing new capital into the business,” Sungard Chief Executive Officer Andrew Stern said in a statement sent to Bloomberg. Sungard “will emerge from this process as a much stronger company.”

Representatives for the various creditor firms and advisers either declined to comment or didn’t respond to requests for comment. Quotes on the company’s 2021 term loan are below 70 cents on the dollar, and the unsecured notes traded for just 4 cents on March 21.

Two months ago, Fullbeauty Brands Inc. set a record for the fastest U.S. corporate bankruptcy after taking about 21 hours to win court approval for its plan to restructure.

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