November 2020, London
PizzaExpress, the international casual dining group, successfully completed its comprehensive debt restructuring on 5 November 2020. As a result of the transaction, the group’s external debt has more than halved, from £735 million to £319 million, with debt maturities extended to 2025. The transaction involved a partial debt-for-equity swap of the existing senior secured notes, and the full equitisation of the senior unsecured notes in exchange for a minority equity stake in the restructured group. In addition, as part of the transaction, £144 million of new money was provided, with lenders receiving an equity stake in the restructured group.
GLAS was excited to be part of this restructuring, only the second to be implemented in part by a Part 26A restructuring plan, a new restructuring tool that was introduced in the UK by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act in June 2020. PizzaExpress’s restructuring plan, sanctioned on 29 October 2020, is only the second restructuring plan to have been implemented in the U.K. and has therefore attracted a substantial amount of interest. PizzaExpress’s restructuring plan was also recognised in the United States via Chapter 15 proceedings.
GLAS was appointed on a significant number of roles in the restructuring, acting as Information and Tabulation Agent and Holding Period Trustee in connection with the restructuring plan, and Security Agent, New SSN Facility Agent, New Money Facility Agent and Equity Agent in respect of the post-restructuring financing and equity arrangements.
The GLAS deal team was led by Mia Drennan, Anthony Stanford and Natasha Chan from our Restructuring & Insolvency team, Paul Cattermole, Katie Lacey, Paul Fletcher and Seema Vadgama from our Liability Management and Transactions teams, and Georgios Vrentzos and Shahaana Kulendran from our Business Solutions team.
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