No More Shopko Gate At Lambeau

The Green and Gold are back on the gridiron, but you will notice something a bit different about Lambeau Field if you visit it this season. The gate that used to be known as Shopko Gate is now being referred to as “South Gate.” 

Shopko had been the sponsor of the entrance gate added to Lambeau Field as part of the south end zone expansion since 2013. Now, both the retailer and its name above the gate are no more. 

So, What’s Going to Happen Now?

When the Ashwaubenon-based retailer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, the future of the gate’s name was uncertain. Had the “Official Hometown Store of the Packers” already locked in a multi-year deal? Would its name above the gate outlive the company itself? 

We now know the answer is no, but that does not mean that the Shopko name will be erased from history. 

Shopko purchased the naming rights to Shopko Hall in the Brown County Veterans Memorial Complex for the life of the building in 1999 for $1.4 million. However, in a weird twist of fate, that building is being demolished this year to make room for the new Brown County Expo Center. 

The only enduring Shopko branding is carved into the CityDeck boardwalk that juts out over the Fox River. According to the Press Gazette, “Shopko contributed $250,000 toward CityDeck’s $12 million price tag and the recognition for its support will not be going anywhere. It is literally carved into the wood in Shopko Landing.” 

The Packers will undoubtedly have no trouble finding a new sponsor for “South Gate” and may even get another company to pay it to be called the “Official Hometown Store of the Packers,” but this is an example of the ripple effect bankruptcies have on even healthy businesses they are connected to. The Packers had a 98% drop in profit over the last year, and losing a major sponsor would have played some role in that dramatic decrease even though it is not mentioned as a major factor in the team’s statement about its finances

Contact Our Attorneys Today to Help Navigate Through Bankruptcy

At Hanson & Payne, we help companies going through bankruptcy, and companies who are impacted by a customer or debtor’s bankruptcy, navigate what can be a complex and frustrating process. We are a reliable and experienced team you can trust in the worst of times. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 

What We Learn From the Remington Bankruptcy

Last year, the nation’s oldest gun manufacturer went bankrupt, but it continues to operate as a market leader in the firearms industry. Remington’s resilience provides an excellent case study on the bankruptcy of a business that continues to operate, and the actions its creditors took to save it.

A perfect storm

Remington’s bankruptcy was unexpected, to say the least. Over the past decade, the gun market has been booming. Experts in the industry claimed President Obama was the best gun salesman ever since 2nd Amendment enthusiasts feared he would curtail their rights, and therefore stockpiled guns and ammunition. 

But when President Trump was elected, things changed. People were no longer buying out of fear, so gun sales slowed dramatically. Around this same time, Remington was sued by the relatives of the victims of the Sandy Hook massacre. The shooter favored Remington guns. 

The bad press and drop in sales couldn’t have come at a worse time for Remington, which had a great deal of debt foisted upon it by the private equity company that bought it back in 2007 — they did some sort of financial wizardry that sort of made the company pay for its own acquisition and then some. Remington couldn’t make the hefty payments and was forced to declare bankruptcy. 

Down but not out

Instead of liquidating its assets and closing up shop, the century-old company negotiated a debt-for-equity swap with its creditors. Creditors took ownership stakes in the company in exchange for forgiving more than $775 million of debt. Remington also received $193 million in new financing. 

It is on this new financial footing that the company will move forward. It has a state of the art factory in Alabama and sportsmen across the country who are loyal to the brand. Thanks to the bankruptcy system, it can capitalize on these assets and perhaps stay in business another 100 years. As Anthony Acitelli, Chief Executive Officer of Remington put it, “It is morning in Remington country.”

Not as unique as it may seem

Remington’s story is not uncommon despite the fact that there are not a lot of news articles written about companies that successfully navigate the bankruptcy system or debt-for-equity swaps. Every day the Hanson and Payne team helps Wisconsin businesses who are contemplating bankruptcy, or who have already filed, find a path forward. And we are just as frequently called on by creditors who are looking for guidance when a debtor is in financial trouble.

The sooner a business comes to us for help, the more options are available to it. We have lots of experience helping debtors and creditors avoid bankruptcy altogether by negotiating business workouts or creative financing options. Debt-for-equity swaps are just one option. 

Whether you or one of your clients are facing challenging market conditions or made poor financial decisions, there is a path forward. The Hanson and Payne team can help your business out of even the most difficult situations. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation. 

Fox Valley Pro Basketball Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a business to continue operating throughout the bankruptcy process. With this type of bankruptcy filing, the debtor usually proposes a reorganization plan intended to both keep the business alive and pay its creditors over a period of time. Recently, the owner of the Menominee Nation Arena in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The owner of the arena, Fox Valley Pro Basketball, Inc. filed for bankruptcy on August 19th in the Eastern District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Court.

Fox Valley Pro Basketball Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Menominee Nation Arena is home to NBA G League Wisconsin Herd. This basketball team is affiliated with the Milwaukee Bucks. Fox Valley Pro Basketball, Inc., owner of the arena, was more than a year behind on the mortgage payment for the Menominee Nation Arena. Just before the company was due in Winnebago County Court regarding the mortgage non-payment, it filed for bankruptcy. Bayland Buildings, a general contractor, had filed a Foreclosure of Mortgage complaint against Fox Valley Pro Basketball and claimed that the company owed $13 million on the mortgage. Bayland Buildings stated that no regularly scheduled mortgage payment had been received by Fox Valley Pro Basketball since May of 2018.

In the bankruptcy filing, it is estimated that Fox Valley Pro Basketball has assets totaling between $10 million and $50 million. The filing further states that the company may have close to 200 creditors and estimated liabilities of $10 to $50 million. The bankruptcy court, during a hearing on August 23rd, approved a lending proposal for Fox Valley Pro Basketball while the company makes an effort to successfully reorganize the business. In order to meet cash flow needs during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, Windward Wealth Strategies, Inc., owned by a group that has a controlling interest in Fox Valley Pro Basketball, has agreed to lend Fox Valley Pro Basketball up to $200,000. Greg Pierce, President of Fox Valley Pro Basketball has also stated that they are putting money of their own on the line to make the bankruptcy and reorganization process successful. With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a business is usually looking to bring operations to a close. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a business to remain open during the bankruptcy process and attempt to reorganize the company in order to survive bankruptcy and continue operations.  Menominee Nation Arena does plan on continuing operations throughout the reorganization. Jason Fields, General Manager of the arena, has made it clear that the arena remains committed to supporting the greater Oshkosh community.

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Legal Counsel

The type of bankruptcy you file is very important. The knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys at Hanson & Payne, LLC can counsel you on your options and provide trusted legal counsel throughout the bankruptcy process. We are here to provide continued support to our clients and always watch out for their best interests. Contact us today.