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ProfessionalsAustin Witt

Austin Witt
Partner

Tel: +1-212-373-3181
Fax: +1-212-492-0181
awitt@paulweiss.com

+1-212-373-3181
New York

1285 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10019-6064
Fax: +1-212-492-0181

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A partner in the Finance Group of the Corporate Department and head of the Special Situations Practice, Austin Witt represents creditors, borrowers, issuers, distressed investors, direct lenders and sponsors in a wide range of restructurings, liability management transactions, direct lending transactions, rescue financings, DIP financings, exit financings and other high yield financing transactions. Austin particularly focuses on advising clients in special situations, working alongside attorneys in the Paul, Weiss Restructuring Department on some of the largest and most sophisticated distressed transactions in the world.

EXPERIENCE

Austin’s representative direct lending, creditor and distressed investor experience includes:

  • KKR, alongside other investors, in connection with a $2.5 billion preferred equity issuance commitment to support the acquisition of Citrix
  • Centerbridge and Oaktree in a $1.25 billion direct loan to OTG, a leading operator of airport concessions
  • KKR and KSL as equity sponsors of Apple Leisure and purchasers of $200 million of first lien notes issued by the company in a rescue financing
  • Certain investors of Lime, a transportation company that runs electric scooters, bikes and mopeds in various cities around the world, in connection with the company’s $418 million convertible notes offering
  • HPS in connection with its various amendments to the first lien and second lien credit facilities of American Stock Transfer, with such amendments facilitating a successful orderly sale of the company
  • An ad hoc group of term loan lenders in connection with a $806 million exit financing in the prearranged chapter 11 case of Covia Holdings Corporation, a leading provider of diversified mineral-based and material solutions for the global energy and industrial markets
  • Brookfield Asset Management, Inc. and Simon Property Group in their acquisition of certain assets of J.C. Penney Company, Inc., including the $520 million takeback first lien credit agreement, in connection with J.C. Penney’s chapter 11 case
  • Oaktree Capital Management
    • in its $200 million senior secured term loan to Ashford Hospitality Trust, Inc. and its subsidiaries, a real estate investment trust investing predominantly in upscale hotels
    • in its $369 million investment in debt, warrants, and preferred equity of TechStyle and warrants of Savage X Holdings
    • in its $105 million investment in senior notes and warrants of Exantas Capital Corporation
    • in its $500 million unsecured loan to United Mortgage, a leading mortgage originator and servicer
    • alongside Oak Hill Advisors, in connection with a $375 million second lien loan to Immucor, a TPG portfolio company in the pharmaceutical space
    • alongside Piper Jaffray in connection with a second lien direct loan to U.S. Well Services, a leading provider of hydraulic fracturing services
    • in connection with certain backleverage loans for its investment funds
  • Citadel, as the largest creditor, in connection with Ultra Petroleum’s bankruptcy
  • KKR, as agent and lender, in NPC International’s bankruptcy cases, which included the court-approved sales of the debtors’ Wendy’s and Pizza Hut businesses to Flynn Restaurant Group and a consortium of Wendy’s franchisees for a combined purchase price of approximately $801 million
  • Highbridge and other convertible noteholders, in connection with multiple out-of-court debt for equity conversions and financings of A.M. Castle
  • An ad hoc group of noteholders, in connection with a debtor-in-possession financing for Hi-Crush’s bankruptcy
  • A joint venture of Simon Property Group and Authentic Brands, in connection with a debtor-in-possession financing for Brooks Brothers’ bankruptcy
  • TOMS Shoes’ term loan lenders in their acquisition of TOMS Shoes, a California–based maker of casual footwear, in connection with the conversion of approximately $300 million of secured term debt into equity and takeback secured debt and the investment of new capital in the company by certain term loan lenders
  • David’s Bridal’s largest creditor in connection with the company’s successful prepackaged plan of reorganization and related exit financings
  • An ad hoc group of prepetition second lien lenders in the chapter 11 cases and related exit financings of FULLBEAUTY Brands and certain affiliates, which restructured more than $1.2 billion of prepetition debt through a prepackaged plan of reorganization that was approved less than 24 hours after the company filed for chapter 11 protection
  • HPS Investment Partners in connection with all aspects of the chapter 11 cases of LBI Media and its affiliates, including in connection with providing debtor-in-possession financing and exit financing
  • The first lien creditors of Affinion Group (n/k/a cxLoyalty), a leading global provider of loyalty and customer engagement solutions, in connection with the company’s successful out-of-court recapitalization that included restating the existing first lien debt facilities
  • An ad hoc committee of debtholdersin the chapter 11 cases of Pacific Drilling S.A., a leading international offshore drilling contractor with approximately $3 billion in indebtedness, including in connection with providing debtor-in-possession financing and first and second lien note exit financings totaling approximately $1 billion
  • The first lien lender of Willbros Group, a global engineering and contractor company, in connection with the company’s restructuring and sale
  • Certain funds managed by Neuberger Berman in connection with out-of-court restructurings of Drive Medical, a provider of durable medical equipment, including initially in connection with an exchange of the existing second lien debt and subsequently in connection with an exchange of the 1.5 lien debt
  • An ad hoc group of unsecured noteholders in connection with the prepackaged chapter 11 cases of Battalion Oil (f/k/a Halcón Resources Corporation), including in connection with providing debtor-in-possession financing
  • An ad hoc group of first lien noteholders of Egalet Corporation, a specialty pharmaceutical company, in the company’s prearranged chapter 11 cases
  • An ad hoc committee of revolving lenders of Syncreon Group Holdings, a logistics-services provider, in refinancing its first lien revolving credit facility and later in connection with its restructuring through a scheme of arrangement and various parallel proceedings

Austin’s representative company-side and sponsor-side experience includes:

  • Weatherford International plc, a leading multinational oil and gas company, in its upsize of its senior secured letter of credit agreement and the issuance of $2.6 billion in secured and unsecured notes in various issuances
  • Canopy Growth Corporation, a publicly traded leading cannabis products company, in its $750 million senior secured term loan, provided by funds advised by King Street Capital Management, L.P., which also provides for up to an additional $500 million of incremental senior secured debt
  • Goodlife Fitness Centres, the leading fitness club operator in Canada, in connection with a refinancing of all of its existing debt facilities with a senior secured term loan, provided by funds advised by King Street and Centerbridge
  • Foresight Energy, a leading coal producer, in connection with debtor-in-possession financing for its bankruptcy and $150 million in secured exit financing, and in connection with a prior $920 million refinancing of existing senior secured credit facilities and $400 million second lien note financing
  • Red Robin, a national restaurant chain in the casual dining space, in connection with amendments to its existing $300 million secured credit facility
  • Checker’s Drive-In Restaurants, a fast food restaurant chain, in connection with amendments to its approximately $300 million of first and second lien debt
  • Templar, an exploration and production company, in connection with debtor-in-possession financing for its bankruptcy case
  • TPG Partners, as sponsor to Cirque du Soleil, in connection with an unrestricted subsidiary financing and bid for assets of Cirque du Soleil in bankruptcy
  • Bumble Bee Foods and its U.S. affiliates in a combined chapter 11 and CCAA process, including in connection with two debtor-in-possession financings, totaling more than $275 million in commitments
  • David’s Bridal, the nation’s leading bridal and special occasion retailer, in an out-of-court recapitalization transaction which provided for $55 million of new capital from existing lenders and the exchange of more than $275 million in existing term loan debt into new preferred and common equity securities. Additionally, after consummation of the out-of-court recapitalization, represented the company in connection with more than $100 million in super priority financings
  • Expro Holdings, a leading international provider of well flow management services to the oil and gas industry, in its prepackaged chapter 11 case, including in connection with debtor-in-possession financings
  • Certain subsidiaries of CGG S.A.in their prenegotiated chapter 11 cases by which the company and its subsidiaries equitized approximately $2 billion of unsecured debt through concurrent restructuring proceedings in France and the United States
  • Lion Capital, as secured lender and equity sponsor, in the chapter 11 cases of Alex and Ani, a customizable jewelry company. The restructuring plan allowed the company to reorganize its balance sheet, optimize its retail lease portfolio, resolve litigation involving the company’s founder, and convert the company’s $127 million of prepetition secured debt into 100% of the reorganized company’s equity
  • Glass Mountain, the owner of a 450-mile pipeline providing crude oil transportation and storage services, in a comprehensive restructuring with its equity sponsor and secured lenders that resulted in a reduction of over $230 million in debt

Austin also has significant experience in acquisition financings, including:

  • Funds affiliated with Apollo Global Management in a variety of transactions, including:
    • as sponsor, in its $2.9 billion senior secured credit facilities in connection with its acquisition of West Corporation, a Nebraska-based provider of communication and network infrastructure services
    • as sponsor, in its $1.175 billion senior secured first lien term facility and $175 million senior secured first lien revolving facility in connection with the acquisition of ClubCorp, a Texas-based owner-operator of private golf and country clubs and private business clubs
    • in the $625 million senior secured credit facilities in connection with the acquisition of Smart & Final, a chain of warehouse-style food and supply stores based in Commerce, California
  • Talos Energy, a Texas-based independent oil and gas exploration and production company, in connection with financing the acquisition of Stone Energy Corporation, a Louisiana-based independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company, to create a company with an enterprise value of approximately $2.5 billion
  • The Stars Group, a Canada-based provider of technology-based products and services in the global gaming and interactive entertainment industries, in connection with financing the acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming, a UK-based provider of online sports betting, from CVC Capital Partners, for an enterprise value of approximately $4.7 billion
  • Oak Hill Capital Partners, as sponsor, in connection with of approximately $300 million senior secured credit facilities in connection with the acquisition financing of Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, a Florida-based drive-thru restaurant chain, from Sentinel Capital Partners

Austin graduated from the University of Chicago with Honors, was a member of The University of Chicago Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif.

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