Cristine Pirro Schwarzman
Cristine is a restructuring partner in Ropes & Gray’s New York office. She has represented some of the most well-known debtors in the world, and in 2020 was named “40 Under 40” by the American Bankruptcy Institute, a “Rising Star” by Private Debtor Investor, and a “Top U.S.A. Dealmaker” by the Global M&A Network. Prior to joining Ropes & Gray, she worked as the law clerk for Chief Judge Gonzalez of the Southern District of New York and then joined the restructuring group of another preeminent New York law firm. Cristine joined Ropes & Gray’s restructuring practice to continue her representation of debtors, distressed borrowers, and investors, including private equity sponsors, in connection with out-of-court restructurings and chapter 11 cases. She also advises boards of directors and senior management of distressed companies regarding fiduciary duties and corporate governance.
Altamont Capital Partners: Representing Altamont Capital Partners in connection with its joint purchase of prepetition debt of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, an owner and operator of dine-in movie theaters, joint provision of $60 million of debtor in possession financing, and credit bid for a substantial part of the business and assets of Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas through its chapter 11 cases.
24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc.: Representing 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide Inc. and its debtor-affiliates in their pending chapter 11 cases involving approximately $1.4 billion of funded debt. 24 Hour Fitness is a leading fitness club operator with locations across the United States and more than 3 million members.
Rubio’s Grill: Representing Rubio’s Grill, the operator and franchisor of approximately 170 limited service restaurants across California, Arizona and Nevada, in its chapter 11 cases to reduce its secured indebtedness on a consensual basis, address its operational footprint, and obtain a significant liquidity infusion upon emergence from chapter 11.
Centric Brands: Representing Centric Brands Inc., a leading lifestyle brands collective, and certain of its subsidiaries in their chapter 11 cases to recapitalize approximately $1.8 billion in funded indebtedness. Centric filed with a restructuring support agreement backed by its key funded debtholders, $435 million in debtor-in-possession financing, and a path to a quick and consensual emergence with a capital structure reduced by approximately $700 million.
TOMS Shoes: Represented TOMS Shoes and certain affiliated entities in the out-of-court deleveraging of approximately $350 million of secured debt.
Dental Services Company: Represented a dental services company in its out-of-court turnover to its funded debtholders.
Oil and Gas Midstream Services Provider: Represented an oil and gas midstream services provider in connection with filing preparation, litigation, and an eventual two-year amendment of outstanding obligations.
VIP Cinema Holdings, Inc.: Representing VIP Cinema Holdings, Inc. and certain of its affiliates (“VIP”), a multinational enterprise that is one of the largest manufacturers, and a pioneer, of luxury seating products for movie theaters, in its prepackaged Chapter 11 case in Delaware. In connection with its restructuring, VIP reached agreements with its first lien and second lien lenders, and its private equity sponsor, prior to filing the Chapter 11 case to deleverage its balance sheet by approximately $178 million.
Jack Cooper Ventures, Inc.: Represented stalking horse purchaser and DIP lender in cases of Jack Cooper Ventures, Inc. and certain affiliates in the Northern District of Georgia to address approximately $575 million in prepetition secured debt, modified labor and pension obligations, and facilitate a going-concern 363 sale transaction. Jack Cooper is a leading provider of finished vehicle logistics in North America.*
FastMed Holdings I, LLC: Represented FastMed Holdings I, LLC and certain of its affiliates (“FastMed”) in their deleveraging transaction. FastMed is a privately owned operator of over 100 urgent care clinics in Arizona, North Carolina, and Texas. The transaction resulted in the consensual equitization of approximately $80 million in funded debt and the paydown of approximately $148 million in secured debt.*
Windstream Holdings, Inc.: Represented Windstream Holdings, Inc., and its debtor subsidiaries in their chapter 11 restructuring in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Windstream is a leading provider of advanced network communications, technology, broadband, entertainment and security solutions to consumers and small businesses in 18 states. Windstream commenced its chapter 11 cases with $5.6 billion in prepetition funded debt and a fully committed $1 billion debtor-in-possession credit facility to support the Debtors’ businesses throughout chapter 11.*
Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc.: Represented Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc. and certain subsidiaries (“Aegean”), a leading international marine fuel logistics company with approximately $900 million of funded indebtedness, in their chapter 11 cases filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. Aegean operates in more than 20 countries worldwide with headquarters in Athens, Greece and a corporate office in New York, New York. In connection with its restructuring, Aegean had reached agreements with certain key stakeholders to deleverage its balance sheet by more than $700 million and continue as a going concern.*
VER Technologies HoldCo LLC: Represented VER Technologies HoldCo LLC and certain of its affiliates (collectively, “VER”) in chapter 11 cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. VER is one of the largest suppliers of rental production equipment and solutions in the world, leasing lighting, sound, rigging, and video equipment to various customers in the corporate, hotel, television, cinema, and live music sectors. At the time the cases were filed, VER had funded debt of over $760 million. VER commenced the cases with the support of over two-thirds of the lenders under its prepetition term loan facility, the lenders under its term loan debtor-in-possession financing facility, holders of two tranches of promissory notes, and a strategic merger partner. These parties supported VER’s chapter 11 cases pursuant to a restructuring support agreement that provided the basis for a consensual chapter 11 plan followed immediately by a merger of the reorganized equity into the strategic partner. VER also secured $364.7 million in debtor-in-possession financing facilities to fund VER’s operations and the administration of its chapter 11 cases. In 2018, the Turnaround Management Association recognized the successful restructuring of VER with its “Restructuring of the Year” (over $500M to $1bn) award.*
FloWorks International, LLC: Represented FloWorks International, LLC, a specialty industrial distributor of pipe, valves, and fittings and related technical solutions to energy and industrial sectors, in its successful out-of-court recapitalization transaction supported by Clearlake Capital Group LP, TowerBrook Capital Partners LP, the company’s management team, and other stakeholders.*
Northern Pacific Group: Represented Northern Pacific Group and a joint-venture affiliate in connection with a new $20 million debtor- in-possession loan to and successful $50 million credit-bid purchase of certain assets of Sungevity, Inc. and its subsidiaries. Sungevity is a leading solar panel distribution business that designs home solar systems, provides financing options, and manages system installation, maintenance, and performance.*
Payless ShoeSource, Inc.: Represented Payless Shoe Source, Inc. and certain of its affiliates in chapter 11 cases pending in the United States bankruptcy court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Payless is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere with nearly 4,400 stores across more than 30 countries. *
Peabody Energy: Co-represented an ad hoc committee of unsecured noteholders of Peabody Energy Corporation, the world’s largest publicly traded, private-sector coal company, in its chapter 11 cases, which will address approximately $8.8 billion in funded debt obligations and other legacy liabilities. The ad hoc committee members collectively hold approximately $2.0 billion of unsecured note claims and certain of the members are lenders within the debtors’ DIP facility.*
Things Remembered: Represented retailer Things Remembered in connection with an out-of-court restructuring of its approximately $150 million of funded indebtedness. As part of the restructuring, existing lenders acquired all of the equity in Things Remembered, significantly reducing the company’s outstanding indebtedness and providing the company with additional liquidity in the form of an asset-based loan to support future growth.*
Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation: Represented Texas-based Sabine Oil & Gas and its subsidiaries, an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with approximately $2.6 billion in outstanding funded debt obligations, in their chapter 11 cases in the Southern District of New York. After more than a year of litigation (in the context of multiple motions for derivative standing and confirmation of Sabine’s chapter 11 plan) Sabine confirmed a plan of reorganization that significantly reduced its funded debt obligations and secured the financial commitments necessary to fund the restructuring and go-forward business needs. In addition, Sabine successfully obtained the bankruptcy court approval needed to reject certain onerous midstream gas gathering agreements and better position the business for post-emergence success. In 2017, the Turnaround Management Association recognized the successful restructuring of Sabine Oil & Gas Corporation with its “Large Company Transaction of the Year Award.”*
Nextel International: Represented a group of bondholders in the chapter 11 cases of Nextel International, a leading telecommunications provider in Central and South America.*
AES Eastern Energy, LP: Represented AES Eastern Energy, LP and its affiliates in the chapter 11 cases of six coal-fired electric generating plants in New York, which resulted in the eventual sale and liquidation of assets and approximately $1 billion in debt.*
Lehman Brothers: Represented financial firm Lehman Brothers in its chapter 11 filing to reorganize over $600 billion of assets.*
Washington Mutual Inc.: Represented Washington Mutual Inc. and WMI Investment Corp. in their chapter 11 cases.*
*Representations prior to joining Ropes & Gray
- “'Release the Kraken' II: For Want of a Lien, the Botticelli Could Be Lost. . .”, Weil Bankruptcy Blog (May 2, 2014) (Co-Authored by Doron Kenter)
- “No Trust? Time for a Trustee,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (April 3, 2014)
- “Ninth Circuit B.A.P. Affirms That Liquidating Trust Can Receive Joint Venture Interests Notwithstanding Transfer Restrictions in Operating Agreement,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (Co-Authored by Victoria Vron) (March 21, 2014)
- “No Trustee, No Debtor in Possession: What Happens When a Receiver Has Sole Control Over Property of the Estate?,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (Jan. 9, 2014)
- “No Holding Back Strumpf's Administrative Hold,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (Oct. 24, 2013)
- “Avoid the Statute of Limitations on Avoidance Actions: Relate-Back!,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (Oct. 1, 2013)
- “Cash Flow vs. Balance Sheet Insolvency in Chapter 11: Who Cares? Insolvency Is Not a Prerequisite to a Voluntary Chapter 11 Filing in the Ninth Circuit,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (August 13, 2013)
- “Partial Dirt-for-Debt Plans: No Cushion? No Confirmation,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (March 27, 2013)
- “Bankruptcy Court Allows Full Damage Claim Without Reduction to Present Value,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (February 6, 2013)
- “S.D.N.Y. Bankruptcy Court Weighs the 'Lease or Rental Agreement' Requirement of Section 362(b)(22) of the Bankruptcy Code,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (January 14, 2013)
- “But Judge, Operating in the Red was Ordinary Course for this Debtor!,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (November 26, 2012)
- “Eighth Circuit Holds that the "Equities" Do Not Need to Weigh in Favor of a Creditor Seeking Recoupment,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (October 15, 2012)
- “The Contracts Clause versus the Bankruptcy Clause: Bankruptcy Court Holds Bankruptcy Clause Reigns Supreme,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (August 23, 2012)
- “Second Circuit's Regard of the 'Manifest Disregard' Standard,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (July 20, 2012)
- “The Yu-Gi-Oh! Anime Series' Duel for the Future of the Series in the Western World,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (June 20, 2012)
- “Sellers Celebrate: Delaware Bankruptcy Court Confirms that Assumption and Assignment of an Executory Contract Offers Protection from Preference Claims,” Weil Bankruptcy (May 14, 2012)
- “When Is a Debtor Really Off the Hook on a Rejected Lease? (The Answer May Not Be as Simple as You Think),” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (January 6, 2012)
- “Don't Take It Personally: Navigating Derivative Suits Granted to a Liquidating Trustee,” Weil Bankruptcy Blog (November 22, 2011)
- Guest Lecturer, “A Study of ‘Mega’ Bankruptcy Cases: Impact on the Economy and Related Industries Seminar,” NYU School of Law, March 9, 2021, New York, New York (Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Professor)
- Panelist, “One Year Later: The Impacts of COVID-19 on Bankruptcy and Restructuring,” International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC), February 23, 2021
- Panelist, “New World Orders: Post-COVID Practice,” American Bankruptcy Institute 2020 Northeast Virtual Bankruptcy Conference & Consumer Forum, July 20, 2020
- Guest Lecturer, “A Study of ‘Mega’ Bankruptcy Cases: Impact on the Economy and Related Industries Seminar,” NYU School of Law, April 28, 2020, New York, New York (Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Professor)
- Panelist, “Healthcare Restructuring Panel,” American Bankruptcy Institute 2020 Complex Financial Restructuring Program, February 26, 2020, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Guest Lecturer, “A Study of ‘Mega’ Bankruptcy Cases: Impact on the Economy and Related Industries Seminar,” NYU School of Law, March 26, 2019, New York, New York (Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Professor)
- Panelist, “Bringing Holdouts to the Table,” American Bankruptcy Institute 2019 Complex Financial Restructuring Program, February 27, 2019, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Guest Lecturer, “Corporate Restructuring,” Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, February 5, 2018, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Kevin Kaiser, Adjunct Professor of Finance)
- Guest Lecturer, “Chapter 11 Preparation: An Associate’s Perspective,” NYU School of Law, May 7, 2017, New York, New York (Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Professor)
- Guest Lecturer, “Chapter 11 Preparation: An Associate’s Perspective,” NYU School of Law, May 3, 2016, New York, New York (Hon. Arthur J. Gonzalez, Professor)
- Practicing Law Institute Seminar, "Prepackaged and Prenegotiated Chapter 11 Cases," February 2013
- JD, University of Pennsylvania Law School, 2010
- Certificate in Business Economics, The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
- BA, cum laude, University of Pennsylvania, 2007
Admissions / Qualifications
- New York, 2011
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
- Women in Business Law – “Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyer of the Year” (2021)
- Super Lawyers New York – Rising Star, Bankruptcy (2021)
- Turnarounds & Workouts Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer (2021)
- Global M&A Network Corporate Turnaround Award (2020): Aegean Marine
- American Bankruptcy Institute 40 under 40 (2020)
- Private Debt Investor Rising Star (2020)
- Legal 500 (2020)
- New York Super Lawyers Rising Star (2020)
- Global M&A Network Top U.S.A. Women Dealmakers (2020)
- Outstanding Legal Services, MFY (2013)