RESEARCH: Kirkland, PJT, FTI and Alvarez top Debtwire’s bankruptcy professional fees report for 2016

10 July 2017

[Editor’s note: Debtwire’s revamped Professional Fees Report tracks and analyzes fees earned in bankruptcy cases that were filed in 2016 and serves as a companion to Debtwire’s annual Restructuring Advisory Mandates Report. This report captures all fee data from bankruptcies filed in 2016 that are within Debtwire’s coverage universe. In this report, we also perform company-specific and sector analysis, specifically focusing on the energy, retail and metals & mining sectors that were central to 2016 restructurings.] 

Debtwire today published its Professional Fees Report for 2016, which tracks publicly disclosed professional fees across over 200 in-court bankruptcies filed in 2016. This report comprises fees for more than 1,100 in-court representations by law firms, financial and operational advisers, investment bankers, and claims agents of parties required to submit their invoices on the court docket for judicial approval.

During the course of 2016, bankrupt estates cut checks for more than USD 1.25bn of fees and expenses to disclosing restructuring professionals. Legal counsel were responsible for more than USD 700m (ie, more than 55%), while investment bankers and financial advisors earned close to USD 400m (ie, more than 30%). Restructuring advisors earned the vast remainder of fees, totaling approximately USD 150m (ie, 12%), while claims agents rounded up the pack.

Many of the banner takeaways from the report can be summed up through the clear separation between the leaders and everyone else:
 

  • SunEdison is by far the most expensive case (more than double Peabody Energy);
  • For lead counsel, Kirkland & EllisWeil Gotshal and Skadden earned more than double every other law firm;
  • PJT Partners earned close to triple the next highest investment banker (Jefferies and Lazard), while FTI Consulting earned more than triple the next highest financial advisor; and
  • On the restructuring advisor front, Alvarez & Marsal earned close to 33% more than AlixPartners, which itself earned 33% more than FTI.


CLICK HERE for Debtwire’s inaugural Professional Fees Report.