Robert A. Klyman is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and member of the Business Restructuring and Reorganization Practice Group. In his international practice, Mr. Klyman represents companies, lenders, ad hoc groups of secured and unsecured creditors, acquirers and boards of directors in all phases of restructurings and workouts. His experience includes representing lenders and bondholders in complex workouts; advising debtors in connection with traditional, prepackaged and ‘pre-negotiated’ bankruptcies; counseling strategic and financial players who acquire debt or provide financing as a path to take control of companies in bankruptcy; structuring and implementing numerous asset sales through Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code; and litigating complex bankruptcy and commercial matters arising in chapter 11 cases, both at trial and on appeal.
Robert Klyman has been widely and regularly recognized for both his debtor and creditor work as a leading bankruptcy and restructuring attorney by Chambers USA (where clients recognized him as “incredibly smart, commercial, [having] terrific business judgment, and … extremely hard-working and reachable at any time,” “great in court,” “a great strategist” and “incredibly technically sound”); named as one of the world’s leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers by Euromoney; recognized as one of 8 bankruptcy lawyers of the year by IFLR1000 in 2020, listed in the K&A Restructuring Register, a leading peer review listing, as one of the top 100 restructuring professionals in the United States; named as a ‘Top Bankruptcy M&A Lawyer’ by The Deal’s Bankruptcy Insider; named as one of the 12 outstanding bankruptcy lawyers in the nation under the age of 40 (in 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2004) by Turnarounds & Workouts; and one of ’20 lawyers under 40′ to watch in California by the Daily Journal. Turnarounds & Workouts also named him to its 2016 list of Outstanding Restructuring Lawyers, honoring 12 attorneys as leaders in the bankruptcy field. Mr. Klyman also has been selected regularly by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the field of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights.
Mr. Klyman developed, and for 20 years co-taught, a case study for the Harvard Business School on prepackaged bankruptcies and bankruptcy valuation issues. He has also taught classes on bankruptcy dealmaking and strategy at the University of Michigan Business School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and UCLA Law School. Mr. Klyman is also a member of the ABA Subcommittee that drafted the ABA Model Bankruptcy Asset Purchase Agreement. He also regularly serves as a panelist presenting cutting edge issues in restructuring and bankruptcy.
Mr. Klyman received both his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1989 and his B.A. degree from the University of Michigan in 1986.
Mr. Klyman is admitted to the California Bar. Prior to joining Gibson Dunn in 2014, Mr. Klyman was a partner at the firm of Latham & Watkins for more than 17 years.
Mr. Klyman’s representative transactions include:*
- The Sports Authority (a leading sport goods retailer with 425 leases and more than $1 billion in debt) as debtor in its bankruptcy case.
- Freedom Communications (the owner of more than 70 newspapers and television stations) as debtor in its bankruptcy case (restructured approximately $1.1 billion in debt).
- Leap Wireless Communications, Inc. as debtor in its bankruptcy case (restructured approximately $2.6 billion in debt and more than 100 leases).
- A major Atlantic City hotel and casino company as debtor in its bankruptcy case (restructured approximately $1.5 billion in debt).
- Stimwave Technologies Incorporated as debtor in its bankruptcy case.
- Natrol (an international vitamin manufacturer and distributor) as debtor in its bankruptcy case which culminated in the 363 sale of its assets to Aurobindo Pharma for $132.5 million plus assumed liabilities.
- Representing Lynn Tilton and her affiliated Patriarch entities in the chapter 11 cases of the Zohar Funds, three Cayman-island based CLO hedge funds.
- A landlord with a master lease covering more than 200 locations with a single financially distressed tenant.
- An ad hoc group of bondholders representing approximately $2 billion of debt issued by iHeart Communications, Inc.
- An ad hoc group of bondholders representing approximately $2 billion of debt issued by an international telecommunications company.
- An ad hoc group of lenders representing approximately $1.5 billion of senior debt issued by Garrett Motion.
- Blue Torch Capital as debtor in possession financing lender to Exide Technologies.
- An international lender in its $3 billion rescue financing loan to the CIT Group, Inc.
- A major Indian bank in the restructure of its loan to a US manufacturing facility through a US bankruptcy proceeding.
- US Airways, in its acquisition of American Airlines through a plan of reorganization.
- The Yucaipa Companies in the acquisition of the Fresh & Easy Grocery chain, including approximately 100 retail lease locations.
- Frontline Ltd., the largest shipping company in the world, in the acquisition of one of its biggest competitors through a plan of reorganization where Frontline exchanged its shares trading on the Oslo stock exchange for more than $1.5 billion in debt.
- Greystar Real Estate Partners in its acquisition of a 222-unit condominium complex through a chapter 11 plan of reorganization.
- Welltower Incorporated in the restructuring of hundreds of millions of dollars in loan and lease obligations with Genesis Healthcare.
- Machine Zone, a leading developer of video games, in its sale to AppLovin.
- Foster Farms, in its acquisition of a chicken rendering plant from Pilgrims’ Pride through a 363 asset sale.
- Other acquisitions through plans of reorganization and 363 asset sales, including Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, a grocery store chain with more than $2 billion of debt, Allied Holdings, Inc., the largest car and truck hauler in North America, and OCZ Technology Group, a leading flash drive manufacturer.
Mr. Klyman also has extensive litigation experience at trial and on appeal, including:
- Successfully serving as lead trial attorney in contested confirmation hearings and other contested matters, including representing lenders who held both equity and debt in chapter 11 debtors;
- Successfully representing private equity funds and boards of directors in a wide range of industries against claims for breach of fiduciary duties, breach of contract and equitable subordination brought by chapter 11 debtors, chapter 7 trustees and litigation trusts; and
- Obtaining a total defense verdict in the precedent setting trial – and successfully handling the Third Circuit Court of Appeal argument – involving subordination and recharacterization of loans and damages for breach of fiduciary duty (In re Submicron Corporation, 432 F.3d 448 (3d Cir. 2006)).
* Includes matters handled prior to joining Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP