Reporting from Bloomberg shows that during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately $52 billion of rent under retail leases went unpaid.  The reporting further indicates that in many instances, these rent obligations have been deferred through out-of-court agreements between landlords and tenants and that there may be an appetite for further relief in light of recent news concerning a COVID-19 vaccine. [Bloomberg; Nov. 19, 2020]

Reuters reports that Norwegian Air has filed an examinership proceeding (the equivalent of a US Chapter 11 reorganization) in Ireland, where Norwegian Air's primary aircraft assets are registered. The filing comes after Norway's government elected not to advance additional financial support last week, after having already guaranteed approximately $135 million worth of the company's debt earlier this year. [Reuters; Nov. 18, 2020]

Reporting from Yahoo Finance indicates that "zombie companies" in the United States have added roughly $1 trillion in debt to their balance sheets since the pandemic began. Zombie companies are those that do not earn enough to cover their interest expenses. The reporting indicates some of the "nation's most iconic companies" like Boeing, Delta Air Lines, Exxon and Macy's could be classified as zombie companies given their current financial positions. [Yahoo Finance; Nov. 17, 2020]

The Wall Street Journal reports that nearly 300 companies that collectively received up to half a billion dollars in government aid from the federal Paycheck Protection Program have filed for bankruptcy since receiving such funds. According to the Small Business Administration's inspector general, the agency has seen growing evidence of fraud and abuse among borrowers, which he attributes to the administrative ease with which borrowers were able to obtain such funds. [WSJ; Nov. 17, 2020]

Originally Published by Mayer Brown, November 2020

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