Atlas Resource Partners Filing for Bankruptcy Tomorrow

atlas-resource-partners-logoJust last week MDN predicted that Atlas Resource Partners (ARP), a publicly-traded exploration and production master limited partnership (“MLP”) with operations in basins across the United States including the Marcellus and Utica Shale plays, was heading for a bankruptcy (see Atlas Resource Partners Close to Chapter 11, NYSE De-lists Units). Yesterday ARP announced it has been working behind the scenes with the people it owes money (lenders and bondholders) on a deal to convert their debt into common units (in essence, shares of stock). The deal worked out will eliminate $900 million in debt ARP owes. The deal is like many others we’ve written about over the past six months or so–where a company waves the magic wand and turns debt into ownership. The problem with these plans, in our humble opinion, is that it punishes those who currently own equity in the company. The stockholders (in this case, since it’s a master limited partnership, called unitholders), find their shares are devalued to the point of being worth toilet paper. We live in a screwed up world where owning debt is better than owning equity. But we digress. Here’s ARP’s so-called pre-packaged bankruptcy plan to screw current owners, and turn debtholders into the new owners. ARP plans to file the paperwork in court tomorrow…

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