By Peter S. Saba (Jones Day).
In In re Houston Regional Sports Network, L.P., 886 F.3d 523 (5th Cir. 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that bankruptcy courts have flexibility in selecting the date on which to value collateral, “so long as the bankruptcy court takes into account the purpose of the valuation and the proposed use or disposition of the collateral at issue.” In so holding, the Fifth Circuit rejected the proposition that a bankruptcy court must value collateral as of either the bankruptcy petition date or the effective date of a cramdown chapter 11 plan. However, because the bankruptcy court failed to consider the proposed use of the collateral in assigning it a value, the Fifth Circuit remanded the case below for additional findings.
In declining to establish a bright-line rule mandating the valuation date for a creditor’s collateral in cramdown chapter 11 cases, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, informed by section 506(a), gives bankruptcy courts the flexibility to consider an appropriate valuation date based on the actual use or disposition of a creditor’s collateral and the purpose of the valuation. The principal benefit of this approach is that it recognizes that any valuation in this context should consider developments in a chapter 11 case which may have an impact on value. Even so, secured creditors should be aware that consideration of the proposed or actual use of collateral under a plan may in some cases mean that collateral may be assigned a lower value as of plan confirmation or effectiveness than as of the bankruptcy petition date.
The article is available here.