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Stephen Halperin quoted in "A former saviour's rescue skills are sought again," Globe and Mail

September-12-2007

Lawyer Stephen Halperin
Area Corporate Finance and Securities

Details


Excerpt from "A former saviour's rescue skills are sought again", by Jacquie McNish:

If Mr. Crawford is worried about his new high-wire act, he is not showing it. On a recent morning in his office overlooking Bay Street, Mr. Purdy breaks into his trademark apple-cheek grin when asked about concerns that the rescue mission may fail. He deflects worries about his age by saying that most of the legal heavy lifting will be done by his advisers at Goodmans LLP, headed by seasoned mergers and acquisitions adviser Stephen Halperin and including former Dome workout strategist Jim Riley.

"I have no doubt the problem will be solved," he said. "We will work urgently at this and as time goes on confidence will grow."

Time, however, is not on Mr. Crawford's side. Unlike Dome, which took years to fix, owners and lenders entangled in the commercial paper crunch have only agreed to a 60-day standstill, expiring Oct. 15, which restricts them from redeeming commercial paper.

Despite the tight deadline, Mr. Crawford said the committee is moving quickly to allay what he says is a market overreaction to the commercial paper's exposure to risky U.S. subprime mortgage loans. First, he said, the committee's administrator, Ernst & Young Inc., is preparing a confidential data room to give asset-backed commercial paper owners information about the various assets, such as auto leases, credit card receivables and mortgage payments, underpinning the securities.

The next step, he said, is to come up with a variety of solutions to address issues posed by the different classes of investors owning the paper. Some investors, Mr. Crawford said, "urgently need cash" and he hopes steps will be taken to repay them or create a market for their commercial paper. Other investors, he said, are willing to convert their paper into longer-term debts, but experts said this will involve sensitive negotiations to amend the terms of trust indentures that dictate how the various issues of commercial paper are governed.

"We are dealing with unprecedented issues," Mr. Halperin said. "Our hope is that this will end up being an exercise in deal making."