Examiner Named to Double-Check Northwest's Net Worth

April 6, 2007
Compass Advisers is to determine whether Northwest Airlines properly evaluated the worth of its assets. He is not charged with producing his own valuation of the business.

NEW YORK (AP) - An investment banker was appointed on Thursday to examine the details of the Northwest Airlines bankruptcy case, in response to a request from an ad hoc committee of shareholders who claim the airline is worth more than it says it is.

The U.S. Trustee's office recommended investment banker Harvey Tepner, a partner in charge of restructuring at New York-based Compass Advisers LLP. Tepner's task is to determine whether Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp. properly evaluated the worth of its assets. He is not charged with producing his own valuation of the business.

Judge Allan Gropper approved the nomination. He has said in court that the examiner process should not slow down Northwest's bankruptcy exit. Tepner has until May 14 -- two days before the company will seek court approval of its reorganization plan -- to submit a written report. Creditors have until May 7 to vote on the plan.

Lawyers for the ad hoc equity committee have been opposing Northwest in a variety of matters as the airline moves toward its bankruptcy exit. The committee has sought details of any merger talks, evidence that it believes would support its interests in getting some value out of the reorganized company. Shareholders normally receive nothing in such cases, and Northwest's plan calls for the cancellation of current shares.

Before Compass, Tepner has also worked at Price Waterhouse in Toronto and three investment banks, Rothschild Inc., Dillon Read & Co. and Loeb Partners Corporation. He filed papers with the court to say that he and Compass are 'disinterested persons' in the case. If approved, he will be paid $650 an hour plus expenses.

The U.S. Trustee consulted with lawyers for Northwest, creditors and the equity holders before nominating Tepner.

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