A&G takes 'Top Retail Restructuring Firm' title for 2nd straight year

Al Urbanski
Real Estate Editor & Manager
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Guitar Center sign
A&G was cited for saving Guitar Center $50 million and keeping the brand alive by pairing it with a buyer.

Reports have it that just over 20% of Americans got the COVID-19 virus in the past year, but close to 100% of retail chains and mall and center owners were victimized by its effects.

That’s the testimony of Andy Graiser, co-president of A&G Real Estate Partners. His company serviced scores of affected clients and this week was named “Real Estate Restructuring Firm of the Year.

“On March 12, retailers were doing great; on March 13, they were all shutting down,” said Graiser in an interview with Chain Store Age. “These companies weren’t used to this. Landlords were getting rent deferral requests from every one of them.”

A&G received the honor from Global M&A Network at its Turnaround Atlas Awards for the second straight year. The company was cited for its efforts in aiding Guitar Center, GNC, and Tuesday Morning with Chapter 11 financial restructuring, recapitalization programs, equity investment and--in Guitar Center’s case--acquisition.

“We only worked on the Guitar Center situation for two-and-a-half weeks and saved them $50 million,” Graiser said. “It was a really, really fast bankruptcy and they were just not expecting to go to the landlords for a solution. They didn’t think they had enough time.”

A&G handled negotiations for 61 clients involving 13,500 leases during 2020, reducing rents on 10,450 and securing terminations on 950. Graiser praised what he said was a very full staff of 35 people for sacrificing nights, days, weekends, and holidays getting it done. 

“Our work at the negotiating table provided liquidity that was critical to the ongoing strategies of multiple household names in retail,” said A&G’s other co-president Emilio Amendola. “These reviews allowed our clients to optimize their entire real estate portfolio in a period marked by mandated shut-downs, re-openings, closures, and declining store traffic and sales.”

The Turnaround Atlas Awards honor best value-creating transactions, outstanding firms, professionals, and leaders from the global restructuring, insolvency, and distressed investing communities.