* Dispute was key hurdle in effecting creditor payback
* Settlement expected to enhance JPMorgan's recovery
* Deal would subordinate $275 mln in claims below JPMorgan's claim
By Nick Brown
NEW YORK, March 5 MF Global and its creditors have resolved a dispute with JPMorgan Chase & Co over the value of intercompany claims within the bankrupt brokerage's estate, eliminating what could have been a sticking point in effecting MF Global's creditor repayment plan.
The effect of the settlement, a result of court-ordered mediation, is essentially to enhance JPMorgan's recovery, according to a statement on Tuesday from Louis Freeh, the trustee liquidating the broker's estate.
Under the deal, MF's parent entity will subordinate $275 million of its $1.887 billion claim against MF Global's finance unit below JPMorgan's $1.2 billion claim against the estate.
It remained unclear exactly how much that will serve to increase the bank's projected recoveries. Court filings containing more detail were expected to be entered "shortly" in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan, the statement said.
Under the current edition of the plan, proposed by a group of MF Global's hedge fund creditors with Freeh's cooperation, unsecured creditors of MF's parent would recover between 13.4 cents and 39 cents on the dollar. Creditors of its finance unit would receive between 14.7 cents and 34 cents on the dollar. It is unclear how the settlement will impact those figures.
"The settlement will result in a slightly modified distribution range for unsecured creditors," the statement said.
Former trader customers of the Jon Corzine-led brokerage are projected to recover all of their money.
JPMorgan, which has claims against both the MF parent and its finance unit, is currently projected to recoup up to 73 cents on the dollar, but that figure could increase as a result of Tuesday's settlement.
"The settlement is in the best interest of creditors as it removes a major hurdle to confirmation of the plan," Freeh, the former FBI chief, said in the statement.
JPMorgan's claim is associated with the revolving credit facility on which it served as agent.
Creditors have until March 25 to vote on the plan, after which it must go before a U.S. bankruptcy judge for a final approval hearing, currently scheduled for April 5.
The case is In re MF Global Holdings Ltd, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 11-15059.