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Design and Renegotiation of Debt Covenants

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  • Nicolae Garleanu
  • Jeffrey Zwiebel
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    Abstract

    We analyze the design and renegotiation of covenants in debt contracts as a specific example of the contractual assignment of property rights under asymmetric information. Specifically, we consider a setting where managers are better informed than lenders regarding potential transfers from debt to equity associated with future investments. This simple adverse-selection problem leads to the allocation of greater ex ante decision rights to the creditor (the uninformed party), i.e., tighter covenants, than would follow under symmetric information. This corresponds well to empirical evidence indicating that covenants are very tight upon inception and are frequently waived (and never tightened) upon renegotiation. The Author 2008. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Society for Financial Studies. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oxfordjournals.org., Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Society for Financial Studies in its journal The Review of Financial Studies.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (February)
    Pages: 749-781

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:rfinst:v:22:y:2009:i:2:p:749-781

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    Cited by:
    1. Christophe Godlewski, 2014. "What drives the dynamics of bank debt renegotiation in Europe? A survival analysis approach," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2014-01, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    2. : Andrea Gamba & : Alexander J. Triantis, 2013. "How Effectively Can Debt Covenants Alleviate Financial Agency Problems?," Working Papers wpn13-08, Warwick Business School, Finance Group.
    3. Bulan, Laarni & Hull, Tyler, 2013. "The impact of technical defaults on dividend policy," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 814-823.
    4. Iossa, Elisabetta & Spagnolo, Giancarlo, 2011. "Contracts as Threats: on a Rationale For Rewarding A while Hoping For B," CEPR Discussion Papers 8195, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Roberts, Michael R. & Sufi, Amir, 2009. "Renegotiation of financial contracts: Evidence from private credit agreements," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 159-184, August.
    6. Robert Rich & Joseph Tracy, 2011. "Early contract renegotiation: An analysis of U.S. labor contracts from 1970 to 1995," Staff Reports 521, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    7. Flavio Bazzana & Marco Palmieri, 2012. "How to increase the efficiency of bond covenants: a proposal for the Italian corporate market," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 327-346, October.
    8. Armstrong, Christopher S. & Guay, Wayne R. & Weber, Joseph P., 2010. "The role of information and financial reporting in corporate governance and debt contracting," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2-3), pages 179-234, December.
    9. Christophe Godlewski, 2013. "Does renegotiation of financial contracts matter for shareholders? Empirical evidence from Europe," Working Papers of LaRGE Research Center 2013-03, Laboratoire de Recherche en Gestion et Economie (LaRGE), Université de Strasbourg.
    10. Andreas Engert & Lars Hornuf, 2013. "Market Standards in Public Sector Debt Contracting," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(3), pages 16-20, October.
    11. Hornuf, Lars & Engert, Andreas, 2013. "Can Network Effects Impede Optimal Contracting in Debt Securities?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79867, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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