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Overbidding versus Fire-Sales in Bankruptcy Auctions

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  • Eckbo, B Espen
  • Thorburn, Karin S

Abstract

We analyse bidding incentives of the main creditors (banks) in Swedish bankruptcy auctions. Lacking a direct mechanism for enforcing its seller reservation price, the bank offers financing to a potential bidder in return for a bid strategy that maximizes the expected profits of the bank-bidder coalition. The coalition overbids (in excess of the coalition's private valuation) by an amount that decreases during the bank's ‘liquidation recovery’. This is the recovery amount if the bank were to receive the piecemeal liquidation value announced by the auctioneer at the start of the auction. Since both the liquidation recovery and the final going-concern auction premium are observable, the overbidding theory is testable. We perform a large-sample, cross-sectional analysis where overbidding is pitched against asset fire-sale arguments. The latter hold that auctions tend to produce lower going-concern premiums when taking place during industry-wide financial distress, or when the firm is sold back to old owners or to industry outsiders. The evidence is strongly consistent with overbidding but provides little support for asset fire-sale arguments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3240.

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Date of creation: Mar 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3240

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Keywords: auctions; bankruptcy; fire-sales; overbidding;

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References

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  1. Julian R. Franks & Kjell G. Nyborg & Walter N. Torous, 1996. "A Comparison of UK, US and German Insolvency Codes," Financial Management, Financial Management Association, vol. 25(3), Fall.
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  8. Thorburn, Karin S., 2000. "Bankruptcy auctions: costs, debt recovery, and firm survival," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 337-368, December.
  9. Franks, Julian R. & Torous, Walter N., 1994. "A comparison of financial recontracting in distressed exchanges and chapter 11 reorganizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 349-370, June.
  10. Singh, Rajdeep, 1998. "Takeover Bidding with Toeholds: The Case of the Owner's Curse," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 679-704.
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  14. repec:wop:humbsf:2000-72 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Betton, Sandra & Eckbo, B Espen, 2000. "Toeholds, Bid Jumps, and Expected Payoffs in Takeovers," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 13(4), pages 841-82.
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Cited by:
  1. Ethan Cohen-Cole, 2007. "Asset liquidity, debt valuation and credit risk," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU07-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  2. Eckbo, B Espen & Thorburn, Karin S, 2002. "Control Benefits and CEO Discipline in Automatic Bankruptcy Auctions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3481, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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