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Bidding in mandatory bankruptcy auctions: Theory and evidence

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  • Eckbo, B. Espen

    ()
    (Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College)

  • Thorburn, Karin S.

    ()
    (Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College)

Abstract

We analyze bidding incentives and present evidence on takeover premiums in mandatory Swedish bankruptcy auctions, where three-quarters of the firms are sold as going concerns. The bankrupt firms’ main creditors (banks) cannot bid in the auction and thus cannot directly influence the winning price. However, we find that the banks often finance bidders. We show that the optimal bid strategy for a bank-bidder coalition mimics a monopolist sales price, in effect getting around the institutional constraint on direct bank bidding. The final auction premium increases with a measure of the bank’s debt impairness observed at the beginning of the auction. Cross-sectional regressions with the auction premium as dependent variable support this prediction. There is no empirical support for the proposition that the auctions lead to fire-sale prices, where we use the number of bidders, the degree of industry-wide financial distress, and the business cycle as proxies for auction demand. Moreover, premiums in transactions where insiders repurchase the firm (salebacks) are on average indistinguishable from premiums in sales to company outsiders, which fails to support self-dealing arguments.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Business and Management Science, Norwegian School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 2004/16.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: 17 Dec 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:nhhfms:2004_016

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Postal: NHH, Department of Business and Management Science, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway
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Fax: +47 55 95 96 50
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Web page: http://www.nhh.no/en/research-faculty/department-of-business-and-management-science.aspx
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Keywords: Bankruptcy auctions; Optimal bid strategy;

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References

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  1. Berkovitch, Elazar & Israel, Ronen & Zender, Jaime F., 1997. "Optimal bankruptcy law and firm-specific investments," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 487-497, April.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Oliver Hart & John Moore, 1992. "The Economics of Bankruptcy Reform," NBER Working Papers 4097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Robert Gertner & David Scharfstein, 1991. "A Theory of Workouts and the Effects of Reorganization Law," NBER Technical Working Papers 0103, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Rajdeep Singh, 1995. "Takeover Bidding with Toeholds: The Case of the Owner's Curse," Finance 9503001, EconWPA.
  5. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
  6. Weiss, Lawrence A., 1990. "Bankruptcy resolution: Direct costs and violation of priority of claims," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 285-314, October.
  7. Julian R Franks & Kjell G Nyborg, 1994. "Control Rights, Debt Structure, and the Loss of Private Benefits: The Case of the UK Insolvency Code," CEPR Financial Markets Paper 0047, European Science Foundation Network in Financial Markets, c/o C.E.P.R, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
  8. Vojislav Maksimovic & Gordon Phillips, 1998. "Asset Efficiency and Reallocation Decisions of Bankrupt Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(5), pages 1495-1532, October.
  9. Burkart, Mike, 1995. " Initial Shareholdings and Overbidding in Takeover Contests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 50(5), pages 1491-1515, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Jeremy Bulow & Ming Huang & Paul Klemperer, 1996. "Toeholds and Takeovers," Finance 9608001, EconWPA.
  12. 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.
  13. Oliver Hart, 2000. "Different Approaches to Bankruptcy," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1903, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Paul Klemperer, 1999. "Auction Theory: A Guide to the Literature," Microeconomics 9903002, EconWPA.
  15. Per Strömberg, 2000. "Conflicts of Interest and Market Illiquidity in Bankruptcy Auctions: Theory and Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2641-2692, December.
  16. Michael J. Fishman, 1988. "A Theory of Preemptive Takeover Bidding," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 19(1), pages 88-101, Spring.
  17. 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.
  18. Dahiya, Sandeep & John, Kose & Puri, Manju & Ramirez, Gabriel, 2003. "Debtor-in-possession financing and bankruptcy resolution: Empirical evidence," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 259-280, July.
  19. Brown, David T, 1989. "Claimholder Incentive Conflicts in Reorganization: The Role of Bankruptcy Law," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 2(1), pages 109-23.
  20. Thorburn, Karin S., 2000. "Bankruptcy auctions: costs, debt recovery, and firm survival," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(3), pages 337-368, December.
  21. repec:wop:humbsf:2000-72 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1992. " Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 47(4), pages 1343-66, September.
  23. Eckbo, B Espen & Maksimovic, Vojislav & Williams, Joseph, 1990. "Consistent Estimation of Cross-Sectional Models in Event Studies," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 3(3), pages 343-65.
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Cited by:
  1. Coval, Joshua & Stafford, Erik, 2007. "Asset fire sales (and purchases) in equity markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(2), pages 479-512, November.
  2. Betton, Sandra & Eckbo, B Espen & Thorburn, Karin S, 2005. "The Toehold Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 5084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

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