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Automatic bankruptcy auctions and fire-sales

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  • Espen Eckbo, B.
  • Thorburn, S. Karin

Abstract

We test for fire-sale tendencies in automatic bankruptcy auctions. We find evidence consistent with fire-sale discounts when the auction leads to piecemeal liquidation, but not when the bankrupt firm is acquired as a going concern. Neither industry-wide distress nor the industry affiliation of the buyer affect prices in going-concern sales. Bids are often structured as leveraged buyouts, which relaxes liquidity constraints and reduces bidder underinvestment incentives in the presence of debt overhang. Prices in "prepack" auctions (sales agreements negotiated prior to bankruptcy filing) are on average lower than for in-auction going-concern sales, suggesting that prepacks may help preempt excessive liquidation when the auction is expected to be illiquid. Prepack targets have a greater industry-adjusted probability of refiling for bankruptcy, indicating that liquidation preemption is a risky strategy.

Suggested Citation

  • Espen Eckbo, B. & Thorburn, S. Karin, 2008. "Automatic bankruptcy auctions and fire-sales," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(3), pages 404-422, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfinec:v:89:y:2008:i:3:p:404-422
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Albuquerque, Rui & Schroth, Enrique, 2010. "Quantifying private benefits of control from a structural model of block trades," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 33-55, April.
    2. repec:spr:busres:v:10:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s40685-016-0041-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Régis Blazy & Bertrand Chopard & Agnès Fimayer & Jean-Daniel Guigou, 2007. "Financial versus Social Efficiency of Corporate Bankruptcy Law: the French Dilemma?," LSF Research Working Paper Series 07-02, Luxembourg School of Finance, University of Luxembourg.
    4. repec:spr:scient:v:102:y:2015:i:3:d:10.1007_s11192-014-1495-0 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Yi Jin & Charles K.Y. Leung & Zhixiong Zeng, 2012. "Real Estate, the External Finance Premium and Business Investment: A Quantitative Dynamic General Equilibrium Analysis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 40(1), pages 167-195, March.
    6. Vladimirov, Vladimir, 2015. "Financing bidders in takeover contests," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(3), pages 534-557.
    7. Ang, James & Mauck, Nathan, 2011. "Fire sale acquisitions: Myth vs. reality," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 532-543, March.
    8. 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.
    9. James, Sharon D., 2016. "Strategic bankruptcy: A stakeholder management perspective," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 492-499.
    10. repec:eee:jfinec:v:125:y:2017:i:3:p:475-490 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Weitzel, Utz & Kling, Gerhard, 2012. "Sold below value? Why some targets accept very low and even negative takeover premiums," MPRA Paper 42832, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. B. Espen Eckbo & Karin S. Thorburn, 2009. "Bankruptcy as an Auction Process: Lessons from Sweden," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 21(3), pages 38-52.
    13. Pawlina, Grzegorz, 2010. "Underinvestment, capital structure and strategic debt restructuring," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 679-702, December.
    14. Ulrich Hege, 2010. "Acquisition Values and Optimal Financial (In)Flexibility," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(7), pages 2865-2899, July.
    15. repec:ces:ifodic:v:7:y:2009:i:3:p:14567082 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. B. Espen Eckbo, 2010. "Banking System Bailout-Scandinavian Style," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 22(3), pages 85-93.
    17. Blazy, Régis & Chopard, Bertrand & Fimayer, Agnès & Guigou, Jean-Daniel, 2011. "Employment preservation vs. creditors' repayment under bankruptcy law: The French dilemma?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(2), pages 126-141, June.
    18. Eckbo, B. Espen, 2009. "Bidding strategies and takeover premiums: A review," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 149-178, February.
    19. Meier, Jean-Marie A. & Servaes, Henri, 2014. "Distressed Acquisitions," CEPR Discussion Papers 10093, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    20. Shai Bernstein & Emanuele Colonnelli & Ben Iverson, 2017. "Asset Allocation in Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 23305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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