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Bidding in Mandatory Bankruptcy Auctions: Theory and Evidence

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  • Eckbo, B Espen
  • Thorburn, Karin S

Abstract

We analyse bidding incentives and present evidence on takeover premiums in Sweden’s mandatory bankruptcy auctions. The typical auction attracts multiple bidders and results in the firm being sold as a going concern. We model the incentive of the bankrupt firm’s main creditor (a bank) to influence the auction outcome. Rules prevent the bank from bidding directly. However, the bank often finances a bidder in the auction, relaxing liquidity constraints. We show that the optimal bid strategy for a bank-bidder coalition mimics the monopolist sales price. In the region where the bank’s debt is impaired, this optimal bid exceeds the private valuation of the bank’s coalition partner (overbidding). We derive new and testable cross-sectional predictions of the overbidding theory, and provide empirical support using auction premiums as dependent variable. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the auctions produce lower (fire-sale) premiums when economic conditions lead one to expect relatively low intra-industry 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. Overall, the evidence is consistent with the average auction producing a relatively efficient allocation of the bankrupt firm

Suggested Citation

  • Eckbo, B Espen & Thorburn, Karin S, 2005. "Bidding in Mandatory Bankruptcy Auctions: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4873, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4873
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Betton, Sandra & Eckbo, B Espen & Thorburn, Karin S, 2005. "The Toehold Puzzle," CEPR Discussion Papers 5084, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. 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.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    auctions; bankruptcy; efficiency; fire-sale; governance; overbidding; saleback;

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • G34 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Mergers; Acquisitions; Restructuring; Corporate Governance

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