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The Changing Nature of Chapter 11

  • Bharath, Sreedhar T.

    (U of Michigan)

  • Panchapegesan, Venky


  • Werner, Ingrid

    (Ohio State U)

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    The U.S. Chapter 11 bankruptcy system has long been viewed as debtor friendly, with frequency of absolute priority deviations (APD) in favor of equity holders commonplace, as high as 75%, before 1990. In the 1991-2005 period, we find a secular decline in the frequency of APD to 22%, with the frequency as low as 9% for the period 2000-2005. We identify the increasing importance of debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing and key employee retention plans (KERP) in bankruptcy as the key drivers of this secular decline. We also find management turnover in Chapter 11 has increased by 65% since 1990 and that APD are more likely when management has substantial share holdings in the firm. The time spent in bankruptcy has also declined from about 23 months before 1990 to 16 months after 2000. Collectively, these results are consistent with the thesis that Chapter 11 has increasingly become creditor friendly over the years. We discuss the implications of our results for models that assume that equity has a valuable dilatory option in the bankruptcy process.

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    Paper provided by Ohio State University, Charles A. Dice Center for Research in Financial Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008-4.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ecl:ohidic:2008-4
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    1. 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.
    2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 2001. "Ex Ante Costs of Violating Absolute Priority in Bankruptcy," NBER Working Papers 8388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
    4. 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.
    5. Franks, Julian R & Torous, Walter N, 1989. " An Empirical Investigation of U.S. Firms in Reorganization," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 44(3), pages 747-69, July.
    6. Betker, Brian L, 1995. "Management's Incentives, Equity's Bargaining Power, and Deviations from Absolute Priority in Chapter 11 Bankruptcies," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 68(2), pages 161-83, April.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. Eberhart, Allan C & Moore, William T & Roenfeldt, Rodney L, 1990. " Security Pricing and Deviations from the Absolute Priority Rule in Bankruptcy Proceedings," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 45(5), pages 1457-69, December.
    10. Gilson, Stuart C., 1989. "Management turnover and financial distress," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 241-262, December.
    11. Gilson, Stuart C., 1990. "Bankruptcy, boards, banks, and blockholders : Evidence on changes in corporate ownership and control when firms default," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 355-387, October.
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