How Costly is Financial (not Economic) Distress? Evidence from Highly Leveraged Transactions that Became Distressed
This paper studies thirty-one highly leveraged transactions (HLTs) of the 1980s that subsequently became financially distressed. At the time of distress, all sample firms have operating margins that are positive and in the majority of cases greater than the median for the industry. Therefore, we consider these firms financially distressed, not economically distressed. The net effect of the HLT and financial distress is a slight increase in value -- from pre-transaction to distress resolution, the sample firms experience a marginally positive change in (market- or industry-adjusted) value. This finding strongly suggests that, overall, the HLTs of the late 1980s succeeded in creating value. We also present quantitative and qualitative estimates of the (direct and indirect)costs of financial distress and their determinants. Our preferred estimates of the costs of financial distress are 10% of firm value. Our most conservative estimates do not exceed 23% of firm value. Operating margins of the distressed firms increase immediately after the HLT, decline when the firms become distressed and while they are distressed, but then rebound after the distress is resolved. Consistent with some costs of financial distress, we find evidence of unexpected cuts in capital expenditures, undesired asset sales, and costly managerial delay in restructuring. To the extent they occur, the costs of financial distress that we identify are heavily concentrated in the period after the firms become distressed, but before they enter Chapter 11.
|Date of creation:||Aug 1997|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Journal of Finance (1998).|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Paul Asquith & Robert Gertner & David Scharfstein, 1994. "Anatomy of Financial Distress: An Examination of Junk-Bond Issuers," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(3), pages 625-658.
- Allan C. Eberhart & Edward I. Altman & Reena Aggarwal, 1997. "The Equity Performance of Firms Emerging from Bankruptcy," New York University, Leonard N. Stern School Finance Department Working Paper Seires 96-22, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business-.
- Easterbrook, Frank H., 1990. "Is corporate bankruptcy efficient?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 411-417, October.
- Michael C. Jensen, 1991. "Corporate Control And The Politics Of Finance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 4(2), pages 13-34.
- Hall, Bronwyn H., 1989.
"TheImpact of Corporate Restructuring On Industrial Research and Development,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt7dw7p5dq, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- Bronwyn H. Hall, 1989. "The Impact of Corporate Restructuring on Industrial Research and Development," NBER Working Papers 3216, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bronwyn H. Hall., 1989. "The Impact of Corporate Restructuring on Industrial Research and Development," Economics Working Papers 89-129, University of California at Berkeley.
- Gilson, Stuart C, 1997. " Transactions Costs and Capital Structure Choice: Evidence from Financially Distressed Firms," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(1), pages 161-96, March.
- Denis, David J. & Denis, Diane K., 1995. "Causes of financial distress following leveraged recapitalizations," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 129-157, February.
- Steven N. Kaplan & Jeremy C. Stein, 1991. "The Evolution of Buyout Pricing and Financial Structure," NBER Working Papers 3695, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gilson, Stuart C. & John, Kose & Lang, Larry H. P., 1990. "Troubled debt restructurings*1: An empirical study of private reorganization of firms in default," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 315-353, October.
- Alderson, Michael J. & Betker, Brian L., 1995. "Liquidation costs and capital structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 45-69, September.
- Gordon M Phillips & Vojislav Maksimovic, 1996. "Efficiency of Bankrupt Firms and Industry Conditions: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 96-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Kaplan, Steven N. & Stein, Jeremy C., 1990. "How risky is the debt in highly leveraged transactions?," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 215-245, September.
- Giammarino, Ronald M, 1989. "The Resolution of Financial Distress," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 2(1), pages 25-47.
- Ofek, Eli, 1993. "Capital structure and firm response to poor performance: An empirical analysis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 3-30, August.
- 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.
- Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1992. "Liquidation Values and Debt Capacity: A Market Equilibrium Approach," Scholarly Articles 27692663, Harvard University Department of Economics.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6145. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.