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Corporate Walkout Decisions and the Value of Default


  • Tom Dahlstrom

    (University of Helsinki)

  • Pierre Mella-Barral

    (London Business School)


We present a continuous-time asset pricing model of the levered firm where shareholders select not only the timing but also the form of abandonment. Shareholders can walk out of the firm either by (i) defaulting on their debt obligations or (ii) selling their shares to alternative operators of, the technologies, as in a corporation sale. The structural model relates shareholders' ex-post choice to both technological and financial factors. Considering that operators' technological supremacy is not universal, we obtain that whereas default necessarily involves an inefficient timing of ownership transfer, corporation sales do not. Then, the likelihood of default being chosen instead of a corporation sale increases with (i) the degree of leverage displayed by the firm and (ii) its technological supremacy. By ignoring corporation sales, existing defaultable bond pricing models have thus a tendency to exaggerate risk premia and underestimate the borrowing ability (debt capacity) of firms.
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Suggested Citation

  • Tom Dahlstrom & Pierre Mella-Barral, 2002. "Corporate Walkout Decisions and the Value of Default," Computing in Economics and Finance 2002 357, Society for Computational Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:sce:scecf2:357

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Default; Pricing of Debt;

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • 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

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