Investment Policy and Exit‐Exchange Offers Within Financially Distressed Firms

  • Author(s): ANTONIO E. BERNARDO, ERIC L. TALLEY
  • Published: Apr 30, 2012
  • Pages: 871-888
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-6261.1996.tb02710.x

ABSTRACT

This article examines the conflict of interest between shareholders and bondholders in a setting in which firms can renegotiate the terms of existing debt with public debtholders. In particular, we consider one of the most common types of debt restructuring: the exit‐exchange offer. Our analysis explores the relation between exit‐exchange offers and investment choice by the manager, and it concludes that managers, acting strategically on behalf of shareholders, may select inefficient investment projects in order to enhance their bargaining position vis‐a‐vis creditors. Holding the upside potential of an investment project fixed, managers/shareholders prefer projects with lower payoffs in states of bankruptcy because it induces individual bondholders to accept poorer terms in a debt‐for‐debt exit‐exchange offer, thus generating a greater residual for shareholders in states of solvency. Additionally, we show how the investment inefficiencies in our analysis depend on (i) the inability of bondholders to coordinate their actions; (ii) the ability of managers to commit to suboptimal investment projects; and (iii) the coupling of an individual bondholder's decision to tender and her decision to consent to allow the firm to strip fiduciary covenants. We suggest conditions under which a ban on coupled exit‐exchange offers—or alternatively, constraints on “debt‐for‐debt” exchanges—would be efficiency‐enhancing.

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