Creditor Conflict and the Efficiency of Corporate Reorganization
University of Pennsylvania - Finance Department
David C. Smith
University of Virginia - McIntire School of Commerce
May 29, 2014
We develop a bargaining model that assumes a senior creditor can exert strong control over whether a firm reorganizes as a going-concern or liquidates during the bankruptcy process. The estimable parameters of the model allow us to gauge the efficiency of bankruptcy outcomes using a large sample of U.S. corporate bankruptcy cases over the period 1989 to 2011. The main result of the paper is an estimate of the value loss that results from inefficient liquidations in bankruptcy. We estimate these losses to be up to 0.28 percent of the going-concern value of the firm, on average, across all bankrupt firms in our sample. As predicted by theory, these losses primarily are realized by firms with asset values that are close to the face value of secured debt. Our estimate of efficiency losses is driven by several auxiliary findings, including estimates of the fraction of firms that are efficiently reorganized, the fraction of firms that are efficiently and inefficiently liquidated, and the average liquidation discount faced by firms in bankruptcy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: capital structure, incentive conflicts, bankruptcy reorganization, inefficient liquidation
JEL Classification: G32, G33
Date posted: June 4, 2014
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