Loans to Chapter 11 Firms: Contract Design, Repayment Risk, and Pricing
Journal of Law and Economics, forthcoming
51 Pages Posted: 16 May 2019 Last revised: 28 Oct 2023
Date Written: December 28, 2022
With a hand-collected set of 545 debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan facilities, 2002-2019, we show that these short-term loans are highly over-collateralized and contain a comprehensive set of restrictive covenants, mandatory prepayments, and restructuring milestones - all of which help produce a near-zero repayment risk. Nevertheless, the all-in spread drawn averages 658 basis points - almost five times the average spread on matched investment-grade loans, and nearly double the average spread on matched leveraged loans issued by highly risky firms outside of bankruptcy. Textual analysis of court documents shows lack of outside lender participation in the loan solicitation process but spreads are somewhat lower when outside interest is high. We discuss alternative interpretations of the high DIP-loan spreads, ranging from monitoring-cost compensation to rent extraction as DIP-loan providers with strong bargaining power share in the preservation of going-concern value helped by the `last resort' loan.
Keywords: debtor-in-possession financing, Chapter 11; loan spreads, loan fees, default risk, leveraged loans, relationship lending, rent extraction
JEL Classification: G14, G34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation