Bankruptcy, Warrants, and State-Contingent Changes in the Ownership of Control
Journal of Financial Intermediation, Vol. 6 No. 4
Posted: 27 Jan 1998
We consider the design of securities that govern the distribution of cash flows and control rights for an investment project. An entrepreneur, endowed with managerial talent, contracts with an outside investor for required capital. Optimal contracts stipulate that the ownership of control and the distribution of cash flows are specified on a state contingent basis to manage the distortions that develop from the use of outside financing and so make the best use of the advantage in project management enjoyed by insiders. Our results illustrate that the use of warrants and convertible securities, which transfer control of the firm to outsiders in good states, and bankruptcy, which transfers control to outsiders in bad states, are related features of optimal contracts. Our model also indicates that firms will benefit from direct access to two types of bankruptcy processes resembling Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 (including deviations from absolute priority) of the bankruptcy code. This result differs from observed practices since stockholders cannot waive their rights for protection under Chapter 11. We show that when direct access to Chapter 7 is highly valuable, market participants have found clever ways to obtain it.
JEL Classification: G32, G33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation