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Anatomy of Financial Distress: An Examination of Junk-Bond Issuers

Paul Asquith, Robert Gertner and David Scharfstein
The Quarterly Journal of Economics
Vol. 109, No. 3 (Aug., 1994), pp. 625-658
Published by: Oxford University Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2118416
Page Count: 34
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Anatomy of Financial Distress: An Examination of Junk-Bond Issuers
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Abstract

This paper analyzes the ways in which financially distressed firms try to avoid bankruptcy through public and private debt restructurings, asset sales, mergers, and capital expenditure reductions. Our main finding is that a firm's debt structure affects the way financially distressed firms restructure. The combination of secured private debt and numerous public debt issues seems to impede out-of-court restructurings and increases the probability of a Chapter 11 filing. In addition, we find that, while asset sales are a way of avoiding Chapter 11, they are limited by industry factors: firms in distressed and highly leveraged industries are less prone to sell assets.

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