Capital Structure with Endogenous Liquidation Values

Antonio E. Bernardo, Alex Fabisiak, Ivo Welch
2014 Social Science Research Network  
Asset liquidation values are an important determinant of distress costs and therefore optimal capital structure. Capital structure theories typically assume liquidation values are exogenous even though they may be determined in part by the debt choices of firms in the industry (Shleifer and Vishny, 1992; Pulvino, 1998) . We develop a model in which high industry debt leads to a greater supply of assets for sale by distressed firms but also lower demand for assets from relatively healthy firms
more » ... ely healthy firms because of debt overhang. Thus, high industry debt lowers expected asset liquidation values and provides an incentive for individual firms to take on less debt to take advantage of attractive future buying opportunities. The indirect effect of equilibrium asset prices tempers, and sometimes reverses, the effect of parameters on optimal capital structure choices compared to models with exogenous prices. For example, we show that firms may choose lower debt ratios when assets are more redeployable, contrary to standard intuition (Williamson, 1988) . * Very preliminary and incomplete. We thank seminar participants at the University of Toronto, Sergei Davydenko, and Barney Hartman-Glaser for very helpful comments.
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2511379 fatcat:knqzyzfsebcdxfz63wlk56zmni