The Role of Warrants in Corporate Reorganizations
That a firm’s initial equity holders often emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings with more value than the absolute priority rule would suggest is now a generally accepted fact. The form in which this value is distributed, however, is less well understood. In particular, why do the original shareholders of some firms emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy with stock in the reorganized firm, while others receive warrants? This essay proposes that informational asymmetries provide the answer to this question. By proposing a reorganization plan in which they receive warrants, the original stockholders of a firm with good future prospects can signal their superior information to the creditors in a way that firms with poor prospects will not wish to mimic.