Learn: What Happens to the Stock of a Company That Goes Bankrupt?

Aug 19, 2022 By Susan Kelly


Declaring bankruptcy does not always result in a company's demise. Even though bankruptcy is a significant issue, several businesses have recovered and thrived after the procedure. Even in the worst-case scenarios, it can maintain its shares, saving stockholders from inevitable financial devastation. Bankrupt companies nevertheless have a capital structure. As a result, their financial structure includes both debt and equity. In the event of bankruptcy, a company's stockholders are not entitled to any of the company's assets. They appear to care less about what they desire in every way.

Effects of Bankruptcy

Dividends are Stopped Completely

The bankruptcy process harms the interests of shareholders. This is so because a company that files for bankruptcy usually has more debt than assets. They also don't have enough cash on hand. Because of this, it makes sense for a corporation to pay down its debt with the first income it receives. Corporations are expressly excluded from having to pay their shareholders under the laws that govern them. Dividends should only be paid to shareholders when the company is profitable and has excess cash. Thus, in the case of bankruptcy, dividend payments would cease. The dividend suspension is anticipated to persist until the company completes its reorganisation. Stockholders who depend on dividends will suffer a great deal due to this.

Equity Gets Wiped Out

Keep in mind that a company only files for bankruptcy if it has no or very little equity left. Investments made by the shareholders often lose all of their value. Many investors deliberately look for companies at risk of going out of business. This is carried out since buying these stocks costs very little money. So, if the company succeeds, there may be a significant reward. To invest this way, you must have a great deal of knowledge and endurance. In 90% of unsuccessful businesses, shareholders stand to lose all or most of their investment. Where the talent comes into play is in finding the missing 10%.

Equity May Be Diluted

The value of the equity might not be lost entirely, but it might still be significantly diminished. This is because a reorganisation typically leads to the dissolution of the firm and the conversion of a sizable percentage of its debt into equity. Voting privileges for these newly issued shares are not assured. However, the value of the current stock will decline. Promoters frequently lose control of the business after reorganisation.

Issuance of New Shares

When a business declares bankruptcy, its assets are typically destroyed. As a result, they are now useless. A new class of equity shares will be issued in their place. These shares are frequently given to creditors who have consented to receive stock in settlement of a debt, either in whole or in part. Existing owners usually receive shares of the new equity as well. Shares may be sold at a lower price or with fewer shares available for purchase. This will have a significant negative impact on investors. In this situation, it would be better if the loan holder received the value of the shares they already own. This may be fair because investors, who were in charge of the business when it lost money, should take some blame for the economic downturn.

Loss of Management Rights

Last but not least, stockholders do not influence business activities. The management, appointed by the shareholders, is in charge until the company files for bankruptcy. However, upon filing a bankruptcy petition, the trust takes over asset management. The goal of this trust is to protect the creditors' financial interests. None of them cares about the interests of shareholders.

Additionally, the committee does not have total authority over the business. For significant decisions to be legally binding, bankruptcy court approval is required. Because of this, a restructuring plan cannot be adopted that would benefit some owners without the consent of all shareholders.

As a result, shareholders might view filing for bankruptcy protection as equivalent to business death. Except in scarce circumstances, that is not the case. Conversely, equity shareholders often lose their entire investment 90% of the time. This is why stock prices fall when a firm files for bankruptcy. Unless shareholders are told that the bankruptcy filing is simply strategic, in which case the value of their investments will be safeguarded, this is true.


The value of the company's shares could increase once more if it emerges from bankruptcy. It's also likely that current shareholders won't get anything in the way of compensation if the company issues new shares in place of old ones as part of a debt restructuring.

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