Bankruptcy/Chapter 11 / Post-Bankruptcy Stocks

Buying Bankruptcy Stock

Unless you are a very daring short-term trader, The Turnaround Letter rarely recommends that you buy the stock of a company operating under protection of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Under bankruptcy law, any blood that can be squeezed out of a distressed corporation’s stone is first allocated to senior creditors, like bank lenders and bondholders.

Stockholders are the lowest priority when it comes to payback; and—even if a company can successfully emerge from Chapter 11 protection—there is rarely enough value in that reorganized entity to give the old stock any value. To the contrary, often the old stock is cancelled altogether, rendering it completely worthless.

Other money-losing scenarios include the old stock remaining intact—but hugely diluted by newly-issued stock; or the issuance (to old stockholders) of out-of-the money warrants in the reorganized entity. It is important to recognize the difference between the old stock in a company in Chapter 11 and the new stock issued by the company upon its emergence from bankruptcy (post-reorganization stock). The new, post-reorganization stock often has significant value, particularly if the company has used bankruptcy as an effective turnaround tool. These post-bankruptcy stocks are often over-looked and under-valued and present significant investment opportunities. 

bankruptcy stock


Remember, not every post-bankruptcy stock does well. Over the years we’ve learned about Chapter 22 and Chapter 33, colloquial designations for habitual bankruptcy filers. Sometimes, a company doesn’t reduce its debt enough while in Chapter 11, or perhaps its business just wasn’t viable for some other reason. 

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Boston Beer Company is the nation's largest craft beer company, with 2017 revenues of over $900 million. Since its days as a start-up in 1984, it has led the nation's growing taste for craft beers; and shareholders have enjoyed tasty returns along the way. So why is The Turnaround Letter--which focuses on out-of-favor companies undergoing major positive changes--even thinking about this ostensible "growth" company? 

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Harnessing Activists to Help Find Turnaround Stocks

Activist investors often produce attractive returns for their clients; and you can still use their influence to help your position as a turnaround investor in two ways: Buy a position in a stock with the expectation that an activist will soon follow or buy after an activist takes a stake.


Value Investing


While one of the many dozens of activist funds might find their way to selecting your particular stock, this approach is likely to be frustrating and unrewarding. A better approach is to buy after the activist makes their move. Once an activist takes a stake in a company, how do you evaluate whether it is worthwhile to follow on? Admittedly, this is a bit of an art... Learn how you can harness the power of activist investors to find market-beating turnaround stocks.

Turnaround Letter Stock Pick Named Top Performer of 2017


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What Last Year's Top Stock Pickers Are Buying in 2018


This Forbes write-up follows up on the recent Top Stock Tips report--naming The Turnaround Letter's Crocs recommendation the top performer of 2017: With 90% gains, CROX beat out 100 other investment ideas included in the report; and the stock continues to have value investing appeal, according to Putnam.


George notes, "We see additional upside for the stock in 2018 as management's efforts continue to bear fruit, though the gains will likely be more muted than we saw in 2017."