Thomas H. Noe and Michael J. Rebello

Rent Division, Restructuring, and Managerial Risk Taking: A Strategic Bargaining Model

This paper demonstrates that, when the manager of a poorly performing firm generates firm-specific rents, strategic considerations associated with anticipated future restructuring may lead to the adoption of risky operating policies. Furthermore, this bias toward risky policies may be exacerbated by increases in managerial entrenchment. This is the case even when the manager does not have an ownership stake in the firm. On the other hand, a manager of a firm that is performing well will prefer safer policies. These results are driven by endogenously determined management-borne costs of financial distress, and obtain under both restructuring regimes that enforce the priority of creditor claims as well as restructuring regimes that induce deviations from absolute priority.