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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Puzzle Of Pdvsa Bond Prices, Paolo Colla, Anna Gelpern, Mitu Gulati Jan 2017

The Puzzle Of Pdvsa Bond Prices, Paolo Colla, Anna Gelpern, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

Market reports in the summer of 2016 suggest that Venezuela is on the brink of default on upwards of $65 billion in debt. That debt comprises of bonds issued directly by the sovereign and those issued by the state-owned oil company PDVSA. Based on the bond contracts and other legal factors, it is not clear which of these two categories of bonds would fare better in the event of a restructuring. However, market observers are convinced — and we agree — that legal and contractual differences would likely impact the payouts on the bonds if Venezuela defaults. Using a comparison of recent ...


Deterring Holdout Creditors In A Restructuring Of Pdvsa Bonds And Promissory Notes (¿Cómo Disuadir A Acreedores 'Holdout' En Una Restructuración De Bonos Y Pagarés De Pdvsa?), Lee C. Buchheit, Mitu Gulati Jan 2017

Deterring Holdout Creditors In A Restructuring Of Pdvsa Bonds And Promissory Notes (¿Cómo Disuadir A Acreedores 'Holdout' En Una Restructuración De Bonos Y Pagarés De Pdvsa?), Lee C. Buchheit, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The prospect of the potential mischief that may be caused by holdout creditors in a Venezuelan sovereign debt restructuring is probably the main reason why the Maduro administration has not attempted such an exercise. The next administration in Venezuela — whenever and however it may arrive — will not want for suggestions about how to minimize or neutralize this holdout creditor threat. This short article is another contribution to that growing literature. Were the Republic of Venezuela to acknowledge that there really is only one public sector credit risk in the country, and that the distinction between Republic bonds and PDVSA bonds ...


Restructuring Sovereign Debt After Nml V. Argentina, Lee C. Buchheit, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2017

Restructuring Sovereign Debt After Nml V. Argentina, Lee C. Buchheit, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The decade and a half of litigation that followed Argentina’s sovereign bond default in 2001 ended with a great disturbance in the Force. A new creditor weapon had been uncloaked: The prospect of a court injunction requiring the sovereign borrower to pay those creditors that decline to participate in a debt restructuring ratably with any payments made to those creditors that do provide the country with debt relief.

For the first time holdouts succeeded in fashioning a weapon that could be used to injure their erstwhile fellow bondholders, not just the sovereign issuer. Is the availability of this new ...


Pricing Sovereign Debt: Discretion V. Expropriation, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

Pricing Sovereign Debt: Discretion V. Expropriation, Michael Bradley, Irving De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The Greek restructuring of March 2012 illustrates how non-price contract terms can have a significant effect on the pricing of sovereign debt. In the Greek restructuring, bonds governed by local law suffered NPV haircuts in the range of 60-75%, whereas those bonds governed by foreign law were paid in full and on time. Other contract parameters such as the currency in which the debt is denominated and the exchange on which it is listed can also affect the leeway a sovereign debtor has in dealing with its creditors. In general, we find that sovereigns with strong institutions and investor protections ...


Targeted Subordination Of Official Sector Debt, Lee C. Buchheit, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

Targeted Subordination Of Official Sector Debt, Lee C. Buchheit, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

If Greece’s debt is unsustainable, and most observers (including the IMF) seem to think it is, the country’s only source of funding will continue to be official sector bailout loans. Languishing for a decade or more as a ward of the official sector is undesirable from all perspectives. The Greeks bridle under what they see as foreign imposed austerity; the taxpayers who fund the official sector loans to Greece balk at the prospect of shoveling good money after bad. The question then is how to facilitate Greece’s ability to tap the private capital markets at tolerable interest ...


Pricing Contract Terms In A Crisis: Venezuelan Bonds In 2016, Elena Carletti, Paolo Colla, Mitu Gulati, Steven Ongena Jan 2016

Pricing Contract Terms In A Crisis: Venezuelan Bonds In 2016, Elena Carletti, Paolo Colla, Mitu Gulati, Steven Ongena

Faculty Scholarship

As of this writing in June 2016, the markets are predicting Venezuela to be on the brink of default. On June 1, 2016, the 6 month CDS contract traded at about 7000bps which translates into a likelihood of default of over 90%. Our interest in the Venezuelan crisis is that its outstanding sovereign bonds have a unique set of contractual features that, in combination with its near-default status, have created a natural experiment. This experiment has the potential to shed light on one of the long standing questions that sits at the intersection of the fields of law and finance ...


A Sovereign’S Cost Of Capital: Go Foreign Or Stay Local, Michael Bradley, Irving Arturo De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

A Sovereign’S Cost Of Capital: Go Foreign Or Stay Local, Michael Bradley, Irving Arturo De Lira Salvatierra, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

A critical question faced by any sovereign seeking to raise funds in the bond market is whether to issue the debt under foreign or local parameters. This choice determines other key characteristics of any bond issue such as which banks, lawyers, and investors will be involved. Most important though, this decision involves a tradeoff between the sovereign retaining discretion in managing the issue and relinquishing control of the issue to third parties to prevent the sovereign from expropriating wealth from bondholders in the future. Based on a sample of 17,349 issuances by 117 sovereigns between 1990 and 2015, we ...


The Sovereign-Debt Listing Puzzle, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Josefin Meyer, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

The Sovereign-Debt Listing Puzzle, Elisabeth De Fontenay, Josefin Meyer, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The claim that stock exchanges perform certification and monitoring roles in securities offerings is pervasive in the legal and financial literatures. This article tests the validity of this “bonding hypothesis” in the sovereign-bond market—one of the oldest and largest securities markets in the world. Using data on sovereign-bond listings for the entire post-World War II period, we provide the first comprehensive report on sovereigns’ historical listing patterns. We then test whether a sovereign bond issue’s listing jurisdiction affects its yield at issuance, as the bonding hypothesis would predict. We find little evidence of bonding in today’s sovereign-debt ...


The Pricing Of Non-Price Terms In Sovereign Bonds: The Case Of The Greek Guarantees, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati Jan 2016

The Pricing Of Non-Price Terms In Sovereign Bonds: The Case Of The Greek Guarantees, Stephen J. Choi, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

In March 2012, Greece conducted one of the biggest and most brutal sovereign debt restructurings ever, asking holders of Greek government bonds to take net present value haircuts of near 80 percent. Greece forced acquiescence to its terms from a large number of its bonds by using a variety of legal strong-arm tactics. With the vast majority of Greek bonds, the tactics worked. There were, however, thirty-six bonds guaranteed by the Greek state, which, because of the weakness of the underlying companies, were effectively obligations of the Greek state. Yet, on these thirty six bonds, even though Greece desperately needed ...


Do The Securities Laws Matter? The Rise Of The Leveraged Loan Market, Elisabeth De Fontenay Jan 2014

Do The Securities Laws Matter? The Rise Of The Leveraged Loan Market, Elisabeth De Fontenay

Faculty Scholarship

One of the enduring principles of federal securities regulation is the mantra that bonds are securities, while commercial loans are not. Yet the corporate bond and loan markets in the U.S. are rapidly converging, putting significant pressure on the disparity in their regulatory treatment. As securities, corporate bonds are subject to onerous public disclosure obligations and liability regimes, which corporate loans avoid entirely. This longstanding regulatory distinction between loans and bonds is based on the traditional conception of a commercial loan as a long-term relationship between the borrowing company and a single bank, in contrast to bonds, which may ...


Santa Anna And His Black Eagle: The Origins Of Pari Passu?, Benjamin Chabot, Mitu Gulati Jan 2014

Santa Anna And His Black Eagle: The Origins Of Pari Passu?, Benjamin Chabot, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

One of the most debated issues in international finance is the meaning of the pari passu clause in sovereign bonds. The clause is ubiquitous; it is in almost every single foreign-law sovereign bond out there. Yet, almost no one seems to agree on its meaning. One way to cut the Gordian knot is to track down the origins of the clause. Modern lawyers may have simply copied the clause from the documents of their predecessors without understanding its meaning. But surely the people who first drafted the clause knew what it meant. Four enterprising students at Duke Law School may ...


A People’S History Of Collective Action Clauses, Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati Jan 2014

A People’S History Of Collective Action Clauses, Mark C. Weidemaier, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

For two decades, collective action clauses (CACs) have been part of the official-sector response to sovereign debt crisis, justified by claims that these clauses can help prevent bailouts and shift the burden of restructuring onto the private sector. Reform efforts in the 1990s and 2000s focused on CACs. So do efforts in the Eurozone today. CACs have even been suggested as the cure for the US municipal bond market. But bonds without CACs are still issued in major markets, so reformers feel obliged to explain why they know better. Over time, a narrative has emerged to justify pro-CAC reforms. It ...


Restructuring A Sovereign Debtor’S Contingent Liabilities, Mitu Gulati, Lee C. Buchheit Jan 2013

Restructuring A Sovereign Debtor’S Contingent Liabilities, Mitu Gulati, Lee C. Buchheit

Faculty Scholarship

How should the contingent liabilities of a sovereign be treated in a general restructuring of the debts of that sovereign? This question has played only a minor role in past sovereign debt restructurings because the size of such contingent liabilities has in most cases been small. In recent years, however, slathering government guarantees on third party debt has become the tool of choice for many countries in their efforts to quell an incipient panic in their financial markets. Some of those sovereigns are now, or may soon be, in the position of needing to restructure their debts. Ignoring large contingent ...


How Markets Work: The Lawyer’S Version, Mitu Gulati, W. Mark C. Weidemaier Jan 2013

How Markets Work: The Lawyer’S Version, Mitu Gulati, W. Mark C. Weidemaier

Faculty Scholarship

In this article, we combine two sources of data to shed light on the nature of transactional legal work. The first consists of stories about contracts that circulate widely among elite transactional lawyers. Surprisingly, the stories portray lawyers as ineffective market actors who are uninterested in designing superior contracts, who follow rather than lead industry standards, and who depend on governments and other outside actors to spur innovation and correct mistakes. We juxtapose these stories against a dataset of sovereign bond contracts produced by these same lawyers. While the stories suggest that lawyers do not compete or design innovative contracts ...


Collective Action Clauses For The Eurozone, Michael Bradley, Mitu Gulati Jan 2013

Collective Action Clauses For The Eurozone, Michael Bradley, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

One of the primary policy initiatives instituted in response to the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis is a requirement that all Eurozone sovereign bonds issued after January 1 2013 include provisions referred to as Collective Action Clauses or CACs. These CACs allow for a super-majority of creditors to impose restructuring terms on minority holdouts. This article assesses the likely effect of this proposal on the borrowing costs of sovereign debtors. Contrary to much of the literature, we find that the presence of CACs leads to a lower cost of capital, especially for below-investment grade bonds


The Problem Of Holdout Creditors In Eurozone Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Mitu Gulati, Lee C. Buchheit, Ignacio Tirado Jan 2013

The Problem Of Holdout Creditors In Eurozone Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Mitu Gulati, Lee C. Buchheit, Ignacio Tirado

Faculty Scholarship

The Eurozone official sector has declared that the belated restructuring of Greek bonds held by private sector creditors in 2012 was a “unique and exceptional” event, never, ever to be repeated in any other Eurozone country. Maybe so. But if this assurance proves in time to be as fragile as the official sector’s prior pronouncements on the subject of “private sector involvement” in Eurozone sovereign debt problems, any future Eurozone debt restructuring will be surely plagued by the problem of non-participating creditors --- holdouts. Indeed, it is the undisguised fear of holdouts and the prospect of a messy, Argentine-style debt ...


The Wonder-Clause, Anna Gelpern, Mitu Gulati Jan 2013

The Wonder-Clause, Anna Gelpern, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

The Greek debt crisis prompted EU officials to embark on a radical reconstruction of the European sovereign debt markets. Prominently featured in this reconstruction was a set of contract provisions called Collective Action Clauses, or CACs. CACs are supposed to help governments and private creditors to renegotiate unsustainable debt contracts, and obviate the need for EU bailouts. But European sovereign debt contacts were already amenable to restructuring; adding CACs could make it harder. Why, then, promote CACs at all, and cast them in such a central role in the market reform initiative? Using interviews with participants in the initiative and ...


The Use And Abuse Of Special-Purpose Entities In Public Finance, Steven L. Schwarcz Jan 2012

The Use And Abuse Of Special-Purpose Entities In Public Finance, Steven L. Schwarcz

Faculty Scholarship

States increasingly are raising financing indirectly through special-purpose entities (SPEs), variously referred to as authorities, special authorities, or public authorities. Notwithstanding their long history and increasingly widespread use, relatively little is known or has been written about these entities. This article examines state SPEs and their functions, comparing them to SPEs used in corporate finance. States, even more than corporations, use these entities to reduce financial transparency and avoid public scrutiny, seriously threatening the integrity of public finance. The article analyzes how regulation could be designed in order to control that threat while maintaining the legitimate financing benefits provided by ...


Pricing Terms In Sovereign Debt Contracts: A Greek Case Study With Implications For The European Crisis Resolution Mechanism, Mitu Gulati, Stephen J. Choi, Eric A. Posner Jan 2011

Pricing Terms In Sovereign Debt Contracts: A Greek Case Study With Implications For The European Crisis Resolution Mechanism, Mitu Gulati, Stephen J. Choi, Eric A. Posner

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom holds that boilerplate contract terms are ignored by parties, and thus are not priced into contracts. We test this view by comparing Greek sovereign bonds that have Greek choice-of-law terms and Greek sovereign bonds that have English choice-of-law terms. Because Greece can change the terms of Greek-law bonds unilaterally by changing Greek Law, and cannot change the terms of English-law bonds, Greek-law bonds should be riskier, with higher yields and lower prices. The spread between the two types of bonds should increase when the probability of Greek default increases. Recent events allow us to test this hypothesis, and ...


The Market Reaction To Legal Shocks And Their Antidotes: Lessons From The Sovereign Debt Market, Michael Bradley, James D. Cox, Mitu Gulati Jan 2010

The Market Reaction To Legal Shocks And Their Antidotes: Lessons From The Sovereign Debt Market, Michael Bradley, James D. Cox, Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

In October 2000 a hedge fund holding an unpaid debt claim won an enormous victory against the debtor, the Republic of Peru, through an opportunistic interpretation of the common pari passu clause by a Brussels court. This development was met by charges from policy makers and practitioners that the court's decision (its novel interpretation of the pari passu clause) would lead to a dramatic increase in the risks of holdout litigation faced by sovereign debtors. Over the ensuing years, multiple reform solutions were proposed including the revision of certain contractual terms, the filing of amicus briefs in a key ...


Innovation After The Revolution: Foreign Sovereign Bond Contracts Since 2003, Mitu Gulati, Anna Gelpern Jan 2009

Innovation After The Revolution: Foreign Sovereign Bond Contracts Since 2003, Mitu Gulati, Anna Gelpern

Faculty Scholarship

For over a decade, contracts literature has focused on standardization. Scholars asked how terms become standard, and why they change so rarely. This line of inquiry painted a world where a standard term persists until it is dislodged by another standard term, perhaps after a brief window of ferment before the second term takes hold. It also overshadowed the early insights of boilerplate theories, which described contracts as a mix of standard and customized terms, and asked why the mix might be suboptimal. This article brings the focus back to the mix. It examines the development of selected provisions in ...


When Voters Make Laws: How Direct Democracy Is Shaping American Cities, Elizabeth Garrett, Mathew D. Mccubbins Jan 2008

When Voters Make Laws: How Direct Democracy Is Shaping American Cities, Elizabeth Garrett, Mathew D. Mccubbins

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Sovereign Debt Reform And The Best Interest Of Creditors, William W. Bratton, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2004

Sovereign Debt Reform And The Best Interest Of Creditors, William W. Bratton, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

In April 2002 the International Monetary Fund introduced a sovereign bankruptcy proposal only to be rebuffed by the United States Treasury. Where the IMF wanted a mandatory bankruptcy regime, the Treasury wanted to solve distress problems with contractual devices. Sovereign bondholders and sovereign issuers themselves flatly rejected both proposals, even though they were nominally the beneficiaries of both proponents. This Article addresses and explains this bondholder reaction. In so doing, it takes a highly skeptical view of the IMF's proposal even as it shows that the incentive structure surrounding sovereign lending renders untenable the Treasury's contractarian proposal. The ...


Sovereign Bonds And The Collective Will, Lee C. Buchheit, G. Mitu Gulati Jan 2002

Sovereign Bonds And The Collective Will, Lee C. Buchheit, G. Mitu Gulati

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.