The DealBook blog from the New York Times has an interesting post entitled "Stocking Up For A Storm." It describes how certain investment banks have been expanding their distressed debt businesses, believing that the length of the current "good times" period may actually lead to an increase in the level of distress when the economy finally turns.
The DealBook post points readers to a new article in The Economist on so-called vulture investors. Entitled "The Vultures Take Wing," the article discusses the view of many investors and insolvency professionals that, after a drought of restructurings, a new wave of bankruptcies and defaults may not be too far off. When the problems come, they will likely be even more complex than in past cycles. Not only have very active hedge funds taken a much greater role in recent years, but many companies now have an additional tranche of secured debt in the form of the increasingly popular second lien loans.
While corporate restructurings and Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases have always been complex, when the next surge in defaults hits these trends are likely to present even more challenges — and perhaps opportunities — for both debtors and creditors.