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Northwestern University School of Law




The buying and selling of claims against companies in financial distress is not a new phenomenon. In times of financial distress, liquidity has always commanded a profit. However, the late 1980s and early 1990s saw the first significant trading of claims under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code, our relatively new and novel system of corporate reorganization. Traditionally scorned by the financial establishment, distress investment came into vogue with the "megabankruptcies" that followed in the wake of the leveraged buyout boom of the 1980s. With its prospects for huge profits, claims trading in Chapter 11 became a Wall Street staple. Even mainstream mutual funds participated. The size of the market was estimated to run as high as $300 billion.



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