How to Prepare for Restructuring Technical Questions
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Restructuring Interview Prep Resources
Stephen Moyer's Distressed Debt Analysis, while geared towards the investing side of distress, has a great overview of the bankruptcy system and the mechanics of debt. I'm sure having done interview prep, you all have probably read Houlihan Lokey's case study, but that also will give you a good overview (http://www.>
Another great resource is the Distressed Debt Investing blog (http://www.distressed-debt-investing.com/), although it gets a little more technical in terms of valuation/investing, it's still a great read and will keep you up to date on the latest distressed companies out in the market.
Cap Tables and Restructuring Preperation
In terms of technical skills, the most basic analysis you'll need to do in restructuring is understanding the cap structure of a company and making cap tables. You will make a lot of cap tables. Basically, it's an analysis that shows the different debt structures in place at the company, starting with the most senior debt at the top (typically term loans and secured), then 2nd lien debt, then senior unsecured debt, then generally mezz or high yield bonds (typically unsecured). If you don't know the difference between secured/unsecured, senior/junior, loans/bonds, guaranteed/non-guaranteed, spend some time and Google the differences. Then finding the leverage at each tranche of debt. For example, if a company has $100M of term loans, $100M of 2nd lien, and $100M of bonds for debt, and also $100M of EBITDA, then the you can track the leverage through the different tranches: 1x leverage through the TL, 2x leverage through the 2nd lien, and 3x leverage through the bonds. This is used to for the "waterfall" of value should the company have to sell itself to figure out who gets paid. If the company is only sold for $250M, then the TL and 2nd liens are paid through, while the bonds are considered the "fulcrum" security (i.e., they are the security where value runs out).
Besides leverage, a cap table can be used to calculate interest coverage ratios to see if the company is in danger of breaching its covenants. Covenants are essentially rules that lenders include in loan documents/indentures to prevent the borrower from doing crazy things with their money. So there's a lot of different covenants (affirmative, negative, and financial). You'll probably focus most on financial covenants, which dictate that the company can't exceed a certain leverage, has to maintain certain coverage ratios, etc.
Reviewing Public Filings for Restructuring Interviews
You can create the above cap table almost purely with public 10-Ks and Qs, so get familiar with reading those if you haven't already. Another main component of cap tables is pricing, but that is generally only available through paid services (e.g., Bloomberg, SMI, ADI, etc.). If you have access to those, learn how to find pricing and yields (should be pretty basic).
Reviewing Credit Documents and Indentures
The least exciting part (in my opinion) of restructuring work is combing through credit docs and indentures. These are also publicly available via company filings, usually attached to 10-Ks in the appendix or in an 8-k. The other thing you'll need to be familiar with is going through PACER, which is the database for court documents. When a company is going through bankruptcy, they'll have to file documents to PACER, which is publicly available, but can cost a few cents to a dollar to access (I think). Sometimes major court cases will have the documents available for free from different news sources. The main documents you'll need to familiarize yourself with is the disclosure statement and the plan of reorganization. The POR is basically the company's plan on how to emerge from bankruptcy. It will contain useful information such as the background of why the company filed, the claimants, the capital structure of the company, and more. The disclosure statement is essentially a shorter summary (but not by much) of the POR. It's meant to be easier to read and will often contain forward looking projections in the appendix.
Now, I know that when you were looking for advice on technical skills, you weren't expecting learning how to go through a database or read credit docs. But to be honest, those are skills that will probably take you the longest to master, and will take you an inordinate amount of time without practice. If you can get a headstart on that, I think it will benefit you greatly.
Happy to answer any further questions regarding restructuring, best of luck for the summer.
You can also check out a detailed video about restructuring below.
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