Oaktree: Pierre Foods Investment
This case is a setting to discuss "loan to own" investment strategy that is often pursued by distressed investors. The aftermath of the 2007 financial crisis left many companies with poor liquidity and limited ability to obtain credit. One of these companies was Pierre Foods, a producer and distributor of processed and precooked protein products that had experienced several years of promising sales growth and held a leading market position. Despite this, 2007 saw Pierre foods adversely affected by a spike in production costs and unsustainably high leverage. This made Pierre Foods an attractive opportunity for Oaktree Capital Management, allowing them to employ its strategy of investing in distressed debt securities with the goal of leading a restructuring during which their debt investment would be converted into a controlling equity stake. The challenge of executing "loan to own" strategy is being able to identify ahead of the restructuring the debt layer that stands to becoming equity (the so called "fulcrum security"). Overall, this case can be used to understand unique elements of a representative distressed investment. It can also be used as a platform for discussing sources of value and risks associated with distressed investing.
- 2018 HBS
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