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With the ongoing shutdown of tens of thousands of businesses causing massive unemployment, bankruptcy filings will inevitably increase substantially. The Bankruptcy Code is designed to facilitate the sale of assets. The Bankruptcy Code provides a method for assets to be sold “free and clear” of liens and claims so long as any creditor with a lien on the asset to be sold is paid in full, the lien is in bona fide dispute or the secured creditor consents to the sale. (Bankruptcy Code section 363(f) provides that the debtor or trustee may sell property free and clear of any interest in such property of an entity other than the estate, only if: 1) applicable non-bankruptcy law permits sale of such property free and clear of such interest; 2) such entity consents; 3) such interest is a lien and the price at which such property is to be sold is greater than the aggregate value of all liens on such property; 4) such interest is in bona fide dispute; or 5) such entity could be compelled, in a legal or equitable proceeding, to accept a money satisfaction of such interest.) There is no efficient market, however, for the sale of bankruptcy assets. Inefficient markets yield a transactional drag, potentially dampening the ability of debtors and trustees to maximize value for creditors. For instance, I often identify bankruptcy asset sales for my investor clients who were otherwise unaware of sale opportunities. This paper identifies ways in which investors may more easily discover bankruptcy asset sales.
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