If you're feeling confused about the roller coaster that has been Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) stock after it rocketed nearly 900% from its lows despite filing for bankruptcy protection, you're not alone. At a time when investors are grappling with what actually happens during a bankruptcy process, Hertz has been notified by the New York Stock Exchange that it will be delisted. What does that mean for investors, exactly?
The first important thing to note is that when a company is delisted from one of the major stock exchanges, nothing directly happens to a shareholder. Investors still hold the same percentage of the company and the same amount of shares that they owned prior to the delisting. Further, while delisting is generally viewed as a negative development because the stock becomes less liquid due to fewer investors being able to trade the stock, the shares can still be traded "Over-the-Counter" (OTC). OTC exchanges often have more relaxed regulations compared to the New York Stock Exchange and other major exchanges.
It's important for investors to understand that when a company files for bankruptcy the shares are generally delisted before the bankruptcy process ends. If new shares of a restructured Hertz are issued post-bankruptcy the shares that existed before the bankruptcy likely will end up worthless. There are a lot of variables up in the air with Hertz right now and what happens with the company during the bankruptcy process is yet to be determined. However, Hertz has a massive $19 billion pile of debt and a large $15 billion chunk of that debt is owned by lenders with asset backed securities.
Essentially, Hertz borrowed from lenders to purchase much of its massive vehicle fleet and tied those assets to the lenders of that capital. Those lenders will get much of whatever value Hertz liquidates or otherwise has to offer for sale, and common shareholders will be the very last to receive any value. Hertz is considered an essential business and will continue to use cash on hand to continue operations while the bankruptcy process plays out. Hertz is challenging the New York Stock Exchange's decision to delist the company, but it will most likely be removed in the near-term.