In the latest wild turn for Hertz (NYSE:HTZ), the well-known vehicle rental company that is progressing through the bankruptcy process, the company's seeking to take advantage of the recent speculative pop in its share price.
Hertz is asking the bankruptcy court to approve the company to issue up to 246.78 million common shares and generate anywhere from $600 million to over $1 billion, looking at recent closing prices for the stock. "The recent market prices of and the trading volumes in Hertz's common stock potentially present a unique opportunity for the debtors to raise capital on terms that are far superior to any debtor-in-possession financing," the company said in a court filing.
When Hertz filed for bankruptcy on May 22, the company had roughly $1 billion in cash to continue funding its operations while the bankruptcy process plays out. Sure, this potential offering could give the company more capital to fund its operations. But make no mistake: When a company files for bankruptcy, its primary objective is to pay back its lenders in full or as much as possible.
Investors buying these newly issued shares, if approved by the court, are essentially handing money to Hertz lenders, and they'll end up holding worthless shares of a stock likely heading to zero.
Most common shareholders of companies that file for bankruptcy receive little to no value for their shares, and Hertz appears especially unlikely to have any value for common shareholders after it attempts to satisfy over $19 billion in debt to lenders of secured and unsecured debt. One of Hertz most valuable assets is its massive fleet of vehicles, but those assets are tied to nearly $15 billion in secured debt, and those lenders will be the first at the negotiating table, while common shareholders will be the last. Even Carl Icahn, a hedge fund billionaire with far more influence and power than your typical common shareholder, who had amassed a near-40% stake in Hertz, threw in the towel when the company filed for bankruptcy and sold his shares at a staggering loss.
Furthermore, this unprecedented move by Hertz could open up the doors for further legal action."Selling shares that could potentially be wiped out in Chapter 11 may leave Hertz exposed to securities lawsuits that would arise post-petition and could result in additional administrative claims," according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Philip Brendel, in a note.
Individual investors should watch the Hertz circus from a distance, and in fairness, the bankruptcy court might not give this idea a second thought before shutting it down.