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What: Shares of trucker YRC Worldwide
So what: Yesterday, YRC announced that it had reached an agreement with Teamsters and lenders to move ahead with a plan to inject new capital into the company, convert some debt into equity, and restructure other debt. Sounds good right? Perhaps if you're a debt holder or a Teamster. But for equity investors, the deal promises, according to YRC, "very substantial dilution." We don't know exactly what that means yet because the press release was short on specifics, but it doesn't sound promising.
Now what: What's clear is that equity holders being left with something rather than the goose egg that they'd likely be grasping in the case of a YRC bankruptcy is a plus. However, shareholders couldn't be blamed for wondering what exactly they're going to own when this is all said and done. Perhaps they'll collectively claim the equivalent of one YRC truck? Or share ownership of a hubcap? Shareholders have gotten steamrolled in this restructuring process, but it's a good reminder of what it means to be an equity owner and be first in line to take a hit in times of financial distress. It's likewise a lesson in how leverage can clobber shareholders even if a company doesn't end up bankrupt.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or on his RSS feed. The Fool's disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.