Vulture Investors, Predators of the 90s: An Ethical Examination

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Investment in financially distressed companies has taken place since the end of the depression. But a new breed of predatory activist investors called “vultures” has emerged in recent years. They take sizable debt positions in insolvent companies with the intention of significantly increasing the value of their investment through aggressive negotiation either in bankruptcy or in pre-bankruptcy restructurings. Predators thrive on adversarial conflict. Vulture investment is legal, but is it morally acceptable? This paper argues that the strategies and tactics of vultures may be very unpleasant, but in themselves these are insufficient grounds for moral censure.

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