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Looking Forward To Profits From Backdating
Hedge funds are finding a way to profit from the growing scandal involving the back-dating of stock options given to company executives.
Hedge funds are finding a way to profit from the growing scandal involving the back-dating of stock options given to company executives. The Wall Street Journal reports that the scandal has forced companies to review their earning statements, and that could delay the filing of financial statements. Usually, says the WSJ, bondholders don’t fuss about a missed deadline, but hedge fund holding bonds are dangling the deadline as a way of forcing companies to repay debt ASAP. When a company misses a deadline, bondholders, which increasingly include hedge funds, have the right to demand immediate debt payment. How does it work? The WSJ cites the example of UnitedHealth Group as a company that has missed such a filing deadline. Right now the company’s bonds are trading below face value, but if forced to pay the $800 million in bonds, due in 2036, they would have to redeem them in full. This method of making profits could provide a windfall to such hedge fund and other investors, as the number of late filers is on the rise. According to Merrill Lynch, there have been more than two dozen such delinquent fliers in the past year and a half, and rising.