Debt/Equity Swap

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DEFINITION of 'Debt/Equity Swap'

A transaction in which the obligations (debts) of a company or individual are exchanged for something of value (equity). In the case of a publicly-traded company, this would generally entail an exchange of bonds for stock. The value of the stocks and bonds being exchanged are typically determined by the market at the time of the swap.

BREAKING DOWN 'Debt/Equity Swap'

A debt/equity swap is a refinancing deal in which a debtholder gets an equity position in exchange for cancellation of the debt. The swap is generally done to help a struggling company continue to operate (after all, an insolvent company can't pay its debts or improve its equity standing). However, sometimes a company may simply wish to take advantage of favorable market conditions.


Covenants in the bond indenture may prevent a swap from happening without consent.

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