If a Company Goes Bankrupt What Happens to Stock

If a Company Goes Bankrupt, What Happens to Stock?

In the world of investing, there is always a level of risk involved. One such risk is the possibility of a company going bankrupt. When a company fails to meet its financial obligations and becomes insolvent, it may file for bankruptcy protection under the applicable laws of the country it operates in. This can have significant implications for the company’s stockholders. In this article, we will explore what happens to stock when a company goes bankrupt and answer some frequently asked questions related to this topic.

What Happens to Stock when a Company Goes Bankrupt?

1. Stock Value Plummeting:
When a company files for bankruptcy, it usually leads to a significant decline in the value of its stock. This is because the market perceives the company as having financial difficulties and doubts its ability to recover. As a result, investors may rush to sell their shares, causing the stock price to plummet.

2. Delisting from Exchange:
In some cases, a bankrupt company’s stock may be delisted from the stock exchange it is listed on. This means that the stock will no longer be traded on the exchange, making it difficult for investors to sell their shares. Instead, the stock may be traded on over-the-counter markets, where liquidity is typically lower.

3. Potential for Shareholders’ Losses:
When a company goes bankrupt, its assets are used to pay off its debts. If there is not enough money to cover all the debts, shareholders may end up losing their entire investment. In most bankruptcy cases, common stockholders are the last to receive any remaining funds, after secured creditors, bondholders, and other debt holders have been paid.

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4. Restructuring or Liquidation:
Depending on the type of bankruptcy filing, a bankrupt company may either opt for restructuring or liquidation. In a restructuring scenario, the company aims to reorganize its operations and finances in order to regain profitability. This may involve negotiating with creditors, reducing debt, and making operational changes. In this case, there may still be a chance for stockholders to retain some value in their shares. However, in a liquidation scenario, the company’s assets are sold off to repay debts, and the company ceases to exist. Stockholders are unlikely to receive any significant returns in this scenario.


Q1. Can a bankrupt company’s stock recover?
The chances of a bankrupt company’s stock recovering are generally quite slim. While there have been instances where companies have successfully emerged from bankruptcy and their stock has regained some value, these cases are the exception rather than the norm.

Q2. Should I sell my shares if a company goes bankrupt?
It is generally recommended to sell your shares if a company you have invested in goes bankrupt. This allows you to salvage whatever value remains in your investment. However, it is important to note that selling stocks in a bankruptcy situation can be challenging due to low liquidity and the potential for significant losses.

Q3. Can I buy stock in a bankrupt company?
Technically, you can still buy stock in a bankrupt company if it is being traded on over-the-counter markets. However, investing in bankrupt companies is highly risky and speculative, as the chances of recovering your investment are typically low.

Q4. Can I claim any tax benefits if I own stock in a bankrupt company?
If a company you own stock in goes bankrupt, you may be able to claim a tax loss on your investment. Consult with a tax professional to understand the specific rules and regulations governing such claims in your jurisdiction.

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In conclusion, when a company goes bankrupt, the value of its stock generally declines significantly, and there is a risk of losing the entire investment. It is important for investors to closely monitor their investments and take appropriate action if a company shows signs of financial distress. As with any investment decision, seeking guidance from a financial advisor is always recommended.