BP ADRs Plunging As Two Rumors Of Imminent Bankruptcy Hit Market

Tyler Durden's picture

BP stock getting hit with a variety of rumors as to the cause - one is that the culprit is a Fortune article, which quotes Matt Simmons (whom we have quoted before as being supportive of nuking the leak) that BP "has about a month before they declare Chapter 11. They're going
to run out of cash from lawsuits, cleanup and other expenses. One
really smart thing that Obama did was about three weeks ago he forced
BP CEO Tony Hayward to put in writing that BP would pay for every
dollar of the cleanup. But there isn't enough money in the world to
clean up the Gulf of Mexico. Once BP realizes the extent of this my
guess is that they'll panic and go into Chapter 11." The other rumor which is gaining traction, is that BP has hired a bankruptcy lawyer. Then again, seeing how today was the 1,293,498th time the Radioshack LBO rumor pushed the stock higher, all this media rumormongering should certainly be taken with a blob of oil.

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MsCreant's picture

LOL, I wondered why you changed your avatar.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The winner and real John Connor, having been registered for 45 weeks and 1 day vs 1 week and 6 days.

I want to see a steel cage wrestling match between you two pronto. The fate of the world hangs in the balance. Where's Sarah when you need her?

Ripped Chunk's picture

High caliber hand guns at 20 paces

etrader's picture

XOM wants "in" at a better price with help from uncle Sam......:-)

Kinda the same set up as BSC with JPM.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Speaking of XOM, what are the names of the other companies that "own" this disaster. If I remember correctly, doesn't BP "only" own 60% of this mess?

Who are they and did they also self insure? Or is this mess all BP?

Ripped Chunk's picture

Hey! Don't knock it. You save a ton of $$ on premiums when you are self insured and your crack legal staff are all in your Alumni Association.

Especially if you are in a risky business................

jkruffin's picture

US bankruptcy is cake, go in, get all your debt discharged, be out in 30 days, back in full business with full credit lines, issue new $100 stock, give the board $300 million worth of free shares, and move on to the next disaster.  Look at CIT for an example.

MachoMan's picture

Well, I'm not sure the costs of this will be dischargeable...  often times, criminal penalties, fines, etc. as well as judgments against you for intentional torts or malicious activities will not be dischargeable...  depending on what is found through discovery, BP may not be able to eliminate its problems through the act of filing for bankruptcy...

And look at my previous posts...  this thing is going to a centralized federal court, for administrative proceedings, which may even be favorable to BP, BUT the individual cases (can't get class certification because the damages are too different among the parties seeking to become a class) will likely be (mostly) had in home courts full of jurors out for BP's head.  BP will get taken to the woodshed for incredible compensatory damages as well as punitives to boot.  This is a Plaintiff attorney's wet dream.  And I'm guessing there is a substantial likelihood that many of the damages will be nondischargeable...

Phil's picture

Didn't CIT also stiff the gov't of 2 mil TARP?

ALPO's picture

BP stock falls low enough, the UK government can step forward and nationalize the whole company.  (UK law generally requires the govt pay for the acquisition, hence the need for a low stock price).

Once nationalized, UK government claims sovereign immunity to all claims against BP.

Wait a few years for all claims to be extinguished, privatize BP, profit, and pass the cash to the then failing UK pension funds.


caconhma's picture

I think this indeed will be the BP solution. 

BP is to vital to British retirement system. UK cannot allow BP going into a bankruptcy.


It is increadible how Obama (due to his administration incompetence) fugget itself so badly. To allow the major US corporations like APC, RIG, etc., going bankrupt will put US economy into a depression in a hurry.


However, on " a bright side", if BP is nationalized and immune to the claims then its US partners will easily survive to.

StychoKiller's picture

I'm betting that the World Economy will implode before BP sees a Bankruptcy hearing.

Cheeky Bastard's picture


BP PLC 383.48 +122.73 +47.07

jesusfreakinco's picture


Is that CDS for BP?  What are the current bk rate predictions?



jesusfreakinco's picture


Thanks.  Short and strong...  This one is headed to zero IMO.


Cheeky Bastard's picture

BP is probably the worst of all the big oil companies. They only had 6 billion in cash on their balance sheet [and with profits nearing the average of 40 million per day for almost 4 years thats fucking pathetic]. If they become liable in the suits [and they will] their cash stash will be wiped out; that will make debt service practically unsustainable [they have something like 32 billion of debt [sorry do not know the average maturity]]. The only thing going for them pre-GOM incident was price skew of their debt and CDS due to being an oil company. Whoever thought BP was a competitive player among the big oil companies is either very misleading when reading BP 10-Q and 10-Ks or was just putting trade recommendations based on what BP marketing department told him. Either way; this baby is going down stock-wise and widening spread-wise. Maybe even another downgrade in the next few days.

williambanzai7's picture

Time for an oil change?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


So subtle, yet so full of innuendo.

Or should I say "In Your End, Oh!" 


Miss Expectations's picture

Can you whip up a photo of Obama in tar and feathers?  Nice caption.

I like your work.

pigpen's picture

BP is not going anywhere. Too many fear mongers.

BP as a bankruptcy candidate – Business media and press and investors all grinding hard on the possibility that this oil spill could wind up bankrupting BP.  The stock has lost ~$80B in market cap since spill started on 4/20 (about $55B on relative basis vs. peers XOM, CVX, RDS).  It is acting terribly, down ~6% yesterday and softer again today in Europe trading.    The stock is in a vicious circle where the ongoing flow of negative news and political pressure begets selling, which begets more speculation about “how bad can it be”, which begets more selling, etc.  And why step into that breach as a buyer?  Uncertainty = paralysis where only the boldest of value and deep value players dare to tread. 


·          BP as a bankruptcy candidate – part 2 – It feels like there is a frenzy for sources/experts/analysts to one-up each other on the assessment of fines and liability and talk about BP as a donut hole stock (zero).  We have a really hard time getting there from a practical perspective as BP worth more alive than dead to US government and all those that want milk from this future cash cow.  Politically, the world agrees that the US government is going to punish BP big time.  But that Capitol Hill punishment will have to work within a framework of legally established fines, fines assessed for criminal activity after a criminal investigation is conducted and settlements between BP and the government.  Then will come the civil lawsuits for economic impairments from individuals, states, companies.  These will be huge dollars – but most of them involve a lengthy time element.  Years and years of litigation.  The Valdez accident happened in 1989, the civil and criminal charges were settled in 1991 and the class action awards hit in 1994..but were fought until 2008 (and initial punitive award was reduced dramatically).


·          BP as a bankruptcy candidate – part 3 – Let’s look at some quick math and history to figure out what the near term (next few years) fines and penalties can be for BP.  Clean Water act violation could be ~$4,300/bbl (see discussion at this link, under 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(7)(A) and 33 U.S.C. 1321(b)(7)(D) – we just wanted to feel cool and quote all those docket numbers). Assuming 2mmbbls spilled, that is $8.6B in potential fines.  For historical reference, the largest Clean Water act fine was Koch Industries at $30MM in January 2000.  The largest environmental fine ever was Exxon Valdez at $1.65B inflation-adjusted ($1.1B in 1991).  The largest criminal fine ever levied by the government for any reason was against Pfizer in 2009 at $1.3B.  Clearly, BP will be the biggest numbers ever...but it is hard to get BP bankrupt just from government fines.   


·          BP as a bankruptcy candidate – part 4 – If extracting big dollars from BP is the goal (and it almost certainly is), then there is going to have to be a lot of horse trading going on.  Will the British government really allow the US to bankrupt one of its largest companies (remember BP used to be British Petroleum) and big employers?..we think no.  Does Obama really want a bunch of economic fallout and job losses in the US if BP were to shut down?..we think no.  Will Obama administration push so hard that BP walks from its North American assets and just hands them the keys as payment for all the fines, etc?..we think no.  Can lawsuits and class action litigation suck enough cash out of BP to force bankruptcy?...we think no (decades of litigation is costly, but not dangerously high).  Will BP enter into a near-term settlement that bankrupts the entire company?...we think no.  Can plaintiffs lawyers suck BP dry?..perhaps, but it will take many, many years to litigate.  So where can we truly find the rationale for BP to go to zero in the short term?  You can’t…or if there is one, it is at BP’s discretion as a negotiating tool.   

Spitzer's picture

Thanks pigpen

I said I would buy at 10% below the 2008/2009 low so my price is close. I am buying a small tranche today.

Today's headline is such a rock bottom indicator.

partimer1's picture

you gave a lot of reasons that BP is a buy, but you don't know any facts. You certainly do know where the stock is going. But you think you know.  The fact is we just don't really know what will happen to BP, and how much damage Bp caused.

taraxias's picture

The veil is slowly being pulled back as to this extend of the magnitude of this leak.


RichardENixon's picture

If it's as bad as some apparently credible people are saying it might be, everything goes to ZERO.

Spitzer's picture

Yes but you must buy at the height of uncertainty if you want the lowest price. He didn't say that he thought he knew. All he is saying is that bankruptcy is very unlikely yet, the rumors are pricing it in.

Mikebrah's picture

It still has a market capt of $95B so it's hard to argue that the market has priced in BK.

ZackAttack's picture

Some intangibles to consider among the historical precedent -  

This isn't hidden among the ice floes like Valdez. This in on the beaches in 5 states, including the US's 4th largest economy. No one will eat another piece of seafood from the gulf, buy a house or a building there, or spend their vacation money for another decade. Let a couple of cleanup workers fall sick and that turns to 'forever'. This place will be like the Forbidden Zone.

The mood of the country toward its corporate masters has changed. Hayward and company have made an absolute hash of their PR. They couldn't have pooched it any worse if they tried. "Well, it's really quite a small spill; you yanks just use the non-peeing section of the bathtub." A guy watching that clip with me said "I guess a couple of drops of manchowder would be inconsquential in his big mug of tea, too."

Obama waited long enough to see which way the wind was blowing, but it's too late; he looks as though he's in collusion with them. That sure hell never happened to Bush the Elder and Valdez. He has to rain all over their parade.

Put a case in front of a jury. Watch what happens.

BP is dead meat.

Spitzer's picture

This is a classic example of a rock solid dividend aristocrat that is in short term trouble.  BP will be around 20 years from now.

Buy a small tranch now.



ZackAttack's picture

To my mind, too many good companies completely away from this disaster have been destroyed to take the risk of trading a BP. Look for the peripheral damage instead.

partimer1's picture

same can be said when LEH was at $20, and AIG was at $40. Even the big Dick the buy lehman Bove was saying that at the time.

All I am saying is that there is no way we can tell where the hell this stock is going.  I like the odd of black jack more than this one.

Spitzer's picture

 That was financial bullshit services, totally different then a legit business of actually producing a real thing and making a profit.

There is no comparison. Give me an example of a blue chip gone bust that was producing real things without fucking around with paper(Enron).

ZackAttack's picture

Kinda hard to compare when there's also no precedent for someone who pooched it badly enough to destroy an ocean.

TSHTF's picture

To add, I think the biggest 'we've never been here before' piece of this cluster is the ongoing nature of the disaster.  In the case of the Valdez, the boat sank, the oil spilled, and the cleanup began.  Damages had to be paid but most took a 'shit happens' view of it.  This is different... this shows that BP didn't understand what they were getting into with this deep water well, lied about out it, continue to lie about it daily, and look incompetent as an institution.  The Valdez was easy to blame on a drunk skipper.  This comes off far far worse in PR terms.

ZackAttack's picture

No one even knows if the relief wells are going to work come August, if the well casing has been compromised, as it now appears.  

Scarecrow's picture

I also think it is unlikely that BP is going to be forced into bankruptcy. The market is implying that the total cost to BP for this spill (=loss of market cap/(1-tax rate)) since tax deductible) is going to be $160 billion. That's 24 Exxon Valdez's (inflation adjusted cost of $6.8 billion) or $36,364 for every man, woman and child in Louisiana. Seems a little extreme to me. Everyone is speculating but no one wants to look at the numbers or look at just how massive this company actually is. 

Hondo's picture

going bankrupt means the stock has unlimited potential......the same as the financials...don't be fooled buy now!

LoneStarHog's picture

Contract??? Isn't The Messiah 2.0 Administration one of the many that have proven that Contract Law means NOTHING, beginning with the VERBAL contract of Hope & Change?

Contract my tired Texas ass...

monmick's picture

"should certainly be taken with a blob of oil..."

or a ball of tar.


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Dude, I smoked some good "tar balls" back in the 60's............

Oh.......not that tar. Well, that hash was still kick ass man. :>)

Remember boys and girls, just say NO.

ZeroPower's picture



(btw, now i can safely theorize you are between 58-75 years old)

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

It was the gray hair, right? :>)

partimer1's picture

where the hell is that guy talking about buying RIG $15 ago?  He gave a lot reason to buy then.  he must like it now. 

Kurtieboy's picture


John McCloy's picture

   As one of the largest fans of RIG Previously and their business model I must say I cannot see them surviving this. I do not see them getting away with minimal liability and they have a mountain of debt. Much of their lucrative dayrates were derived from the deepwater leases. Selling this at $85.00 may have been the luckiest move I ever made.

economicmorphine's picture

Their debt is approximately 30% of equity which is relatively low for a cap intensive business like offshore drilling.  They gonna be jusssss fahnnnnnnnnnn.

Montecarlo's picture

BP = British Pensioners.  As one goes, the other will follow.

Dburn's picture

I would say that Chapter 11 is the only way to save the company. The fines mentioned don't begin to cover the liabilities that this company is incurring on a daily basis. The legal fees just to defend it's cash flow will be enormous. So big that Chapter 11 is probably the only course that will save the company. The shareholders will get hurt, but right now all eyes are on their oil fields as potential collateral against large damage awards. Why would the company do anymore exploration. The list of people who benefit from them staying in business is more than they have in reserves. No one is immune from thousands of lawsuits. The only thing they can do is pay the states off that are effected like the tobacco companies did, but that would be a huge sum of money as it would have to be distributed up and down the coast lines and make up for billions of lost tourism and the fishing industry on the effected coastlines for years. Then you have inland suits for increased costs of raw fish. That just covers the compensatory damages. I know they have some sort of limit per suit. But I have faith in our depressed legal industry. If there are loopholes they will be found.

Disclosure : happily cashed in Puts today .