After numerous deadline extensions, less-than-truckload giant YRC Worldwide on Thursday headed off a possible bankruptcy filing after reaching a debt-for-equity exchange with its bondholders.

Some observers are saying YRC is like a cat with nine lives.
Some observers are saying YRC is like a cat with nine lives.


The Overland Park, Kan.-based company received tenders for approximately $470 million in par value, representing approximately 88 percent of the company's outstanding notes, before the Dec. 31 deadline.

In return, noteholders will get 37 million shares of YRC common stock and 4.346 million of Class A convertible preferred stock, which together on a converted basis, will represent 94 percent of YRC total issued and outstanding common shares.

The company had to complete the swap by Dec. 31 to pay off $19 million in interest due, or its "liquidity position would become unsustainable," the company said, and it would have been forced to file for bankruptcy protection.

When the company originally launched the exchange program, the carrier was looking to trade about $536.8 million in debt for about 95 percent of its equity. However, the company dropped its minimum to 70 percent acceptance of the USF notes and 85 percent on the remaining contingent convertible notes.

"The success of this note exchange marks a major turning point for YRC Worldwide -- with our significantly restructured balance sheet and enhanced liquidity, we will move forward from a more solid financial foundation," CEO Bill Zollars said in a statement.

However, the company's stock fell 15 percent the same day to 84 cents, the lowest price since at least November 1982, according to BusinessWeek.

The Teamsters union had been putting pressure on YRC bondholders to agree to the deal to save 30,000 jobs.

"Our members have made tremendous sacrifices in leading the way to make this restructuring possible," said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa in a press release. "Given the circumstances, this is as good of news that we could have hoped for. [The] announcement that YRCW's bondholders have agreed to eliminate a significant amount of debt paves the way for the company to re-establish its customer base in the less-than-truckload market."