Case | HBS Case Collection | April 2006 (Revised December 2006)

The Barber of Buenos Aires: Argentina's Debt Renegotiation

by Noel Maurer and Aldo Musacchio

Abstract

Tells the story of Argentina's aggressive strategy for renegotiating its sovereign debt from 2003 to 2005. Most creditors accepted the offer to swap their debt for new securities worth 35 cents on the dollar, with no recognition of all past-due interest. Many holdouts, however, remain outside the deal. Some experts believe that Argentina's stance will have negative consequences for the country's private sector and gives a worrisome signal about public policies; others maintain that circumstances beyond the government's control had placed the country in an unsustainable situation, and the successful renegotiation opens up new opportunities. The case presents the story of Argentina's debt saga from the point of view of the country's creditors (foreign and domestic), its government, and private Argentine companies that had to do business in the post-renegotiation environment. Also, discusses the larger issue of how the international financial community should handle sovereign debt workouts.

Keywords: Private Sector; Borrowing and Debt; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; International Finance; Foreign Direct Investment; Sovereign Finance; Government and Politics; Negotiation Tactics; Outcome or Result; Situation or Environment; Argentina;

Citation:

Maurer, Noel, and Aldo Musacchio. "The Barber of Buenos Aires: Argentina's Debt Renegotiation." Harvard Business School Case 706-034, April 2006. (Revised December 2006.)