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Used by companies that are in such bad shape that there is no other way to get financing. This instrument is similar to a convertible bond, but convertible at a discount to the share price at issuance and for a fixed dollar amount rather than a specific number of shares. The further the stock falls, the more shares you get. Popular in the mid to late 1990s. Also known as toxic convertibles or death spiral convertibles.
A loan that investors give to a publicly-traded company in exchange for convertible bonds. The convertible bonds give the investor a right to buy shares in the company at a low, agreed-upon price. However, issuing these bonds creates more shares outstanding when they are converted, which results in a drop in the share price. The low share price encourages more bondholders to convert their bonds to equity, which causes a further drop in price and the process continues. Because of this disadvantage, companies only engage in death spirals if they badly need cash.