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Articles by Derek Thompson

Derek Thompson is a staff editor at Atlantic Business, where he writes about economics, business and technology. Derek has also written for BusinessWeek and Slate.

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Bankruptcy expert Peter S. KaufmanPhoto: Gordian GroupThere is a reasonably high chance that BP could file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the next few years, or even months, and the result would be an “absolute horror” for the government, according to a bankruptcy expert.

Peter S. Kaufman, the President of investment bank Gordian Group and head of the firm’s Restructuring and Distressed M&A practice, told me that if he had BP’s ear, “I’d advise them to explore the option of bankruptcy.” If he had the government’s ear, he’d tell them to stop berating the company to the point where BP would find it appealing to use bankruptcy to limit its liabilities.

The specter of Chapter 11 bankruptcy terrifies Gulf residents because it could allow BP to delay, or even avoid, paying billions of dollars to businesses and individuals affected by the Gulf spill. The chapter is specifically for companies in temporary financial trouble who can reemerge as viable if they receive new funding, cancel burdensome contracts and delay, restructure, or wall off repayment obligations.

I spoke with Kaufman about t... Read more