Business, Legal & Accounting Glossary
A company that is insolvent but continues to operate. This may be the case before a bailout or restructuring occurs.
The term “zombie” refers to a company that is insolvent or facing bankruptcy, but is still operating as it awaits the subsequent merger or foreclosure. A zombie, in the traditionally haunting sense, is a living corpse; a zombie is associated with “the living dead.” A zombie company is considered to be in a figurative state of “living but dead” because it is not expected to continue operating, despite its ability to do so now. A zombie company may be in or close to filing for bankruptcy – Chapter 11 – which allows a company to continue operating while it restructures its debt. A zombie company is typically considered a risky investment, so investors may choose to avoid a corporate zombie just as they would avoid a supernatural zombie. Of course, as with many investments, the higher the risk, the higher the potential payoff.
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This glossary post was last updated: 4th February, 2020