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Debtor in Possession (DIP)


Debtor in Possession (DIP) refers to a company or individual who has filed for bankruptcy protection but still retains control and possession of their assets during the reorganization process. This allows the debtor to continue their business operations while restructuring their debts under the supervision of the court and appointed trustee. As a DIP, the debtor is granted specific responsibilities and powers, such as obtaining credit and entering contracts, to facilitate the successful reorganization of their finances.


The phonetic pronunciation of “Debtor in Possession (DIP)” is:DEB-ter in puh-ZESH-uhn (DIP)

Key Takeaways

  • Debtor in Possession (DIP) refers to a debtor who retains control of their business operations and assets while undergoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.
  • A DIP may receive financing known as DIP financing, which is granted on a priority basis to keep the business operating, meet payroll, and cover other critical expenses.
  • Debtors in Possession are subject to significant oversight by bankruptcy courts, creditors, and the Office of the United States Trustee, who monitor their financial activities and ensure compliance with bankruptcy laws.


The business/finance term Debtor in Possession (DIP) is significant as it plays a crucial role during a company’s bankruptcy process, specifically under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. DIP allows the insolvent company to maintain control of its assets and operations while undergoing reorganization, instead of relinquishing control to a trustee. This benefits the company by fostering an environment that facilitates restructuring and enables the company to negotiate with creditors and stakeholders in an attempt to emerge from bankruptcy as a healthy and sustainable business entity. DIP is essential for maintaining the confidence of customers, vendors, and employees, while also providing the opportunity for the debtor to access special financing arrangements to support the company’s restructuring and revival efforts.


The purpose of Debtor in Possession (DIP) primarily revolves around providing a lifeline to a financially distressed company navigating the waters of bankruptcy, often under Chapter 11 in the United States. When a firm successfully files for bankruptcy protection, it is granted the opportunity to continue operating while reorganizing its financial obligations to effectively revitalize its financial health. As a Debtor in Possession, the company retains control of its assets, allowing management to create and implement the strategies necessary for the successful restructuring and continued operation of the business. This period is pivotal, as it enables the firm to ultimately emerge from bankruptcy as a more sustainable and thriving enterprise.

The use of Debtor in Possession financing in such cases provides the indispensable financial resources required to fund corporate activities during this period of restructuring. DIP financing often takes precedence over existing loans and credit facilities, and, as such, lenders that extend these loans are granted priority in repayment terms. This makes DIP financing an attractive proposition for lenders who are interested in exposure to distressed credits while ensuring a well-secured position in the capital structure.

For the companies in distress, DIP financing offers them a critical lifeline to maintain liquidity, pay employees, and suppliers, while rolling out a thorough business reorganization strategy, ensuring that the company not only survives potentially dire circumstances but evolves to emerge stronger and more resilient.


1. Chrysler’s DIP Financing during the 2009 Financial Crisis: In 2009, Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after facing substantial financial difficulties due to the global financial crisis. As a debtor in possession (DIP), Chrysler obtained $4.1 billion in DIP financing from the U.S. government to maintain its operations and restructure its assets. This allowed the company to continue to pay its employees and suppliers, helping it emerge from bankruptcy in partnership with Italian automaker Fiat.

2. Toys “R” Us Inc.’s DIP Financing in 2017: Toys “R” Us, a well-known toy and baby products retail company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2017 after struggling with mounting debts and changing consumer behavior. As a debtor in possession, Toys “R” Us secured $3.1 billion in DIP financing from a group of lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, to help manage its operations and inventory during the holiday season. Unfortunately, the company was unable to achieve a successful restructuring and eventually liquidated its operations in 2018.

3. PG&E Corporation DIP Financing in 2019: Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a California-based energy utility, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2019 in response to massive financial liabilities arising from wildfires in California. As a debtor in possession, PG&E secured $5.5 billion in DIP financing from a consortium of banks led by JPMorgan, Bank of America, Barclays, and Citigroup. This financing allowed PG&E to continue providing essential services to its customers and manage its operations during the bankruptcy process. The company emerged from bankruptcy in 2020, after implementing a comprehensive restructuring plan.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

What is a Debtor in Possession (DIP)?

A Debtor in Possession (DIP) is a term used in bankruptcy law to describe a person or entity that has filed for bankruptcy protection but still maintains possession and control of their assets as they go through the bankruptcy process. This usually happens during a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding, allowing the debtor to restructure their financial obligations and eventually emerge from bankruptcy.

What are the rights and responsibilities of a Debtor in Possession?

A Debtor in Possession holds the same rights and responsibilities as a bankruptcy trustee. They have a fiduciary duty to protect and manage the debtor’s estate, which involves creating a reorganization plan, reporting financial status to the court and creditors, and paying allowable expenses. DIPs are also responsible for regaining profitability and paying their debts through the bankruptcy process.

How is a Debtor in Possession different from a bankruptcy trustee?

While both the DIP and a bankruptcy trustee have similar roles in managing the debtor’s estate, the main difference is that the DIP is the actual debtor (individual or company) who continues to control and operate the business. In contrast, a bankruptcy trustee is a court-appointed third party who takes control of the debtor’s estate.

Can a Debtor in Possession obtain new financing during bankruptcy?

Yes, a Debtor in Possession can secure new financing, known as DIP financing or post-petition financing. This type of financing allows the debtor to continue their business operations and restructure their debt. DIP financing often receives higher priority over existing debts and is repaid before other unsecured claims, making it a more attractive option for lenders during the bankruptcy process.

When does a Debtor in Possession relinquish control of their assets?

A Debtor in Possession will generally relinquish control of their assets when the bankruptcy process is complete and the reorganization plan is approved or if the court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to take over in cases of fraud, incompetence, or mismanagement. The court may also convert the case to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which case a trustee will be appointed to liquidate the debtor’s assets.

How long does a Debtor in Possession remain in control during Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

The duration of a Debtor in Possession’s control varies depending on the complexity of the bankruptcy case and the reorganization plan. The debtor typically has 120 days to propose a plan under Chapter 11, known as the “exclusivity period,” but this period may be extended by the court if deemed necessary. Once the reorganization plan is approved and confirmed, the DIP is relieved of its duties and the restructured company continues to operate under its new terms.

Related Finance Terms

  • Bankruptcy reorganization
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy
  • DIP financing
  • Creditors’ committee
  • Automatic stay

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