Junk Bonds: The Default Dilemma

More companies are walking away from their debt

On Aug. 3, Iridium World Communications Ltd., a satellite mobile-phone company that raised more than a billion dollars of high-yield paper over the past two years, defaulted on its debt. But the event was far from isolated. Among the other high-profile companies that have recently turned their backs on debt obligations are funeral-service operator Loewen, restaurant chain Planet Hollywood, and discount clothing retailer Loehmann's.

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