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ABSTRACT

This article examines corporate debt values and capital structure in a unified analytical framework. It derives closed-form results for the value of long-term risky debt and yield spreads, and for optimal capital structure, when firm asset value follows a diffusion process with constant volatility. Debt values and optimal leverage are explicitly linked to firm risk, taxes, bankruptcy costs, risk-free interest rates, payout rates, and bond covenants. The results elucidate the different behavior of junk bonds versus investment-grade bonds, and aspects of asset substitution, debt repurchase, and debt renegotiation.