Dividend recapitalization

Dividend recapitalization is when a firm raises debt to pay dividends to its shareholders. This can dramatically change the risk profile of a firm by increasing leverage and reducing risk for existing investors, typically private equity firms. They're generally not favorable to creditors and common shareholders because they reduce the credit quality of the company. If firms take on more debt, they need to be able to support it with additional cash flow. With too much debt, the firm may drown in debt service obligations, while equity holders have extracted cash via the dividend.

If dividend recapitalization is easy, it likely means that lenders are being less prudent. It may also be a sign of a credit bubble. This market signal warrants increased caution when approaching new investments. The less prudence others have in decision making, the more you need.