I examine the effect of credit default swaps (CDSs) on the restructuring of distressed firms. Theoretically, I show that if bondholders are insured with CDSs, the participation rate in a restructuring decreases. Using a sample of distressed exchange offers, I estimate that the participation rate is 29% lower if the firm has CDSs traded on its debt, compared to an unconditional mean of 54%. I use the introduction of the Big Bang protocol as a natural experiment. The results suggest that firms with CDSs find it difficult to reduce debt out-of-court, which is inefficient because it increases the likelihood of future bankruptcy.