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As borrowing costs plunge for the highest-quality companies, there’s a growing incentive for riskier businesses like fast-food chains to mortgage virtually all their assets.

Franchised companies like burger restaurant Jack in the Box Inc. and massage provider Massage Envy are increasingly selling unusual bonds backed by most of their business. By pledging key assets like royalties, fees, and intellectual property to bondholders, companies can win investment-grade credit ratings on their debt and slash their financing costs, making their bonds higher quality even if their overall companies are still relatively risky.

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