One of the facts of life is that everyone can – and will – make mistakes in life. Most of these mistakes are small and probably won’t amount to anything, but sometimes these mistakes are so big that we need a brand new start. But what area of life could be handled so badly that you’d need a fresh start just to get through things? Finance.
More specifically, filing for bankruptcy. People file for bankruptcy all the time, but what we’re here to see are the corporations that have made some big missteps (multiple in fact), and have somehow still came out okay.
What’s unfortunate, however, is that even the biggest companies sometimes need to file for bankruptcy, despite having had great success prior to it. But the reality is that when times change or you simply mess up, you sometimes can’t keep up. And when that happens, you fall flat on your face.
Luckily though, most large companies don’t experience the effects of bankruptcy (let alone two or more, like those listed here), making this list very short.
This list also goes to show that bankruptcy doesn’t mean the end of the world, and that it’s very possible to pick yourself up off your feet and carry on. After all, that’s what the businesses on this list have done, even after multiple bankruptcies.
Along those lines, it’s interesting to take a look at these businesses and see just how they’re doing after suffering through these multiple bankruptcies. The last company in the countdown seems to have the art of overcoming bankruptcies down to a pat, and is proof that even the most inept business owners can find success.
5. Eddie Bauer
Eddie Bauer is a rugged, outdoorsy clothing company established in 1920. Originally Eddie Bauer repaired tennis rackets, but eventually the company turned into the general sports gear store that we’re familiar with today. A neat fact about this corporation is that it designed a valuable piece of army gear, the quilted down jacket, making it very popular with the military.
Throughout Eddie Bauer’s history, the company twice filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy; once in 2003 and again in 2009. The first time, it had a massive debt load, so its only option was to file for bankruptcy. The second time, it was struggling against competitor Abercrombie & Fitch, both selling trendy clothing for youth.
After re-emerging from the second bankruptcy, Eddie Bauer went back to its roots and is now selling the outdoor gear that made it so successful to begin with.
Today, it’s a highly popular clothing store and can be found in malls and outlets everywhere.
4. Schwinn Bicycle Company
Back in 1895 when the Shcwinn Bycycle Company was founded, America was having a bit of a biking craze. In fact, biking was so popular that 30 factories were producing thousands of bikes non-stop to meet the American bike demand.
Over the years, the company has sold several different types of bikes, including the Sting-ray, Ten Speed, and the BMX line. All this just to keep up with the ever changing biking fads that occur within the biking community.
In 1992, Schwinn Bikes went bankrupt and was bought out by the Zell/Chilmark Fund. Nine years later it found itself bankrupt once more, and was purchased at an auction by Pacific Cycle.
Eventually though, it were absorbed by Dorel industries and has since stabilized.
Nearly everybody in America has tasted a Hostess product at least once in their lives. The company is behind some of the most beloved snack cakes around, including Twinkies and Sno Balls.
But despite having such iconic (and delicious!) snacks in its lineup, Hostess has filed for bankruptcy twice: once in 2004 and again 2012.
After reopening, the demand for hostess products was enormous and exceeded the company’s expectations, amazingly saving the new Hostess Brands from going the way of the old Hostess Brands. It seems people don’t want these tasty treats to go away anytime soon.
2. Continental Airlines And United Airlines
Bankrupted 3 Times (Combined)
These two decided to join forces after they both experienced two separate bankruptcies.
The first company, Continental Airlines, went bankrupt twice; once in 1983, and again 1990. The first time was the result of being unable to negotiate lower pay rates with labor unions. And the second occurred because the CEO Frank Lorenzo put all his time and energy into a different airline, and economic factors such as the increasing cost of jet fuel.
The second airline, United, also had to file for bankruptcy. They did so in 2002 and were stuck in bankruptcy limbo until 2006. This was due to the unfortunate events of 9/11, which reduced air travel at the time considerably, as well as other uncontrollable economic events (increasing oil and labor costs).
In 2010, the two airlines merged to form United Continental Holdings. The merger paid off though, as today they have over 10 hubs that serve up to 370 destinations worldwide.
1. Trump Entertainment Resorts (Formerly Trump Organization)
Bankrupted Four times
Trumps is a big name in the world of business, and even people unfamiliar with said world have of heard Donald Trump in one way or another (remember “The Apprentice”?). Even more surprising is the idea that the famous Trump Organization has had to file for bankruptcy over four times.
The first time was for Trump’s 3rd casino, the Taj-Mahal. It went bankrupt in November of 1991, and re-emerged only a month later after some restructuring took place. The experience cost Trump his yacht and airplane, used to make the necessary payments.
Then the Trump Plaza Hotel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, with Trump forfeiting 49% ownership to creditors in exchange for giving up his paid position as chief executive and a more lenient payment plan.
In November of 2004, Trump once again filed for bankruptcy. In order to cut losses, the banks decided to work with Trump and restructure his debt so he could continue to pay off his massive debt. Trump Organization was renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts after recovering.
And once more, in 2009, Trump Entertainment Resorts again filed for bankruptcy. Unable to make a bond payment and unable to get his board to agree to a repayment plan, he resigned from his position and now only owns 10% of Trump Entertainment Resorts.
Despite Trumps Entertainment Resorts filing for bankruptcy these four times, somehow the corporation has turned what is normally associated with failure (bankruptcy) into something that simply lets them restructure into a state where there’s no problems. I guess the man behind it all (Donald Trump) is as business savvy as his persona leads us to believe. Then again, that doesn’t explain why he bankrupted the business in the first place.
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