Notable Bankruptcies of 2009: Q1

In January I predicted (see Notable Bankruptcies of 2008) that “major” bankruptcies in 2009 would challenge the 383 mark set in 2001 (the high-water mark after the dotcom bubble). I even suggested that it was possible that we could exceed 400 “major” bankruptcies in 2009.

According to, there have been 90 “major” filings thus far in 2009. Assuming that bankruptcies are equally distributed throughout the year, this puts us on pace for 360 bankruptcies. I fully expect the filing pace to quicken as the year goes on, and as the economy continues to deteriorate.

Below you can find an updated list of what I see as the “noteworthy” bankruptcies of 2009, as reported by (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • Bearingpoint, Inc. (Consulting)
  • BI-LO, LLC (Supermarkets)
  • Charter Communications, Inc. (Telecom)
  • Chemtura Corporation (Chemicals)
  • Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc. (Recreational Vehicles)
  • Fortunoff Holdings, LLC (Retail)
  • Goody’s LLC (Retail)
  • Herbst Gaming, Inc. (Gambling)
  • Idearc (Publishing)
  • Journal Register Companies (Newspapers)
  • Lyondell Chemical Company (Chemicals)
  • Magna Entertainment (Gambling)
  • Masonite Corporation (Real Estate Manufacturing)
  • Midway Games, Inc. (Entertainment Software)
  • Monaco Coach Corporation (Recreational Vehicles)
  • Nortel Networks, Inc. (Telecom)
  • Pacific Energy (Oil & Gas)
  • Philadelphia Newspapers, LLC (Newspapers)
  • Ritz Camera Centers, Inc. (Retail)
  • Shane Company (Jewelry)
  • Silicon Graphics, Inc. (IT/Computing)
  • Silver State Bancorp (Banking)
  • Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation (Paper Manufacturing)
  • Spectrum Brands (Consumer Products)
  • Star Tribune Companies (Newspapers)
  • Sun-Times Media Group, Inc. (Newspapers)
  • Tarragon Corporation (Real Estate)
  • Trump Entertainment (Gambling)
  • WL Homes, LLC (Real Estate)
  • Young Broadcasting, Inc. (Television)

In addition to “major” bankruptcies (e.g., those firms with assets greater than $50M) tracked by Bankruptcydata, the U.S. government tracks all bankruptcy filings by type (e.g., Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13). You can find detailed bankruptcy statistics at the U.S. Courts website. Business bankruptcies for 2008 came in at 43,546, slightly shy of my 45,000 prediction; however, that still represents a 54% increase over 2007, and the greatest number of business bankruptcies since 1997.

The chart above presents annual (calendar year) business bankruptcy filings from 1990-2008 (click on the picture for a larger image). Interestingly, the number of filings had been trending steadily downward from 1990 through 2006. In 2007 the numbers started to reverse course. I expect that trend to continue in 2009, with total business bankruptcies reaching 55,000.

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One Response to Notable Bankruptcies of 2009: Q1

  1. There are a lot here. I think that will be a lot more when the government pull the plug on the stimulus.

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