This Is the Worst Bankruptcy in American History

To determine the nation’s 25 biggest public company bankruptcies of all time, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data on bankruptcy filings from BankruptcyData’s 2021 Bankruptcy Yearbook, Almanac & Directory and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. Public companies that have filed for Chapter 11 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy were ranked based on their total assets at the time of their bankruptcy. (Figures have not been adjusted for inflation.)

At the time they filed for bankruptcy, these companies had assets of between $25.8 billion (for The Hertz Corporation, which emerged from bankruptcy in October 2021) and a staggering $691.1 billion for the defunct New York investment bank Lehman Brothers.

Click here to read about the 25 biggest bankruptcies in American history.

Eight companies on this list filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and 2009 during the peak of the global credit crisis instigated by the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market. (Here’s a look at every year’s mortgage rate since 1972.)

Only three of these bankruptcies took place before 2000, two of them as a result of the massive savings and loan crisis of the 1980s. The earliest bankruptcy on this list was filed by Texaco, once a major U.S. global oil and gas concern that’s been reduced to a brand of fuel and some gas stations owned by Chevron. (See the price of gas every year since 1990.)

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