Home Business 7 Famous Bankruptcies Around the World

7 Famous Bankruptcies Around the World


Bankruptcy is a very harsh word to have to say, but it gets it’s own fair share of use on a daily basis. The fact is that bankruptcy can be a reality for anyone at any time, whether it be a continent spanning company, or a small town, family owned business. It can also apply to the very top of the famous celebrity A-list, or a common person working the standard 9-5 job. Either way, bankruptcy can easily sneak up on you.

Below is a list of famous bankruptcies around the world:

1. Toys R’ Us (Bankruptcy in 2018)

Toys R’ Us could be one of the most recent and famous bankruptcies in prominent news headlines. Once an iconic retail chain that catered to children across the world, Toys R’ Us had accumulated an estimated $4.9 billion in debt. Founded in 1948, the retailer was met with incredible success in the decades that followed.

By Mike Kalasnik // Wikimedia Commons

However, there were many factors that stacked the odds against the company, one of which was online retailer, Amazon. Originally filing in 2017, the company continued to fight to maintain business as usual until officially closing 900 stores across America and the UK in 2018.

Unlike Blockbuster, the cautionary tale here is that sometimes a new advancement in consumer technology will simply wipe out the icons of the past out without any chance of a fight to be found, unfortunately.

2. Radio Shack (Bankruptcy in 2017)

By Eduardo P // Wikimedia Commons

In March of 2017, the tech chain required bankruptcy protection for the second time in two years. The decision was made to close 200 stores, while it’s partner business, Sprint, opted turn several hundred of the remaining stores into Sprint-only businesses. This was after Sprint partnered with Radioshack after the first bankruptcy filing of 2015.

3. Blockbuster (Bankruptcy in 2010)

Yet another cautionary tale of companies not growing with the times, Blockbuster was once a beloved staple of weekend entertainment. The movie rental business has been dominated in recent years by the likes of Redbox and various streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu.

From Stu pendousmat // Wikimedia Commons

With so many heavy hitters offering a faster, more convenient, and sometimes even cheaper way to enjoy films at home, the rental chain filed for bankruptcy in 2010. While a small handful of Blockbuster Videos can still be found, the company is clearly a mere echo of its former ‘90s glory.

4. Kodak (Bankruptcy in 2012)

Founded in 1888, this company was the face of photography for many people over the decades. While they enjoyed great success throughout the 1900s, they became something of a cautionary tale regarding how a company must grow with the times to maintain success. While the company focused mainly on classic film based cameras, they didn’t quite catch on with the trend of digital cameras as quickly as their competitors did.

From Uberprutser // Wikimedia Commons

In January of 2012, Kodak filed for bankruptcy, forcing them to discontinue certain products and to sell off various patents. In September of 2013, the company made a significant comeback, and is still in operation today.

5. Francis Ford Coppola (Bankruptcy in 1992)

After leaving his mark on film history with the ever classic The Godfather Part I & II, Francis Ford Coppola continued to direct films. Unfortunately, none of them ever reached the level of quality or acclaim that the two Godfather’s did.

From Gerald Geronimo // Wikimedia Commons

This led him to a second bankruptcy filing in 1992, with assets being counted at $52 million, and liabilities at a steep $98 million. Coppola has been known to blame a film titled “One From the Heart,” which only made $4 million over it’s run, despite costing $27 million. The director has continued to direct over the years, and now owns a winery, as well as several boutique hotels.

6. Mike Tyson (Bankruptcy in 2003)

Earning a incredible $400 million during the course of his two decade boxing career, Mike Tyson left more than a few marks on the history of Boxing. However, the former heavyweight champion lost a bout with financial troubles, leaving him filing for bankruptcy in 2003.

From Eduardo Merille // Wikimedia Commons

His debt totaled an estimated $23 million, all of which included a $9 million divorce settlement, $13.4 million to the IRS, and $4 million to British tax authorities. While those debts left him down and out over a decade ago, Tyson has continued to fight on by releasing a memoir and even staring in his very own cartoon show, among other acting gigs.

7. Meat Loaf (Bankruptcy in 1980s)

From christopher simon // Wikimedia Commons

This well-known singer filed for bankruptcy in the ‘80s following a lawsuit filed against him by his former songwriter, Jim Steinman. Said lawsuit was following a less than successful release of the album “Dead Ringer.” The last hit album released by Meat Loaf hit shelves in 1993, and he has since found success from movies, television, and even an autobiography. The former singer is now worth an estimated $25 million, showing that there are precedents for bankruptcy comebacks.


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