Investing

11 Largest Bankruptcies of All Time

Source: BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

11. PG&E
> Date of filing: April 6, 2001
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $36.15 billion

PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG) is the name of both a holding company and the utility owned by that company the supplies electricity and natural gas to northern California homes and businesses. The company was pummeled by rising costs of electricity in the summer of 2001, caused in part by price manipulation in the market. The state bailed the company out but it cost Governor Gray Davis his job and led to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s election to the post.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Thornburg Mortgage
> Date of filing: May 1, 2009
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $36.52 billion

Thornburg Mortgage was an early victim of the collapse in housing prices. It was forced to restate its fiscal 2007 results and in 2008 could not raise enough cash to meet margin calls totaling some $610 million. Thornburg never recovered after several creditors demand payments totaling nearly $950 million in March of 2008.

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9. Chrysler
> Date of filing: April 30, 2009
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $39.94 billion

The U.S. government took over ownership of Chrysler and GM in March 2009 in exchange for bailout funds to keep the two automakers open following the debacle known as the financial crisis. The feds eventually forced Chrysler to accept a merger offer from Italy’s Fiat. In all, Chrysler received $12.5 billion in federal bailouts and repaid $11.2 billion of it.

Source: GCapture / iStock

8. MF Global
> Date of filing: October 31, 2011
> Type of filing: Chapter 11
> Asset value: $40.54 billion

MF Global Holdings was the global commodities trader run by former New Jersey Governor and U.S. Senator Jon Corzine. The firm got tangled up in currency trades that spooked its customers, leading to withdrawals and a cash shortage due to over-exposure to “repo” transactions, sales of securities at a given price with an agreement to buy them back at a later date for a higher price.