US corporate bankruptcies at highest level since 2020, WeWork joins the list

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By Bansari Mayur Kamdar

Nov 9 (Reuters) – Bankruptcies by U.S. companies jumped amid decades-high interest rates and sticky inflation, with WeWork being the latest to succumb after grappling with expensive leases and work-from-home trends.

Chapter 11 filings in the first 10 months of 2023 have surpassed last year’s total filings, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

There were 50 corporate bankruptcy petitions in October, the data showed, bringing the year-to-date count to 561, its highest since 2020.

Four companies with over $1 billion in liabilities filed for bankruptcy last month, more than any other month this year and up from just one such filing in September, buckling under the weight of economic headwinds and a tight domestic labor market that added to the pressure on the companies.

Some notable bankruptcies in 2023 with more than $1 billion in liabilities:

Companies with over $1 billion in liabilitiesBankruptcy announcement dateReason
WeWorkNov 6The SoftBank Group-backed startup sought bankruptcy protection after its bets on companies using more of its office-sharing space soured.
Air MethodsOct 24The private equity-owned medical helicopter company filed for bankruptcy after saying its business had suffered due to rising interest rates, higher labor costs and a recent U.S. ban on “surprise” medical bills.
AkuminOct 22The radiology provider filed for bankruptcy and went private in a deal with Stonepeak Partners.
Rite AidOct 15One of the largest U.S. pharmacy retailers filed for bankruptcy as it came under pressure from lawsuits alleging that the drugstore chain helped fuel the opioid crisis in the U.S.
MVK FarmCoOct 13The largest producer of stone fruit in North America, doing business as Prima Wawona, filed for bankruptcy, citing significant headwinds, including increased costs and weather-related impacts.
SmileDirectClubSept 29The dental products maker voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 and said it is seeking more capital through a transaction where its founders have committed to invest at least $20 mln.
AmyrisAug 9The synthetic biotech company filed for bankruptcy and is planning to sell its consumer brands to improve the company’s liquidity position.
Yellow CorpAug 6The trucking firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would wind down, after struggling with a mounting debt load.
Voyager Aviation HoldingsJuly 27The commercial aircraft leasing company sought bankruptcy protection, concurrently announcing a sale agreement with an affiliate of Azorra Aviation Holdings.
Cyxtera TechnologiesJune 4The data-center operator filed for bankruptcy as it struggles to pay down debt and faces funding crunch.
PGX HoldingsJune 4PGX filed for bankruptcy as it lost a court case brought by the CFPB over its billing for credit repair services.
IncoraJune 1The aerospace supplier, formed through the merger of Wesco and Pattonair, filed for bankruptcy due to depressed demand for aircraft maintenance and litigation over its efforts to restructure its debt outside of bankruptcy.
Diebold NixdorfJune 1The ATM maker filed for bankruptcy, saying it had reached an agreement to reduce the company’s overall debt by $2.1 billion.
Envision HealthcareMay 15The KKR & Co Inc-backed medical staffing firm filed for bankruptcy, impacted by high labor costs and a long battle with insurer UnitedHealth Group.
Kidde-FenwalMay 14The unit of Carrier Global that specializes in fire control systems, filed for bankruptcy, as it buckled under the weight of lawsuits alleging that “forever chemicals” in its firefighting foam products have contaminated water sources around U.S. airports and military bases.
Monitronics InternationalMay 14The home security systems provider with more than $1 billion in debt due in 2024 filed for bankruptcy a second time to help implement its restructuring.
Whittaker, Clark & DanielsApril 26The talc supplier filed for bankruptcy, citing a “deluge” of lawsuits alleging its talc products caused asbestos exposure and cancer.
Bed Bath & BeyondApril 23Bed Bath & Beyond filed for bankruptcy after the home goods retailer failed to secure funds to stay afloat.
LTL ManagementApril 4The Johnson & Johnson talc unit filed for bankruptcy for a second time with the intent to present a reorganization plan with a proposed $8.9 billion settlement to a judge as soon as May 14.
SVB Financial GroupMarch 17SVB Financial Group filed for bankruptcy to seek buyers for its assets, days after its former unit Silicon Valley Bank was taken over by U.S. regulators.
Diamond Sports GroupMarch 14Diamond Sports Group, which provides local television broadcasts for nearly half of NBA, NHL and MLB games, filed for bankruptcy, caught between expensive broadcast rights agreements and sports viewers’ cord-cutting habits.
AvayaFeb 14Avaya filed for bankruptcy and secured a financing of $780 million as it restructures its business.
Serta Simmons BeddingJan 23Mattress maker Serta Simmons Bedding filed for bankruptcy in an effort to eliminate most of its debt.
Party City HoldcoJan 17The party supplies retailer filed for bankruptcy, as persistently high inflation takes a toll on consumer spending.

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