5 beloved brands that were brought back from the brink of death

iron man black widow marvelKamran Jebreili/AP Images

In the business world, the road to success isn't always easy.

For some brands, it takes getting pushed to the brink of extinction in order to truly rally.

Read more: These 12 retailers have filed for bankruptcy or liquidation in 2019

Business Insider compiled a list of household names that nearly went out of business, only to rebound in a spectacular fashion.

Here are a few brands that bounced back after nearly going out of business, from a globally popular toy brand to a classic shoe business:
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Lego

Lego

This beloved Danish brand almost went to pieces earlier in the 2000s, when it came close to bankruptcy.

In 2004, new CEO Jorgen Vig Knudstorp began putting things back together by focusing on enhancing the company's engagement with fans and doubling down on fiscal responsibility.

In fiscal year 2018, Lego reported a revenue of 36.4 billion in Danish krone.

Marvel

Marvel

About a decade before Marvel launched its mega-hit crossover film franchise with the 2008 movie "Iron Man," this venerable entertainment company appeared to be getting a little rusty.

The Wrap reported that Marvel Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in 1996 after getting clobbered by declining comic book sales. The company managed to power up by merging with American toy company Toy Biz and selling off the rights to popular characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.

Then, in 2009, the Walt Disney Company acquired Marvel for $4 billion.

FedEx

FedEx

FedEx is known for delivering parcels overnight, but the company itself certainly wasn't an overnight success.

In fact, the delivery business almost stalled out for good in its early years.

FedEx launched in 1971, initially providing services to 35 cities. Within two years, the company was deep in debt. Founder Frederick Smith became so desperate that he bet the last of his company's money on blackjack in Las Vegas.

FedEx's success was in the cards, though, and Smith managed to turn an initial $5,000 into $27,000, staving off the company's closure.

Today, FedEx boasts a market cap of over $42 billion.

Airbnb

Airbnb

Airbnb is all about connecting travelers with an online marketplace for securing lodging. But setting up the company didn't prove to be a relaxing getaway for the founders. The fledgling startup hit a snag in 2008, when a total of 15 angel investors rejected the idea.

The site was failing to draw in revenue until the founders began printing cereal boxes depicting then-presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain around Denver at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Airbnb founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk were invited to join the selective startup accelerator Y Combinator, and the rest is history.

Converse

Converse

The once-dominant shoe brand Converse was starting to look a bit scuffed by the time the early 2000s rolled around. In 2001, the company even filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Forbes reported. Nike ended up acquiring the brand for $1.9 billion two years later, according to the New York Times.

As of June, Converse generated quarterly revenues of $491 million, flat from the year before. But there's no indication that Nike is chucking out this beloved brand anytime soon.

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