10 companies that bounced back after bankruptcy

Hostess

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Hostess bounced back after declaring bankruptcy in 2012.

  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows companies to reorganize in order to become profitable again.
  • Companies like Hostess, Marvel, Converse, and GM have declared bankruptcy and bounced back stronger than ever.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Declaring bankruptcy doesn't necessarily signal the end of a company. With the right restructuring strategy, brands can get back on their feet and emerge from bankruptcy stronger than ever.

These 10 household names worked their way out of debt and back into the black after filing for bankruptcy. Here's how they did it.

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Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

Marvel filed for bankruptcy in 1996.

Marvel Entertainment filed for bankruptcy in 1996 due to declining comic book sales, according to The Wrap. By merging with Toy Biz and selling the film rights to characters like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, the company managed to get back on its feet. Disney went on to purchase Marvel for $4 billion.

Converse filed for bankruptcy before being bought out by Nike.

Converse filed for bankruptcy before being bought out by Nike.

Converse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001, Forbes reported. Two years later, Nike bought the brand for $1.9 billion, according to the New York Times. Nike earned $39.1 billion in 2019, a 7% increase from the previous year.

Delta Air Lines filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and spent a year and a half restructuring.

Delta Air Lines filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and spent a year and a half restructuring.

The airline exited bankruptcy in 2007 after cutting 6,000 jobs and reducing labor costs by $1 billion, Reuters reported. It also started fresh with a new logo. By maximizing use of its Atlanta hub, expanding its international reach, and cutting costs, Delta bounced back.

Six Flags filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and eliminated its debt a year later.

Six Flags filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and eliminated its debt a year later.

Six Flags eliminated $1 billion in debt by giving bondholders ownership of the company in 2010, according to Reuters. Since then, the amusement parks are doing better than ever with nine straight years of record revenue.

It seemed like Hostess was closing for good in 2012, but the beloved brand is back.

It seemed like Hostess was closing for good in 2012, but the beloved brand is back.

Hostess declared bankruptcy in 2012, and it seemed like the end of Twinkies, Ho Hos, and Ring Dings. Then in 2015, Hostess was acquired by a private equity firm which invested $375 million in the company, went public, and slashed thousands of union jobs to cut costs, bringing the classic pieces of Americana back to store shelves.

American Airlines was profitable just three years after declaring bankruptcy.

American Airlines was profitable just three years after declaring bankruptcy.

American Airlines filed for bankruptcy in 2011. After years of cutting jobs, restructuring, and merging with US Airways, the company became profitable again in 2014.

General Motors filed for bankruptcy at the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

General Motors filed for bankruptcy at the height of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

When GM filed for bankruptcy in 2009, the US government spent $50 billion to bail it out. The government ultimately lost about $11.2 billion, but bailing out GM and Chrysler saved 1.5 million jobs in the US. With all new management, GM is now one of the world's best-run car companies.

The Chicago Cubs filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

The Chicago Cubs filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

The Ricketts family acquired a 95% stake in the Chicago Cubs for $845 million in 2009. The Cubs went on to win the World Series in 2016, their first World Series victory since 1908. The Ricketts family then paid Tribune Media $107.5 million for the remaining 5% in 2019, putting the team's worth at $2.15 billion, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Betsey Johnson filed for bankruptcy and closed all 63 stores in 2012 before relaunching her fashion brand.

Betsey Johnson filed for bankruptcy and closed all 63 stores in 2012 before relaunching her fashion brand.

Betsey Johnson had planned a massive expansion during the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, the company ended up $4 million in debt. Steve Madden acquired the Betsey Johnson brand in 2010, and Johnson has since revamped her fashion line to focus on lower-priced items to be sold in department stores.

Imperial Sugar filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

Imperial Sugar filed for bankruptcy in 2001.

Imperial Sugar filed for Chapter 11 in 2001 and sold its Diamond Crystal Brands to Hormel to help offset some of its debt. Louis Dreyfus Commodities then acquired Imperial Sugar for $78 million in 2012.

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