Saturday, September 20, 2008

Largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history

At Trading Markets is a story about the largest corporate bankruptcies in U.S. history, with the recent Chapter 11 filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. at the top of the list.

At #9 on the list is my employer, Global Crossing Ltd., about which the article says:

Hurt by a sluggish demand and declining prices for bandwidth capacity, and burdened by a heavy debt load, telecom company Global Crossing Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on January 28, 2002. At the time of filing, Global Crossing had $30 billion in assets and $12 billion in debts.

In December 2003, Singapore Technologies Telemedia acquired a 61.5% equity share in Global Crossing for $250 million, paving way for the troubled telecom company to exit Chapter 11. In addition, Singapore Technologies Telemedia agreed to purchase $200 million in senior secured notes that were meant to be distributed to former creditors. Global Crossing used the $200 million cash to pay off its creditors.

The company emerged from bankruptcy on December 9, 2003. By the time, Global Crossing exited bankruptcy, its debt was reduced to a mere $200 million from $11 billion at the end of 2001, including $1 billion of Asia Global Crossing debt. As of the most-recent quarter ended June 30, 2008, Global Crossing's total debt was $1.45 billion and for the past 52-weeks, the shares have been trading in the range of $14.54 - $24.75.

There's much more that could be said about that. For some of the other companies, the article reports on employee layoffs. Global Crossing went from a peak of nearly 15,000 employees down to just above 3,000, a process that was painful for both those who were laid off and those who remained and had to pick up the slack. The process was much-needed, however, and forced consolidation of acquired assets that had been operating in separate silos with separate management structures, eliminated many middle management positions, saw the departures of almost all senior management, and resulted in improved network performance and customer satisfaction ratings and subsequent growth in number of customers and customer traffic on the network. Global Crossing remained a tier 1 network provider through the bankruptcy, and is now #3 on Renesys' list of the top 25 Internet service providers by customer base.

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