2010’s Biggest Corporate Casualties

With thanks to Yahoo Finance for the inspiration, here are the biggest corporate casualties of 2010. A bunch of them are automobile lines as a result of this thing called a recession:

Here is the list that meant something to me. If I missed some, please let me know.

A&P. This grocery chain declared bankruptcy in December.

American Media. The publisher of such gossip rags as the Star and National Enquirer, saw a huge hit resulting from the prevelance and quickeness of information in the Internet (Hello, TMZ.com). By November 2010, American Media had a debt load seven times the value of the company, which drove it into bankruptcy.

Blockbuster. This movie-rental chain failed to notice the future happening all around it. While Blockbuster was doubling down on retail stores and dunning its customers with loathsome late fees, Netflix wooed millions of movie fans by mailing them DVDs and offering streaming video over the Web, and Redbox set up convenient kiosks offering overnight movies for a buck. No wonder Blockbuster declared bankruptcy in September.

Hummer. Cool in the early 2000s, 2008 saw the beggining of the end for this brand when oil-prices began to spike. Hummers were looked upon as evil, and the end came after parent firm General Motors declared bankruptcy in 2009.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). This studio’s archives include classics like The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Zhivago, and Rocky, but a dearth of recent hits–plus debt piled on when a group of private investors bought the studio in 2005–led to a much-anticipated bankruptcy filing in November. MGM should be back on its feet by early 2011.

Mercury. Parent company Ford Motor has turned itself around and become nicely profitable, but it’s not bringing the middling Mercury brand along with it. The aging Mercury got sandwiched between the mainstream Ford lineup and the Lincoln luxury division, with Ford deciding two nameplates was enough. Since most Mercury models were glorified Fords anyway, few car buffs will miss it, but my wife misses her Cougar.

Movie Gallery, which ran Hollywood Video and was once the 2nd largest video-rental chain in the US, first filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2008, then filed again in February 2010 when its restructuring plan failed to gain traction, resulting in all 2400 US outlets being closed and 19,000 workers being laid off.

Newsweek. The Washington Post, which had long owned Newsweek–and lost millions on it in recent years–sold the title to 91-year-old billionaire Sidney Harman. for $1.00 in August.

Oriental Trading Company, declared bankruptcy in August, after writing off more than $400 million in debt.

Pontiac. It was once one of GM’s marquis divisions, with must-have muscle cars like the GTO and the Trans Am. But GM could never revive Pontiac’s faded glory, and when the automaker was forced to shrink following its 2009 bankruptcy, Pontiac got the boot.

Saturn, a newer GM division, and my first car, closed as well.

Yellow Pages. Is anyone surprised by this? I have 2 of them holding up my monitor, and I use http://www.Canada411.ca to look up phone numbers.

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One thought on “2010’s Biggest Corporate Casualties

  1. I’m not surprised about Blockbuster. They probably saw RedBox as just a direct to DVD and older movies kiosk, which is was at first, but as I’m sure it gained more money it was able to get the bigger titles. Yellow pages as well. I toss mine in the recycle when it shows up on my door.

    I did not know that about Newsweek though. They went thru a big revamp a year ago I think…

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