How to Recover from Corporate Failure
Staying on top is never easy. In business, challenges sometimes overwhelm even the most successful companies into the brink of ruin. These four companies have faced bankruptcy or dissolution, endured, and eventually thrived.
Twinkies are famous for their long shelf lives and delicious taste. When it disappeared from shelves in 2012 because its parent company, Hostess, went bankrupt, people missed the treat. The company went under after its bakers went on strike because their labor contracts were being renegotiated.
In 2013, billionaire investor Dean Metropoulos and equity firm Apollo Global bought Hostess for $410 million. This fund injection went to develop a more efficient delivery system and an even longer shelf life for Twinkies.
The return of Twinkies to shelves in July 2013 was received with immense enthusiasm and the warmest welcome.
By 2016, the New York Times reported that Metropoulos and Apollo Global collected a $1 billion return for their $185 million investment.
When Marvel came out of bankruptcy in 1997, the pre-production studio it created helped it commission scripts and hire key actors and directors. Marvel also received licensing fees and an increase in comic book sales after the success of movies like Blade, X-Men, and Spider-Man.
However, Marvel wanted a bigger share of their characters' business. They wanted to make their own movies. In a deal with Merrill Lynch, Marvel received $525 million to make movies. The deal had a catch that if the first four of the ten characters they were to make movies for turned out to be flops, the creditors would end up owning the movie rights to the other six.
In 2008, Marvel's first movie, Iron Man was a resounding success, earning it $600 million and getting the attention of Disney. In 2009, Disney bought Marvel for $5 billion and went on to create the Marvel Cinematic Universe with 22 films.
Because of disagreements with board members in 1985, Apple's founder, Steve Jobs left the company. Between this time and the mid 90s, the tech business began facing losses with a lot of its products. Developers began pulling support for Apple's platform as well. The company ended up with a reputation of being overpriced and under supported.
Jobs eventually returned in 1997 and made some changes. He refocused efforts and removed a number of products from production. They returned to intuitive machines that placed emphasis on product design and customer experience. Now, Apple continues to enjoy its place as a household name.
After Volkswagen's emission scandal in 2015, the car company suffered massive hits to its brand's online reputation and its vehicles' credibility. When VW admitted to the intentional fraud charges, its stock dropped by 20 percent, its market value declined by $26.8 billion, and it was forced to recall 11 million affected cars. There have even been discussions stating how VW's scandal negatively affected the whole diesel industry.
After a successful stint as Porsche's CEO, Matthias Müller, faced the emission scandal when he was named CEO of VW. During this time, as Volkswagen's share prices plummeted, their sales were still intact. With some reputation management and the media's attention shifting to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Volkswagen recovered slowly.
Fast-forward to the future, VW pledges billions of Euros into the development and mass production of electronic vehicles. The company wants electronic vehicles to account for as much as 25 percent of all its global sales by 2025. It has proven to be more invested and ambitious about electronic vehicles compared to its peers.
There is no one recipe for failure or success in the realm of business. And the ever-changing landscape means you can go from one to the other very quickly. The thing that separates the great from everyone else is their resilience.