Living

List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies

Business and Company Info
546k views 403 items

Thinking of starting a new business? Take a lesson from these failed companies! Presented is a list of notable failed businesses. What businesses have failed? These bankrupt business failures were notable in some way for either the size of the failed company or the unexpectedness of the insolvency. Which companies have failed? These are the notable corporate bombs of the last two decades.

These companies could not last forever. But these ones definitely lacked the staying power of someone of the most famous brands in the world today. Big companies deal with failure all the time. But when their epic fails get so large that they threaten to take down the whole business, there's not much hope for a bright future.

Which currently failing businesses do you think will go the way of the dodo? Which struggling companies will rally and avoid total meltdown? Only time will tell. For now, perhaps there's something to learn from these businesses that were definitely not too big to fail.
Ranker may collect a commission from links on this page.
1
Alpa is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Alpa was formerly a Swiss camera design company and manufacturer of 35 mm SLR cameras. The current owners bought the company name after bankruptcy of the original company and the company exists ...more
2
British Satellite Broadcasting is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Media
British Satellite Broadcasting was a television company headquartered in London, which provided direct broadcast satellite television services to the United Kingdom. The company was merged with ...more
3
Drexel Burnham Lambert is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Financial Services
Drexel Burnham Lambert was a major Wall Street investment banking firm, which first rose to prominence and then was forced into bankruptcy in February 1990 by its involvement in illegal ...more
4
Miles Gordon Technology is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Miles Gordon Technology, known as MGT, was a small British company, initially specialising in high-quality add-ons for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum home computer. It was founded in June 1986 in ...more
5
MiniScribe is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
MiniScribe was a manufacturer of disk storage products, founded in Longmont, Colorado in 1980. MiniScribe designed and sold stepper motor-based hard disk drives with a large amount of onboard ...more
6
Panther is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
7
Pyramid Building Society is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
The Pyramid Building Society, the Geelong Building Society and the Countrywide Building Society together made up the Farrow Group of building societies, based in Geelong, Australia. They ...more
8
Bank of Credit and Commerce In... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
The Bank of Credit and Commerce International was a major international bank founded in 1972 by Agha Hasan Abedi, a Pakistani financier. The Bank was registered in Luxembourg with head offices ...more
9
Eastern Air Lines is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Airline
Eastern Air Lines was a major American airline from 1926 to 1991. Before its dissolution it was headquartered at Miami International Airport in an unincorporated area of Miami-Dade County, ...more
10
Emerald Software is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Video game
Emerald Software was a video game publisher founded in 1988 by two UK entertainment executives - David Martin of Martech, and Mike Dixon who previously worked with EMI and worked as the company ...more
11
Executive Life Insurance Compa... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Executive Life Insurance Company was once the largest life insurance company in California. Its financial problems and subsequent insolvency in April 1991 shocked its policyholders and the ...more
12
Lewis's is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Lewis's was a chain of British department stores that operated from 1856 to 1991, when the company went into administration. The first store, which opened in Liverpool city centre, became the ...more
13
Pan American World Airways is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Airline
Pan American World Airways, commonly known as Pan Am, was the principal and largest international air carrier in the United States from 1927 until its collapse on December 4, 1991. Founded in ...more
14
Polly Peck is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Polly Peck Textile industry, Electronics industry
Polly Peck International was a small British textile company which expanded rapidly in the 1980s and became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index before collapsing in 1990 with debts of ...more
15
Aldershot F.C. is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Aldershot F.C.
16
Brabham is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Brabham
Motor Racing Developments Ltd., commonly known as Brabham, was a British racing car manufacturer and Formula One racing team. Founded in 1960 by two Australians, driver Jack Brabham and designer ...more
17
Child World is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Retail
Child World was an American chain of toy stores that was founded in Avon, Massachusetts, in 1970. Child World once boasted 182 stores and revenues of approximately $830 million annually. From ...more
18
Sullivan Bluth Studios is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Animation
Sullivan Bluth Studios was an Irish-American animated film production company established in 1979 by animator Don Bluth. Bluth and several colleagues, all of whom were former Disney animators, ...more
19
Factory Records is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Factory Records
Factory Records was a Manchester based British independent record label, started in 1978 by Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, which featured several prominent musical acts on its roster such as Joy ...more
20
March Engineering is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
March Engineering
21
Norton Motorcycle Company is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
The Norton Motorcycle Company is a British motorcycle marque, originally from Birmingham, UK, founded in 1898 as a manufacturer of "fittings and parts for the two-wheel trade". By ...more
22
Olympia and York is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Olympia & York was a major international property development firm based in Canada. The firm built major financial office complexes like Canary Wharf in London, the World Financial Center in ...more
23
Orion Pictures is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Film
Orion Pictures Corporation is an American distribution company that produced and released films from 1978 until 1999, and was also involved in television production and syndication throughout ...more
24
Maxwell Communication Corporat... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Maxwell Communications Corporation Mass media
Maxwell Communication Corporation plc was a leading British media business. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
25
Rosso Corporation is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list List of Failed Businesses and Unsuccessful Companies
Rosso Corporation was a Japanese scale model manufacturer specializing in plastic scale kits and pre-assembled model cars. Rosso only made models in 1992 - for approximately one year.