Skip to main content

Home  »  Business NewsSpotlightUS business news   »   Companies that came back from the brink of collapse

Companies that came back from the brink of collapse

Lego bricks

Huge companies can collapse as fast as they can grow, and it takes a huge amount of work to get them back from the brink.

Some fail and disappear into the history books, or get bought out and absorbed into other companies.

To rescue a huge company, you need brilliant products, smart marketing, and talented employees.

In some cases, a big chunk of government cash is always useful.  

Lucky for them, all the companies on this list had those things.

This allowed them them to stage some of the most dramatic corporate comebacks in history.




Lego has accumulated high praise for its toys, which promote creative play for kids.

But just over 10 years ago, the Danish company’s foundation was shaky.

It was found out it was unwittingly selling some products for less than they cost to manufacture.

New toy sets were also failing to impress fans.

So, the company simplified operations and set about recruiting designers who were passionate about all things Lego. 

This new approach was hugely successful.

New sets, particularly those linked to movies like Harry Potter, proved popular, and the Lego movie series also helped.

Lego became the world's biggest toy company two years ago.

It is now reported to be so successful it struggles with demand. 


The 2008 financial crash hit a lot of businesses hard - and coffee giant Starbucks was one of them.

It managed to avoid a bailout from the government.

Instead, it brought former CEO Howard Schultz back to return Starbucks to its former glory.

Schultz justified his no-doubt giant salary and presided over a quick turnaround.

He asked customers to email him with suggestions to improve the stores and retrained staff.

He also introduced a new advertising campaign and took social media very seriously.

Hundreds of underperforming stores did close during the period.

But Starbucks is stronger than ever and Mr Schultz has now stepped down.


Jack in the Box

An E. coli outbreak at Jack in the Box restaurants started a crisis for the fast-food chain back in 1993. 

More than 175 people were left in hospital (some with permanent kidney and brain damage).

Four children even died after eaten contaminated burgers, in what was a PR disaster for the chain.

The company had been planning an expansion, but this was put on hold.

The bad publicity around the incident inevitably led to job losses.

However, a focus on enforcing strict food safety standards, along with a clever marketing campaign, helped the chain recover.

Today, Americans can’t get enough of Jack in the Box’s food, including its “vile and amazing” tacos, of which it sells 554 million every year, according to the Wall Street Journal.


When it comes to corporate turnaround stories, there may be none more famous than Apple’s.

Incredibly, there was a time when the tech giant was reeling on the edge of bankruptcy.

20 years ago, the company was losing $1 billion a year and it was widely predicted it was about to go under.

The solution? Bring back founder Steve Jobs.

Products like the iMac and, crucially, the iPod, were launched.

This started the turnaround which saw Apple become the world's richest company.


Not a summer goes by without another Marvel blockbuster hitting the screens.

But more than two decades ago, Marvel was on the verge of bankruptcy and in desperate need of something new.

It owned a huge portfolio of world-famous comic book characters, but didn't quite know what to do with them.

It seems strange no-one could envisage the potential of making brilliant films with the likes of Spider-Man and the X-Men at the time

Rival DC Comics had cottoned to how to make millions from characters like Batman and Superman, while Marvel's previous efforts featured the dreadful flop Howard the Duck.

Looking for a new job? Find the WhatJobs Career Advice Center here

The late 90s finally saw some success in the movie world, but it wasn't until Marvel decided to launch its own studios.

This was eventually bought by Disney and now we've got a seemingly endless churn of multi-multi million Marvel titles that no doubt make huge amounts of cash for the company.

Follow us on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook

Most Read News