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How to Handle Corporate 'Bankruptcy Rumors'

No matter what you think of Donald Trump as a president, he is good at surviving bankruptcy.

His companies filed for bankruptcy six times, yet he emerged a billionaire. Whatever his legacy may be, there is a lesson to be learned from his bankruptcy strategy.

How do you do bankruptcy? Better yet, how do you handle rumors that your company is going bankrupt?

Sears Declares Bankruptcy; CEO Contributes Toward Financing Package

When Sears was selling everything, Amazon was selling only books.

Now Amazon is selling everything, and Sears is in the bankruptcy books. It's a game-changing moment in the retail industry, especially because Sears was once the biggest retailer in the United States.

But everybody knew this day was coming, at least since everybody got a smartphone. Sears CEO Eddie Lampert, maybe not so much.

Weinstein Company Bankruptcy Ends NDAs

In what may be Hollywood's worst movie, the Harvey Weinstein story is almost over.

After the sex scandal broke out last year, the celebrity world cleaned out it's dirty closet with seemingly endless tales of sexual misconduct. The list of "Weinsteins" grew from Hollywood to Las Vegas and beyond.

Perhaps those stories will never end. But the Weinstein Company is done, having met its inevitable end in bankruptcy court. Then something unexpected happened.

Toys 'R' Us to Liquidate All U.S. Stores

Toys 'R' Us is having the post-Christmas sale that many people saw coming.

That's because the company is in bankruptcy, and there appears to be no way out except liquidation. According to reports, it is making preparations for the big sale now.

It will mark the end of a store that put toys under American Christmas trees for generations. But this Christmas, there will be no more Toys "R" Us.

Toys 'R' Us Files Bankruptcy: Retailers 'R' in Crisis

Even with the Christmas season coming, it must have been a 'Come-to-Jesus' meeting for Toys 'R' Us and its lawyers.

Kirkland and Ellis, a top ranked restructuring firm, was hired to look at options for the struggling retailer. Refinancing was on the Christmas list, but the attorneys had some bad news.

Bankruptcy was the only way out of billions of dollars in debt. The crisis was actually a long-time coming -- at least since the advent of internet companies like Amazon.

American Apparel filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning. The once-hip retailer popularized metallic spandex leggings and made-in-LA t-shirts in the early 2000s but has struggled with waning sales and tumbling stock prices. The company warned investors in August that it might not have the funds needed to meet its debt obligations.

Chapter 11 protection should allow American Apparel to keep open its Los Angeles manufacturing centers and 130 retail stores while it undergoes a debt-for-equity conversion. The company's current troubles are just one more reminder of how unfavorable market forces, poor planning, and questionable (to put it mildly) leadership can tank a promising company.

Lump-Sum Benefits May Be Removed in Bankruptcy

Dealing with the possibility of lump-sum pension benefits while going through bankruptcy is a strain on any company.

That's a substantial concern for American Airlines as it tries to find a way to emerge from bankruptcy. The company asked a federal court last month for permission to amend its pension policy and prohibit retirees from taking a lump-sum option, according to Workforce Management.

That filing came shortly after the IRS issued a new ruling on worker benefits after bankruptcy. Looks like the IRS recognized the problem pension plans can create for a company trying to re-establish itself in the market.

Bank lenders can't be put first by companies headed towards Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling has set an important new precedent bound to send ripples through the lending industry.

The decision came following a long legal battle between homebuilding company TOUSA, its hedge fund debt holders, and Citigroup. The case had been heard by a bankruptcy judge and a district court. There was $421 million hanging in the balance. In the end, the appeals court ruled the Citigroup loans incurred by TOUSA to fight off bankruptcy were avoidable as fraudulent transfers.

It was a complicated fight, to say the least, but what does it mean for companies facing Chapter 11 and creditors?

Will Mad Cow Disease in California Lead to Bankruptcies?

As reports continue to stream in regarding the California dairy cow infected with mad cow disease, American consumers are second-guessing their meat choices. The news has even caused two major South Korean stores to pull U.S. beef from their shelves. Could bankruptcy announcements follow?

While the USDA investigates the circumstances surrounding the tainted cow, the only thing certain is that the beef industry will likely suffer from the press.

But how much damage could the negative coverage do to beef producers and could it be enough to force bankruptcies?

Meat processing giant AFA Foods has filed for bankruptcy-court protection due to controversy stemming from "pink slime," a ground beef filler. The company says the pink slime bankruptcy was brought on by slumping sales.

Pink slime is ammonia-treated boneless lean beef trimmings that is often added to ground beef. It has been approved for use for years by the USDA, the Los Angeles Times reports.

However, any in-house counsel worth their salt knows that even if something is deemed okay by the government, that alone isn't reason enough to do nothing.