No. 1: Lehman Brothers
Company value at time of bankruptcy: $690 billion
For many investors and businessmen, the day Lehman Brothers collapsed is one of those days that forever will be etched in memory. In the wee hours of Sept. 15, 2008, after frantic meetings all weekend long, the storied financial firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection despite its mammoth $690 billion value. The root cause of the Lehman bankruptcy is clear — kinky derivatives, mortgage-backed securities and leveraged debt that exposed the firm to mammoth losses. But what remains a big unknown is why, after bailing out Bear Stearns, the government made a controversial decision to let the giant investment bank crumble.
Jeff Reeves is the editor of InvestorPlace.com. Write him at editor@investorplace??.com, follow him on Twitter via @JeffReevesIP and become a fan of InvestorPlace on Facebook. Jeff Reeves holds a position in Alcoa, but no other publicly traded stocks.