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US bankruptcy count picks up momentum amid pandemic, grows by 29 in last 2 weeks

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US bankruptcy count picks up momentum amid pandemic, grows by 29 in last 2 weeks

Corporate bankruptcies in the U.S. continue to pile up amid the coronavirus pandemic with the pace of filings picking up extra momentum in the last two weeks, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.

Twenty-nine companies joined the list of new filings between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1. This surpasses the number of bankruptcies during any comparable two-week period since July 27 through Aug. 9, when filings numbered 31.

As of Nov. 1, a total of 556 companies have gone bankrupt this year, trailing the full-year 2019 count by just 23 companies and exceeding the number of filings during any comparable period since 2010.

Market Intelligence's analysis is limited to public companies or private companies with public debt where either assets or liabilities at the time of the bankruptcy filing are at least $2 million. Private companies without public debt must report at least $10 million in either assets or liabilities at the time of filing.

Companies that entered bankruptcy proceedings in the last two weeks include oil field services company Pacific Drilling SA, online fraud prevention company NS8 Inc., mall owner CBL & Associates Properties Inc. and Rubio's Restaurants Inc., which specializes in coastal cuisine. Three companies — Pacific Drilling, CBL & Associates Properties and Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust — reported more than $1 billion in liabilities in their bankruptcy filings during the period.

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Pacific Drilling filed a Chapter 11 petition on Oct. 30 and signed a restructuring support agreement with a group of the largest holders of its outstanding bond debt. The restructuring aims to help eliminate the company's bond debt, which is about $1.1 billion.

Las Vegas-based NS8, which claimed liabilities of at least $100 million, filed for bankruptcy Oct. 27.

The company's Chapter 11 petition came more than a month after co-founder and former CEO Adam Rogas was arrested and charged with fraud by federal prosecutors. The U.S. SEC has also charged Rogas with defrauding investors by falsely claiming millions of dollars in revenue. In its bankruptcy filing, NS8 said Rogas "had intentionally and grossly misstated its revenue, gross margin, and the extent and profitability of NS8's operations," throughout the company's history.

Editor's note: This Data Dispatch is updated on a biweekly basis and the last edition was published Oct. 20. Market Intelligence may remove companies from this list if it discovers that their total assets and liabilities do not meet the threshold requirement for inclusion. Click here to download the charts.

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