It’s 2am and as I was updating The Rock Father™ facebook page, I happened to see a post in my feed from The Baby Gizmo Company stating that Maclaren USA was going under. Specifically, that Maclaren (famous for inventing the Umbrella stroller) had quietly filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Liquidation back in December. Bloomberg Businessweek confirms that ”on December 29, 2011, American Baby Products, Inc. filed a voluntary petition for liquidation under Chapter 7 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Connecticut.” Maclaren USA is a “DBA” of American Baby Products, Inc. but this story gets a lot more interesting.
Greg Allen of Daddytypes.com did a great job of digging up some captivating dirt on the company.
Apparently, American Baby Products, Inc. spent over a year moving assets around and letting creative accounting starve off the Maclaren brand, presumably to avoid paying out settlements based on a 2009 stroller recall that was prompted by some little ones getting pinched – some with fingers amputated! – in a poorly-designed hinge.
Maclaren, who is still somehow selling strollers at major retailers far and wide, reportedly held under $60K in assets, but had over $15M in liability – much of which was owed to unsecured creditors that happened to be the owner of the company or some related businesses. Shady as Hell.
My take after looking at all the evidence is that we’re seeing another example of what’s wrong with Corporate America and our Legal System. As confirmed by the Real Estate and Wall Street crashes, it’s all a game – and no matter who wins, the consumer always loses.