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PG&E could join Enron, Lehman Brothers in debt infamy

Data: New Generation Research, hand-collected court data from mid-1980s. PG&E's assets as of September quarterly filing; Note: All assets in 2018 dollars Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios Visuals

If PG&E follows through on plans to file for bankruptcy before the end of the month, it will be the biggest utility bankruptcy since 2001...which was the first time PG&E filed for bankruptcy.

By the numbers: PG&E's planned filing would be the ninth largest bankruptcy since at least the mid-1980s — falling just below the likes of Lehman Brothers, WorldCom and General Motors.

  • Bonus stat: It's incredibly rare that companies default within one year of holding an investment grade credit rating, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch notes.
  • If PG&E does file for bankruptcy, they will become a part of a super exclusive "Failing Angels" club — companies that fall from investment grade, skip the high yield or junk market and go straight to default.
  • The other members of the "Failing Angels" club: Enron, Lehman and MF Global.

Go deeper: Where Toys "R" Us ranks among retail bankruptcies