Case | HBS Case Collection | October 2007 (Revised February 2010)

Adelphia Communications Corp.'s Bankruptcy

by Stuart C. Gilson and Belen Villalonga


In 2002, a massive accounting fraud and corporate looting scandal involving the founding Rigas family made Adelphia the 11th largest bankruptcy case in history, and the third-after WorldCom and Enron-among those triggered by fraud. Set in 2005, when Adelphia is contemplating several options to emerge from bankruptcy, including a $17.6 billion cash-and-stock offer from Time Warner and Comcast, a $17.1 billion cash-only offer from Cablevision, and a $15 billion cash-only offer from KKR and Providence. The fact that both Comcast and Cablevision are themselves family-controlled and with a large wedge between the family's ownership and control rights further complicates the decision.

Keywords: Family Business; Restructuring; Crime and Corruption; Insolvency and Bankruptcy; Corporate Governance; Governance Controls; Family Ownership;


Gilson, Stuart C., and Belen Villalonga. "Adelphia Communications Corp.'s Bankruptcy." Harvard Business School Case 208-071, October 2007. (Revised February 2010.)