By Douglas A. McIntyre
Many American companies are lauded for their rapid ascents to greatness -- firms that go in a short time from minor players to industry leaders, renowned for innovation, phenomenal growth, and soaring share prices. Think Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL), for example.
Then at the other end of the spectrum are the well-known firms that crater, going fairly rapidly from industry stalwarts to crippled, bankrupt or entirely gone. Recent additions to that list have included (the parent of American Airlines), Borders, and Eastman Kodak.
Somewhere in the middle fall the companies that were once leaders in their industries but have fallen hopelessly behind. They may remain in business for years or even decades after their best days. Their executives will struggle to find better strategies, and often their boards seek new management. But, really, their chances to engineer turnarounds have passed. Competitors have taken too much market share; their products and services are no longer in demand.
24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of these companies that won't be making comebacks -- names that you know well, but that will never be leaders again.
How they were picked: 24/7 Wall St. examined companies, mostly in the S&P 500, that have lost most of their market share, suffered sharp share price erosion, and posted sharp earnings declines. Almost all have lost money recently. Each has seen a more than 50% drop in share price in the last five years. Each has powerful competitors that have built market share advantages or moats around their businesses that are nearly impossible to overcome.