Briggs & Stratton Files for Chapter 11

Briggs and Stratton may not have produced motorcycles in their 112-year history, but their small engines have powered countless homemade minibikes during that time. Founded by Stephen Foster Briggs and Harold M. Stratton in 1908 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the company recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Minibike powered by Briggs and Stratton. Credit:

Known primarily for producing lawn mower engines, the company produced generators during World War II, and when the post-war period produced a boom in suburban growth and the need for lawn mowers, Briggs and Stratton grew with her. Now based in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, the company’s development of the lightweight aluminum motor in 1953 helped cement its place in small motor history and its growth in the development of homemade minibikes.

Over this century, the company has engaged in a series of acquisitions, not all of which have produced the value needed, and recent plant closures have followed declining sales. Massive indebtedness and the effects of the COVID19 pandemic pushed Briggs over the edge by filing for Chapter 11, securing debtor-in-possession financing of $677.5 million from KPS Capital Partners LP.

Filed in St. Louis, Missouri, the bankruptcy filing shows debts of more than $1 billion. Todd Teske, President and CEO, said in a statement, “Over the past several months, we have explored several options with our advisors to strengthen our financial position and flexibility. The challenges we have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic have made reorganization the difficult but necessary and appropriate path to securing our business. It also helps us execute our strategic plans to bring greater value to our customers and channel partners. Throughout this process, Briggs & Stratton products will continue to be produced, distributed, sold and fully supported by our dedicated team.


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