As the pace of large U.S. company bankruptcies stabilizes, escalating tensions between distressed companies, private equity owners, and creditors signal more bruising Chapter 11 filings to come.

In the week ended October 17, four businesses with more than $50 million in liabilities sought protection from creditors, including Mallinckrodt Plc, which was swamped by claims it profited from the U.S. opioid epidemic. The tally is in line with recent weeks, but below the weekly average of more than five since the pandemic started.

There have been 207 bankruptcy filings year-to-date by companies with more than $50 million in liabilities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That's the most since 2009, when there were 243 in the comparable period.

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