Wow, Meade Instruments Just Filed for Bankruptcy Protection

Meade Instruments, a company familiar to any backyard astronomer who’s drooled over their telescopes, has filed for bankruptcy. The company has fallen on hard times in recent years, as they’ve faced increasing competition. Meade also recently lost a lawsuit, which pushed them over the edge into bankruptcy.

The company is based in Irvine, California, and was founded in 1972. They started out selling small refracting telescopes. They expanded into Newtonian reflectors and Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes over the years. Now, they sell telescope models worth upwards of $10,000.

Meade is a subsidiary of Chinese company Ningbo Sunny Electronics Co. Ningbo purchased Meade in 2013. Another company, Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Ningbo, claiming that Ningbo and Meade were part of a price-fixing scheme and that they tried to force competitors out of the market. Meade and their parent company lost that lawsuit, and a jury found Meade liable for $16.8 million.

Meade has filed for bankruptcy claiming they have debts between $10 million and $50 million.

The Meade LX850 ACF. As of now, the Meade website is active and the company is still operating. Image Credit: Meade Instruments.

The life of large companies like Meade is punctuated with legal actions. They’ve scuffled in the courts with telescope maker Celestron over patent-infringement, and with other companies over claims of false-advertising.

Chapter 11 Protection gives a company an opportunity to be sold or to reorganize and restructure its debt. The goal is usually to keep the company alive and develop a plan to repay its creditors over time.

Today it was reported that Meade will try to sell itself through a court-supervised sale process. According to Bloomberg Law, Meade has reached out to Force 10 Partners, a firm specializing in “corporate restructuring,  challenged businesses, litigation, and other special situations” as they say on their website.

The exact future timeline for Meade is unclear, but on December 6th they posted this brief statement on Facebook:

“As in recent news, Meade Instruments has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection Reorganization on Dec. 4th, 2019. Please be assured that we will continue to support our products, our customers, and our network of Dealers throughout this process. Our customers will remain our highest priority. We thank you for your valued support and look forward to continuing the Meade name.”

Meade Instruments statement on Facebook.

Many people have long experience with Meade telescopes, and the company has a long history of innovation. They seem to have lots of loyal customers. Whether these legal troubles spell the end for Meade is unknown, but many of their customers are hoping they stay in business. If a new owner steps up, who knows how things might turn out.

Evan Gough

Recent Posts

This is What the Solar System Really Looks Like

At first glance, it looks like something from an alien autopsy. A strange organ cut…

14 hours ago

Beyond the Fermi Paradox V: What is the Aestivation Hypothesis?

Is it possible that the aliens are not hiding, but sleeping and waiting for the…

16 hours ago

Meteors of August: Our Guide to the 2020 Perseids

It's August and that means the Perseid meteors are inbound, starting this weekend this shower…

21 hours ago

Antarctica Is the Best Place On Earth for a Telescope, Is Also the Hardest Place to Put a Telescope

Twinkling stars might make for spectacular viewing on a hot summer’s night, but they are…

1 day ago

A Strange Planet has been Found that’s Smaller than Neptune But 50% More Massive

Astronomers have found another strange exoplanet in a distant solar system. This one's an oddball…

2 days ago

Martian Features Were Carved by Glaciers, not Flowing Rivers

Orbiters are giving us a chance to study the surface of Mars closely, and some…

2 days ago