Chesapeake Energy Corp. spearheaded the shale revolution a decade ago that ushered in an era of U.S. energy independence, embodying a period of corporate extravagance as it rose to become a $35 billion company.

Now the indebted group is on the brink of a bankruptcy that would make it the biggest casualty of the turmoil sparked by coronavirus that is ravaging America’s oil and gas sector.

Its shares have plunged 90% since January, taking its market capitalization to just $130 million. Bond markets are pricing in default. A reverse stock split in April raised fears of imminent insolvency.

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