http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN1526416120100515 I have quite limited knowledge of how going public works. But I have always wondered what happens to common shareholders when a company (like GM) goes bankrupt? I remember GM's last days, when it was being traded for 2-3 cents/share. So what happened to those who owned those shares and kept them? Do the shares automatically expire when a company files for bankruptcy or not? My understanding is that a public company belongs to nobody but to everyone who owns the shares. So when it is about to file for bankruptcy and its shares are being traded for a penny or two, would that not mean that whatever assets is left now(Office buildings, manufacturing facilities, tools, equipment....whatever belongs to the firm) have to be shared among the shareholders, because they are in fact the owners, right? I have a few more questions but will save them for after you guys shed some light on this. Thanks.