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City Investing Co. - Lehman Brothers Collection

City Investing Co.

List of Deals

City Investing Company was founded by Robert E. Dowling in 1904 in New York City. It began as a small real estate office located at the corner of Columbus Avenue and 104th Street. In its first two years, City Investing bought $3.25 million in real estate in New York City, including the Coal and Iron Exchange Building in downtown Manhattan in January 1906. Later that year, City Investing began construction of a thirty-story office building in downtown New York that was described as the largest single building project ever undertaken by private capital in the city.

In the decades that followed, until the early 1950s, City Investing bought and sold properties and constructed new buildings and grew into one of the largest owners and managers of apartment and office buildings in New York.

In September 1953, the charter of City Investing was amended to broaden the types of businesses the company could engage in. It acquired Wilson Line, a company that operated excursion boats out of New York, Washington, and Boston in 1954.

In 1963 City Investing acquired an option to become a minority partner in a major real estate development in Calgary, Alberta. The site covered 100 acres owned by Canadian Pacific Railway Company.

The company acquired a majority interest in Supramar AG Switzerland, a leading company in hydrofoil boat design and development, in 1964. During the same year, City Investing also entered into a joint venture for the development of 3,300 acres in Texas City, Texas.

City Investing made a series of acquisitions that diversified the company considerably in 1967. In March it acquired all of the stock of Hayes International Corporation. In July it bought America Electric, Inc. In late 1967 it added Southern Financial Corporation and increased its stock ownership in General Development Corporation to 49 percent.

The company continued on its buying spree in 1968 by purchasing Rheem Manufacturing, ZD Products, Inc., Motel 6, Inc., and World Color Press, Inc., one of the largest printers of magazines in the United States. In December 1968, it acquired a 96.78 percent interest in Home Insurance Company.

City Investing sold French & Company, an art-antiques dealer in New York, in 1969 and acquired a 51 percent interest in Guerdon Industries.

In 1970 a subsidiary of City Investing purchased the 82,000-acre San Cristobal Ranch, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, for $6.4 million. The company also added Westamerica Securities, Inc., during 1970 and continued to add to its portfolio of companies in 1971 by purchasing Acme Industries and Wood Brothers Homes. In 1972 it acquired United States Lumber.

By the early 1970s, City Investing had developed into a conglomerate with diverse holdings in housing, manufacturing, and real estate. The acquisitions helped boost sales from $150.7 million in 1967 to $542.0 million in 1971. Net income also rose dramatically during the same period, from $6.7 million to $57.3 million.

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