Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Consolidated Foods Corp. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Consolidated Foods Corp.

List of Deals

Consolidated Foods Corporation originated from the C. D. Kenny Company, a Baltimore coffee, tea, and sugar wholesaler. Nathan Cumming bought the company in 1939. Cummings then purchased several grocery firms, such as Sprague, Warner & Company, a distributor of canned and packaged foods. In 1945 the company's name was changed to Consolidated Grocers. Consolidated Grocers went public in 1946. By 1970 Cummings had supervised the purchase of over ninety companies, most family-owned businesses who consented to mergers. In 1951 Consolidated Grocers consisted of over a dozen companies. The company's sales were over $200 million by 1953. Consolidated Grocers' name was changed to Consolidated Foods Corporation ("CFC") in 1954.

In 1956 CFC bought the Kitchens of Sara Lee, a Chicago bakery founded by Charles Lubin in 1951. Sara Lee cheesecake, named after his daughter, had become the bakery's most popular product. Not long after the Sara Lee purchase, CFC bought thirty-four Piggly Wiggly supermarkets and the Omaha Cold Store Company. CFC continued a rapid acquisition pace into the 1960s, purchasing Shasta beverages, Eagle Supermarkets, L. H. Parke Company, Michigan Fruit Canners, Monarch Food Ltd., and Jonker Fris. The company went international in 1960 when it bought a controlling interest in a Venzuelan vinegar company. By 1965 the principal segments of its business were conducted through twenty major divisions and subsidiaries of which fourteen were engaged in processing, three in wholesale distribution, two in the operation of retail super markets and drug stores, and one, Chicken Delight, Inc., in the franchising business. One of the units, the Lawson Milk Company Division, processed milk, ice cream, and bakery products in its own plants and sold the products at retail in small stores that it operated.

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