Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Norden-Ketay Corporation - Lehman Brothers Collection

Norden-Ketay Corporation

List of Deals

The Norden-Ketay Corporation arose out of the merger of Norden Laboratories Corporation and Ketay Instrument Corporation. The deal book includes details about Ketay’s acquisition of Norden and the creation of Norden-Ketay Corporation during the age of conglomerates.

Norden Laboratories was founded in 1918. Until 1945 the company manufactured products solely for the U. S. government. The company specialized in the manufacture of bomb sights. It also made automatic pilot systems and radio-controlled target plans. The company expanded to civilian manufacturing after the Second World War, and Norden Laboratories began to focus more on producing electrical and mechanical instruments, computers, gyroscopes, navigation equipment, and radar devices. Norden conducted research and development in White Plains, New York. The company also ran factories in Milford, Connecticut. Norden’s sales in 1950 were $2 million, with sales of $13.6 million in 1954.

Ketay Instrument Corporation was formed in 1953 from three constituent companies: Ketay Manufacturing Corporation, Kinetix Instrument Company, and Ketay Research & Development Corporation, each founded after 1944. Ketay Instrument owned coal-mining properties until 1951. After the 1953 merger, Ketay Instrument focused on producing electronic-control equipment and rotation-precision instruments such as synchros and servomotors. These instruments were used mainly in guided missiles, aircraft, and other defense uses. Ketay Instrument also owned a subsidiary, the Vari-Ohm Corporation, which produced potentiometers. Ketay Instrument operated plants in New York, Los Angeles, and Long Island. It also owned a subsidiary in Pittsburgh, the Nuclear Science & Engineering Corporation, which did research into atomic energy. Ketay Instrument’s net sales in 1950 were $826,000; by 1954 they were $4.9 million.

Ketay Instrument was interested in acquiring Norden Laboratories to expand Ketay Instrument’s grasp on the market for instrumentation without new research and development on the part of Ketay Instrument. The new corporation had a staff of 1,800, with sales of $20 million.

The two companies merged via a stock swap, suggested by a director of Ketay Instrument who also worked for Lehman Brothers. Four shares of Norden stock were exchanged for each share of Ketay Instrument. The two companies continued to operate as subsidiaries of the new corporation without integration.

Norden Laboratories appears to have been acquired by Smith, Kline, and French Laboratories (now GlaxoSmithKline) in 1959 as a veterinary drug division. 

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