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Wagner Electric Corporation - Lehman Brothers Collection

Wagner Electric Corporation

List of Deals

The founding of Wagner Electric Corporation, a manufacturer of electric motors and equipment based in St. Louis, dates to 1891. It was. In the early 1920s Wagner developed a new electric motor called the Fynn-Weichsel Motor, which was promoted as a machine that would provide savings in excess of $100 million per year to the electric power industry due to its efficiency.

Wagner survived during the Great Depression yet experienced an erratic earnings history. In 1929 Wagner reported a profit of $1.9 million. The following year, in 1930, income fell to $813,362. In 1931 Wagner earned even less with a profit of $348,748. This was followed by a loss of $66,349 in 1933 and then a gain in 1934 of $314,330. Towards the end of the 1930s, the company improved, showing profits of $1.4 million in 1936, $1.6 million in 1937, but then earning only $267,657 in 1938. That year, Wagner was employing 5,000.

Wagner manufactured electrical machinery for the war during the 1940s.

Wagner posted the highest sales in its history at $90.7 million in 1952, up 12 percent from the previous year. Wagner went public in 1954 with an initial public offering of 150,000 shares of common stock. The stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange on May 8. The company continued to manufacture electric motors, mainly for industrial purposes, but also transformers, hydraulic brake equipment, and other supplies for vehicle brake systems. Wagner's sales were almost evenly divided between automotive products and electrical equipment. In 1956 sales broke the $100 million mark at $100,744,000, with net income of $6,544,757. During the late 1950s through most of the 1960s, sales for Wagner remained relatively flat at approximately $100 million.

The company embarked on various construction projects such as a new multi-million dollar distribution transformer plant in St. Louis County in 1962, an 81,000 square foot engineering-research center in 1964, and in 1965, a 150,000 square foot building that would serve as the central product distribution center for the company's automotive parts and accessories division.

In June 1966 Tung-Sol Electric, Inc., of Newark, New Jersey, made a tender offer to purchase control of Wagner Electric. Tung-Sol was a manufacturer of electronic and automotive components. In August 1966 Wagner and Tung-Sol agreed to allow Tung-Sol to acquire all of the assets of Wagner in a deal amounting to more than $70 million. The newly merged company continued to carry the name of Wagner Electric.

In January 1967 Wagner merged with the Studebaker Corporation. For years, Studebaker had been in the automobile business, but left the industry in March 1966 with a plan to create a diversified company through acquisitions. Wagner Electric Corporation was reincorporated in Delaware in February 1967 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Studebaker Corporation. Studebaker acquired all of the business and assets of Wagner Electric in May 1967.

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