Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Fuqua Industries, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Fuqua Industries, Inc.

List of Deals

John Brooks was an ambitious businessman and politician who dreamed of building a successful conglomerate. He founded Fuqua Industries when he purchased the Natco Corporation in the late 1960s. Natco was a small brick and tile manufacturer and served Fuqua primarily as a vehicle for going public. John Brooks had turned Natco into a profitable company within three years.

Natco launched Fuqua into a period of acquiring interests in a variety of industries, including lawn and garden equipment, photofinishing, sporting goods, yachting equipment, trucking, broadcasting, mobile homes, and movie theaters. Fuqua's stock was highly valued until the 1970 recession caused a decline in the company's stock value. Between 1969 and 1974 the company's stock dropped from $41 to $3 a share. John Brooks decided that the best way to reduce Fuqua's debt-to-equity ratio was to write off or sell unprofitable companies. This reorganization gave the company a more stable foundation. At that time, John Brooks was eager to test a new investment strategy—to buy a widely recognized, multinational company that already had a substantial share of the market. Brooks had an eye on Avis Corporation but was unable to acquire the company. He then identified another conglomerate, National Industries, and purchased the company in the late 1970s.

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