Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Avnet, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Avnet, Inc.

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Charles Avnet founded a small radio replacement parts distribution business in Manhattan in 1921. The company folded after the 1929 stock market crash. In the World War II era, Avnet, with his sons Lester and Robert, founded Avnet Electronic Supply to furnish radio parts to government and defense contractors. In the post-war years, the company sold surplus electrical and electronic parts. A defining moment of the company's early years was the signing of a large contract with Bendix Aviation Corporation; Avnet was then able to establish a warehouse on the West Coast.

In 1955 the company incorporated as Avnet Electronics Supply Company. The company changed its name to Avnet Electronics Corporation in 1958. Avnet made its first acquisition in 1960: British Industries Corporation. The company went public with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange that same year. Avnet continued to grow through further acquisitions over the next few years.

As it diversified into other products, such as audio turntables and electric motors, the company changed its name to Avnet, Inc., in 1964. By the end of the 1960s, Avnet ranked among to the top three electronics distributors in the country, with interests in the following areas: electronic marketing, consumer products, wire and cable, automotive, and electrical engineering.

Avnet experienced the impact of the recession in 1970, as it struggled to absorb the acquisitions made in the '60s while net earnings dropped. To combat financial difficulties, the company arranged new financing, cut overhead, and eliminated dividends for a year. The company saw an increase in earnings in 1971, after eliminating Channel Master's OEM color picture tube business.

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