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In: Business and Management

Submitted By pallavkapur
Words 364
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Before 1979, in what ways did Beatrice's corporate strategy create value?

Founded through a partnership of Haskell & Bosworth in 1897, Beatrice quickly started to expand, buying smaller creameries that were close to raw material sources. Expanding by acquiring, Beatrice purchased close to 60 dairy companies which increased its revenue from $40 million to $84 million by 1930 and established it as one of the big three dairy firms. From 1951 to 1961, Beatrice continued expanding its dairy business, participating in about 175 dairy mergers and increasing its sales 136% to $539 million in 1961. Fueled by the steady cash flow generated by its dairy operations, Beatrice launched an aggressive acquisition campaign in the mid 1960s. It focused on companies that were small compared to Beatrice and financed the acquisition with stock swaps, cash and leasebacks. This helped in avoiding any serious financial risk to the company.

The organizational structure that Beatrice assumed was decentralized with many geographic divisions and a central office. In choosing which companies to acquire within an industry, Beatrice considered the quality of the company’s incumbent managers to be the most important single criterion. While purchasing businesses, the company made a policy of allowing the local management of that company to retain 10% to 20% equity stake in the target company. This allowed for incentive for local management to help grow the business, since they knew the local tastes and needs of the consumer. Beatrice was well known for how well it took care of the businesses that it operated. It gave the profit center managers of each division fair amount of control with minimum corporate interference. The result was that the company had close to 400 leaders who were skilled with operating experience to run a company. Corporate headquarters, achieved economies of scale by...

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