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Year of Merger Mania and a Mega-Market : 1985 KEY BUSINESS EVENTS

January 02, 1986


Treasury Secretary Donald T. Regan switches jobs with James A. Baker III, White House chief of staff.

Nine of OPEC's 13 members lower the benchmark price of crude oil.

AT&T reports a disappointing $1.4-billion profit for the first year following its divestiture.


Phillips Petroleum faces a takeover bid from financier Carl C. Icahn. A month later, Icahn walks away after a recapitalization at Phillips yields him a $50-million profit.

The Transportation Department endorses Norfolk Southern's bid for Conrail, but unions and Congress object.

Bank of Boston is fined $500,000 for not reporting $1.2 billion in cash transactions, presaging similar fines at other banks.

Bank of America sets aside $95 million for losses from a mortgage-securities scheme.

John M. Fedders resigns as SEC enforcement chief after publicity that he had beaten his wife on several occasions.

A four-week strike by Pan Am workers all but grounds the airline.


President Reagan decides not to extend quotas on car imports from Japan, which later sets its own higher voluntary quotas.

The collapse of a Florida securities firm triggers the failure of Home State Savings Bank in Ohio and a deposit run at the state's privately insured savings firms. Ohio's governor declares a bank holiday and sets withdrawal limits.

W. Paul Thayer, former deputy secretary of defense, pleads guilty to obstructing justice in a case of insider stock trading. In May, he is sentenced to four years in prison and separately agrees to repay $500,000 of profits.

The government of India says it will sue Union Carbide and claims sole authority to represent Bhopal disaster victims.

National Intergroup sets a merger with Bergen Brunswig of Los Angeles for $700 million, but the deal falls apart in April.

Capital Cities Communications agrees to acquire ABC for $3.5 billion.

Rupert Murdoch agrees to buy half of 20th Century Fox. In September, he gets the other half.

IBM announces a halt to production of its PCjr computer.


Sir James Goldsmith's offer of $1 billion-plus for Crown Zellerbach touches off a takeover battle that he wins in July. In December, the firm's assets are split between Goldsmith and James River Corp.

Financial Corp. of America announces a $512-million fourth-quarter loss. Auditor's statement is qualified.

T. Boone Pickens Jr. seeks to take over Unocal after first buying its stock in February. The bid fails in May after a fierce fight with Unocal management and a knockout Delaware court ruling.

Ted Turner makes a no-cash, $5.4-billion bid for CBS but gives up in August.

Coca-Cola introduces New Coke. Massive consumer resistance leads the company to bring back the old Coke in July.

Beverly Hills Savings & Loan fails; regulators from other savings firms will oversee it.

Atlantic Richfield announces a huge restructuring: a $4-billion stock buy-back, sale of its Eastern service stations and early retirement for thousands of employees.


E. F. Hutton is fined $2.75 million plus $8 million in restitution after pleading guilty to a scheme similar to check kiting.

Mobil decides to spin off its Montgomery Ward chain, writing off $500 million. In the summer, Ward decides to phase out its catalogue business.

Rupert Murdoch and Marvin Davis make a $2-billion offer for seven Metromedia stations. Murdoch goes it alone in June after Davis pulls out.

Allied purchases Signal for $5 billion. Allied-Signal restructures in November, forming a new company with revenue of $3 billion.

Tribune Co. buys Los Angeles' KTLA Channel 5 television station for $510 million, requiring the sale of the Daily News in Van Nuys. The paper is sold in December to Jack Kent Cooke.

President Reagan's tax-reform plan calls for three tax brackets, higher personal exemptions and higher business taxes.

Two General Dynamics units are banned from further bidding on Navy projects; the company is fined for "pervasive" business misconduct. Chairman David S. Lewis will resign by year-end. The firm's bidding status is restored in August.

Carl C. Icahn launches a takeover bid for TWA, taking control in August after beating off rival suitor Texas Air.


General Motors wins bidding for Hughes Aircraft; GM will pay more than $5 billion.

Nabisco Brands is sold to R. J. Reynolds for $4.9 billion.

Wickes, just out of Chapter 11, will pay $1 billion for Gulf & Western's consumer and industrial group.


David A. Stockman ends stormy tenure as the Administration's budget director.

Monsanto agrees to buy G. D. Searle, maker of Nutrasweet, for $2.7 billion.

American Hospital Supply agrees to its acquisition by Baxter Travenol for $3.8 billion, scuttling a previous plan to join with Hospital Corp. of America.

UAW approves a labor pact with GM for the Saturn plant, which the company later decides will be built in Spring Hill, Tenn.


Ford Motor will buy San Francisco's First Nationwide Savings for $493 million.

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