A decade of merger mania closed with a year that gave birth to some prominent double-barreled corporate nameplates, including Time Warner Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and Bridgestone-Firestone Inc.
And a man whose name seems to be everywhere got another entry in the corporate lexicon as the Trump Shuttle replaced the Eastern Airlines Shuttle.
The number of corporate name changes declined 14% last year to 1,600 from a record 1,864 in 1988, according to a survey released Monday by Anspach Grossman Portugal Inc.
Nevertheless, the 1989 total was the third highest during the 20 years that the identity-consulting firm has conducted its annual survey, and was almost four times the 422 name changes in 1980.
Mergers and acquisitions were the reason for 799 name changes or 50% of the total, reflecting the continued restructuring of corporate America. In the decade's first year, only 25% of name changes stemmed from mergers and acquisitions, the firm said.
In Orange County, several companies changed their names during 1989. Computer products distributor Micro D of Santa Ana became Ingram Micro D after its acquisition by Ingram Industries of Nashville, Tenn. Costa Mesa-based Pacific Savings Bank changed its name to Pacific First Bank after being purchased by Royal Trustco Ltd. of Toronto.
Fluorocarbon Co. of Laguna Niguel changed its name to Furon Co. because its corporate moniker sounded too similar to chlorofluorocarbons, the ozone-destroying gas. Despite its earlier name, Fluorocarbon, a manufacturer of rubber and plastic industrial products, does not produce CFCs.
Elsewhere, Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. made one of the year's most publicized matches, but mergers in the pharmaceutical and accounting industries also produced some predictable names.
SmithKline Beckman Corp. and Beecham Group PLC got together to make SmithKline Beecham; Bristol-Myers Co. and Squibb Co. produced Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and Deloitte Haskins & Sells and Touche Ross became Deloitte & Touche.
"While these new names are the result of combining well-known names, if history is any guide many of these will later be shortened," said Joel Portugal, a partner in the consulting firm.
Other name changes illustrated the boom in foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies. Stauffer Chemical Corp. became Rhone-Poulenc Basic Chemicals Inc.; Pennwalt was changed to Atochem and Westinghouse Elevator was reborn as Schindler Corp.
But Bridgestone Corp. apparently saw extra mileage in a brand it acquired in 1988. It rechristened itself last year as Bridgestone-Firestone Inc.
Divestitures, sales of assets, spin-offs and leveraged buyouts led to 388 name changes, or 24% of the total, and corporate reorganizations and changes to a holding-company structure accounted for 120 changes, or 8%.
Ramada sold off its hotels and motels and retained its gaming operations under the new name of Aztar Corp., NW Inc. became Wings Holdings Inc. after the Alfred Checchi buyout, and F.W. Woolworth Co. streamlined its name to Woolworth Corp. when it became a holding company.
Another 258 companies or 16% of the total changed names for reasons other than a merger, sale or reorganization. Among the most prominent was Gulf & Western Inc., which restyled itself as Paramount Communications Inc.
The greatest number of name changes occurred among manufacturing and industrial companies, with 464 or 29% of the total. It was the first time in the survey's history that industrial companies made more name changes than financial institutions, which accounted for 366 or 23%.