Lessons: Maytag's Blues

THE APPLIANCE MAKER IS UP FOR SALE. FACING TOUGH GLOBAL COMPETITORS, CAN IT LEARN FROM ITS MISTAKES?

In Newton, Iowa, Maytag's home since 1893, news that the troubled appliance maker would be sold has stirred up a host of emotions. "It's a fear of the unknown, and there's plenty of unknowns around here these days," says resident Jim McCleary. Maytag is weighing bids from Whirlpool and a private-equity firm, Ripplewood Holdings. Meanwhile, many of the 2,800 Maytag employees in Newton--18% of the population--are worried that they will lose their jobs. Others are sad to watch the Maytag legacy go on the block. Mary Ergenbright's father was a Maytag clerk for 30 years, and her son-in-law is a Maytag...

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