Mergers: Wards' New Package

Just over a year ago, Chairman Robert Elton Brooker of Montgomery Ward & Co. reached out for a major diversification in his effort to end Wards' long streak of low profits—and was rebuffed. Stockholders of Los Angeles-based MSL Industries Inc., with $116 million per year in sales of everything from industrial fasteners to electronic components, rebelled at fusing their young manufacturing company with a troubled old retailer. Last week Brooker found another possible partner, and this time his prospects looked a lot brighter.

Directors of Wards and Container Corp. of America, the...

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