Mergers: Rookie of the Week

Such major-league conglomerates as ITT, Litton and Textron are veterans on the playing fields of corporate acquisition. But last week's biggest merger news came from a relative rookie.

In the space of two bold days, Manhattan-based City Investing Co. announced plans to acquire not only one of the largest U.S. shipping companies, Moore & McCormack Co., but also Milwaukee's Allis-Chalmers, lately the nation's most warred-over corporation.

Those were mighty targets indeed for a 64-year-old company that, until barely two years ago, had pretty much stuck to real estate dealings (primarily in the...