Corporations: Tidying Up the House

"Once, two and two made three around here. Now it makes six." So says Gordon Grand Jr., the lean tax lawyer who runs giant Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp. (1965 sales forecast: $875 million). Strange though such arithmetic may seem, it makes sense at Olin. Like many another manufacturing mammoth, the company overreached itself in a scramble to diversify a few years ago, found its profits dwindling as its debts increased. Olin is still pretty diversified—its 4,500 products include antifreeze, shotguns, rocket fuel, electric toothbrushes and paper for Bibles—but it has learned how...

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