Mergers: With Their Own Money

As a merger magician, Meshulam Riklis, 44, fits into a niche all his own. Starting in Minneapolis as a $50-a-week securities analyst, he stitched together a conglomerate composed of retailing, clothing, textile and theater companies with $1.4 billion a year in sales. Overextended and debt-laden, Riklis' empire almost collapsed five years ago. He rallied by selling off a big chunk of his complex to raise funds. Last week he climaxed his comeback by capturing his richest corporate prize yet: Schenley Industries, Inc.

Enough Schenley stockholders accepted a tender offer to give Riklis'...

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