Corporations: Broadening the Rails

Ben W. Heineman, the pleasant, pensive chairman and chief executive of the Chicago & North Western Railway, has a talent for the unexpected. Such as making money on commuters: the C. & N.W., with a profit of $2,000,000 from its Chicago short-haul service last year, is one of the few U.S. railroads that earned money on that kind of traffic. Or accomplishing unlikely mergers: in a recent move that caught Wall Street by surprise, Heineman announced that for cash and stock exchanges totaling $367 million, the C. & N.W. was acquiring Essex Wire Corp. (annual sales: $375 million), a Fort...

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