CORPORATIONS: The Touch That Failed

Hyman Marcus is a fast-talking former math teacher and Phi Beta Kappa man (Columbia) who in three years transformed a shaky manufacturer of laundry machines into a corporate complex grossing more than $90 million. In late 1953 he bought his way into U.S. Hoffman Machinery Corp., an oldtime concern with $13 million in debts, shored up its tottering finances, became president in 1954. By trading stock in the Hoffman Corp., he acquired 23 profitable subsidiaries, manufacturing everything from candy to tin cans. But somewhere along the line, Hyman Marcus' magic touch began to fail. Day after day in recent...

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