RETAIL TRADE: Enter the Du Ponts

Something interesting had been going on in the stock of Chicago's Butler Bros., world's largest wholesaler of general merchandise. As the market in Butler edged up last year, LaSalle Street was full of rumors about who was trying to buy Butler's stock. Last week the secret was out: the buyers were the potent Du Ponts of Delaware, and assorted relatives.

The deal was managed by Hugh R. Sharp Jr., 37, cheerful, stolid son of the late Isabelle du Pont Sharp (sister of Irénée, Lammot and Pierre). Though Sharp, who shares Uncle Pierre's Wilmington office, minimized his family's holdings in Butler Bros,...

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