Is That You, Al Dunlap?

A famous cost cutter decides to build, not sell

The man known as Chainsaw Al pulled a fast one last week, buying three companies when everyone assumed he would be selling his own. In the process, the CEO of Sunbeam Corp., the small-appliance maker, carved a kindlier image for himself: Al Dunlap, builder. No, the Chainsaw did not have an attack of conscience. Dunlap, who seemed primed for an exit, decided to try something different. And in keeping with his flair for drama, he spent $1.8 billion in a single day for three companies--all with striking possibilities to complement one another: Coleman Co., which makes leisure equipment; Signature Brands, which...

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