Business and Commerce

Corporate America

What African-American entrepreneur first became involved in corporate takeovers?

African Americans also made their mark in the area of corporate takeovers. In 1984, the first black to enter the high-stakes world of billion-dollar business takeovers was Reginald F. Lewis (1942–1993). Lewis created TLC Pattern (the Lewis Company) on July 29, 1983, with the intention of taking over McCall Pattern Company. His holding company was known as TLC Group. On January 29, 1984, he acquired McCall, doubled the company’s profits, engaged in other maneuvers, and then sold the company, in 1987, for a ninety-to-one gain. In 1987 as well, he acquired Beatrice International and now headed the largest black-owned business in the country and the only black-owned company with over $1 million in revenues. Beatrice International comprised sixty-four companies in thirty-one countries; its parent company was Beatrice Foods, then the thirty-fifth largest industrial corporation in the United States.


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