BE 100s Billion-Dollar Club: Lessons from Top-Earning Black Business

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TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. still remains the BE 100s' billion-dollar standard bearer. With his historic $985 million leveraged buyout of TLC Beatrice International Foods Cos.—the largest offshore transaction at the time—the late financier Reginald F. Lewis catapulted his company to the leadership of the BE 100s in 1988 with $1.8 billion in gross sales and, at the same time, transformed black business forever in terms of setting a new bar for high finance and global business. Not surprisingly, that same year TLC was named the BE Company of the Year. With vast worldwide holdings, TLC would surpass $2 billion in gross sales and hold on to the No. 1 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 for 12 years - even with the untimely death of the founding titan in 1993. By 1999, TLC's board approved a plan to unlock shareholder value by liquidating the company and selling the remainder of its assets, closing one of the most exciting chapters in black business history that continues to inspire generations of black entrepreneurs.

TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc. still remains the BE 100s’ billion-dollar standard bearer. With his…