that there will be more Reginald Lewises who will head billion-dollar organizations.”
Black America eagerly awaits such an encore.
The Life And Times Of TLC Beatrice
1987: Reginald Lewis makes history by completing a $985 million leveraged buyout of Beatrice International Foods. The largest offshore transaction at the time, Lewis finances it using junk bonds. He renames the concern TLC Beatrice International. BLACK ENTERPRISE is the first business magazine to cover the story, and scoops such publications as Business Week, Fortune and Forbes.
1988:The first year that TLC Beatrice appears on the B.E. Industrial/Service 10o list. The company becomes the first black-owned enterprise to crack the billion-dollar mark, grossing $1.8 billion in sales in 1987.
1989: Lewis attempts to take TLC public in an IPO. His efforts are rebuffed by a volatile market and analysts who maintain that Lewis and company insiders will profit disproportionately from the offering.
1993: Reginald Lewis dies of brain cancer. His untimely death rocks TLC and stuns the business community.
1993: Lewis’ half brother, Jean S. Fuggett, a former football player and attorney who served as the company’s vice chairman, becomes CEO of the company.
1994: After a year of being besieged by a recession in Europe and criticism by shareholders and analysts about TLC’s corporate performance, Fuggett is replaced by Loida Lewis, who assumes the role of chairman and CEO.
1994: Lewis makes her mark on the company by instituting a program of corporate austerity. She sells the company plane, reduces the corporate staff, moves the office to less-expensive quarters and sells noncore holdings.
1997: Lewis consults her investment banker on how to increase shareholder wealth and liquidity. After assessing several different business models, TLC’s management team makes the decision to sell the French Food business, which contributes two-thirds of TLC’s revenues.
1999: After 10 years as the top company on the B.E. 100s, TLC, which posted gross sales of $322 million in 1998, drops to the No. 3 spot on the b.e. industrial/service 100 list.
1999: The board approves a plan of liquidation and, in two separate transactions, TLC agrees to sell the remainder of its holdings.