GE & Honeywell: A Failed Merger|Business Strategy|Case Study|Case Studies

GE & Honeywell: A Failed Merger

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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR085
Case Length : 14 Pages
Period : 1976 - 2003
Organization : GE, Honeywell International Inc, European Commission
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Aviation

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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EC Dashes Merger Hopes Contd...

The EC's prohibition also raised important questions on anti-trust regulations and the powers of a European authority to prohibit a merger between two American companies. Analysts, especially in America, criticized the EC on the grounds that it gave too much consideration to competitors' complaints and that it exaggerated the extent to which the merged companies would be able to bundle their products and establish a monopoly over the industry.

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GE Background

The roots of GE can be traced back to Thomas Alva Edison (Edison), the inventor of the incandescent light bulb. Edison set up a company called The Edison Electric Light Company (EELC) in 1872, to conduct experiments on electricity, and in 1879, he invented a carbon-filament lamp and direct current generator for incandescent electric lighting. The EELC essentially comprised of a number of smaller companies involved in different businesses ranging from power stations and wiring grids to electrical appliances. The Edison Electric Light Company merged with The Thomas-Houston Electric Company8 in 1892, to form General Electric (with headquarters in Schenectady, New York).

In 1894, Charles Coffin (Coffin) replaced Edison as CEO of GE. Coffin brought about a number of changes in the company by creating a rigid hierarchy and organizing the company around different individual "works", or units dealing with specific product lines or jobs.

He also imposed rigid financial controls to keep the different units on track. By the end of the century, GE was able to consolidate its position by licensing its electric bulb technology to other companies. Gerard Swope (Swope), who succeeded Coffin in 1922, played an influential role in making positive changes in industrial relations at GE. He introduced a number of schemes such as group insurance, profit sharing, bonuses, pensions, home-mortgage assistance, stock-purchase plans, etc., which were widely appreciated and further consolidated GE's position in the industry. GE also became the first company to establish unemployment pension plans, which guaranteed its laid-off workers a stipend of $7.5 per week for a period of 10 weeks after layoff...

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8] Tata Sons Ltd is a successor to the first trading company founded by Jamsetji Tata (the founding father of the Tata business empire). The Tata Sons Ltd. Board is made up of the chairmen or CEOs of major operating Tata Group companies, and the elected chairman of the Board of Tata Sons Ltd. is recognized as the Group Chairman. The company is based in Mumbai.


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