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Loews Corporation

Loews Corporation

667 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10021-8087
U.S.A.
Telephone: (212) 521-2000
Fax: (212) 521-2525
Web site: http://www.loews.com

Public Company
Incorporated:
1969
Employees: 30,900
Sales: $21.47 billion (1999)
Stock Exchanges: New York
Ticker Symbol: LTR
NAIC: 551112 Offices of Other Holding Companies; 524126 Direct Property and Casualty Insurance Carriers; 524113 Direct Life Insurance Carriers; 524114 Direct Health and Medical Insurance Carriers; 524130 Reinsurance Carriers; 312221 Cigarette Manufacturing; 721110 Hotels (Except Casino Hotels) and Motels; 213111 Drilling Oil and Gas Wells; 421940 Jewelry, Watch, Precious Stone, and Precious Metal Wholesalers

Loews Corporation is a holding company with diversified interests in insurance, tobacco, offshore drilling, hotels, and watches. Run from the post-World War II era to the late 1990s by brothers Preston Robert (Bob) and Laurence (Larry) Tisch, the company was amassed through value investing. The Tisches earned a reputation for purchasing troubled firms, making them profitable, and selling them at a premium. Bob was known for his operational savvy, while elder brother Larry was considered the financial genius. In the early 21st century, Loews remained in the control of the Tisch families, who held more than 30 percent of the firms publicly traded stock. Two sons of Larry, James and Andrew Tisch, and a son of Bob, Jonathan Tisch, began running the company in the late 1990s. Among the companys major holdings is an 86.5 percent stake in the publicly traded CNA Financial Corporation, one of the ten largest insurance companies in the United States; CNA contributes about 75 percent of Loews revenues. Another 19 percent of revenues is derived from the wholly owned Lorillard, Inc., the oldest and fourth largest U.S. cigarette maker and the producer of such brands as Newport, Kent, and True. Another wholly owned subsidiary, Loews Hotels Holding Corporation, operates 14 hotels and resorts in the United States and Canada. Loews also holds a 52 percent stake in Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc., one of the worlds leading contract drillers of offshore oil and gas wells; and 97 percent of Bulova Corporation, a major distributor of watches and clocks under the Bulova, Accutron, and Sportstime brands.

Early Involvement in Hotels

The Tisch brothers received an early business education from their father, Al, who owned a manufacturing plant in Manhattan. Bob and Larry were given the task of making phone sales to retail stores and wholesale distributors. The two brothers also helped operate a few summer camps their parents owned in New Jersey. This hands-on experience was coupled with formal training. After a brief hiatus spent in the army, Bob graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1948. Larry graduated cum laude from New York Universitys School of Commerce at the age of 18, went on to earn an M.B.A. from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, and later enrolled in Harvards law school.

In 1946, Al and Sadye Tisch sold their summer camps and purchased the Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey. The hotel business went well, and soon became more than the parents could handle alone. Larry dropped out of Harvard in order to help run the business and Bob soon followed. It was not long before the older couple decided to sign over their share of the hotel (worth about $75,000 at the time) to their sons and give them control of the operation.

The brothers soon began leasing two other small New Jersey hotels and managed to turn a profit. Then, in 1952, they acquired two grand but old hotels in Atlantic City called the Brighton and the Ambassador. They demolished one to build a motel in its place, and quickly resold the other at a profit. Later, the Tisches liquidated some of their New Jersey investments to purchase their first two hotels in New York City. These early transactions established the pattern that would characterize their later business dealings, which grew increasingly diverse and valuable.

In 1956, with only eight years experience in the business, Bob and Larry erected the $17 million Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Florida, and paid for it in cash. Although it was subsequently sold to Sheraton in the 1970s, it represented an important step in the brothers careers. With the Americana, they firmly established themselves among the major hotel operators, and later acquired such prominent hotels in the United States as the Mark Hopkins, the Drake, the Belmont Plaza, and the Regency.

Adding Theaters and Tobacco in the 1960s

In 1959 a major antitrust ruling forced Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to relinquish ownership of Loews Theaters. This decision created an opportunity for the Tisch brothers, allowing them to move into a new business area. Six months before MGM was to divest Loews, Bob and Larry purchased a large stake in the theater chain; by May 1960 they had gained control of the company.

The brothers did not enter into the theater business because they knew about the motion picture industry. Nor did they purchase Loews because it was already a profitable operation on its own. On the contrary, Loews theaters were losing money. They were large, multitiered movie houses with high ceilings and interiors reminiscent of the industrys golden age, by this time long past. They played only one motion picture at a time and were rarely filled to capacity. Television and the proliferation of films coming out of Hollywood meant that theaters would have to cater to various tastes simultaneously in order to secure larger audiences. The old Loews theaters were not designed for this purpose.

The reason Bob and Larry Tisch purchased Loews had to do with real estate. The Loews theaters, though antiquated, were located on valuable city property. It was the opportunity to acquire this valuable property that prompted the brothers to purchase the company. Almost immediately they began liquidating the theaters, demolishing 50 of them in a matter of months and then selling the vacant lots to developers. This, of course, hastened the demise of the palatial movie house, but it was nonetheless a necessary business tactic. Loews remained a prominent participant in the movie industry into the early 1980s.

The long-established and well-recognized Loews name be-came the corporate title under which all Tisch operations (including hotels) were placed. Loews Corporation, a holding company formed in 1969, ran smoothly and efficiently, turning substantial profits every year. By 1968 the brothers again had the capital and the inclination to diversify and invest in a new business sector. This time they acquired Lorillard Industries, Americas oldest tobacco manufacturer.

Lorillard, the maker of Kent and Newport cigarettes, had once been a major company with a large share of the tobacco market. Managerial incompetence and discord, however, had paralyzed the company, bringing it near collapse. Upon assuming control of Lorillard, the first thing Larry Tisch did was examine the firms subsidiaries, particularly its candy and cat food divisions which were consuming a disproportionate amount of resources. The brothers discovered that the top executives spent 75 percent of their time on candy and cat food, which together made up only five percent of Lorillards total business. Lorillard divested itself of these interests and of the executives who were so fond of them, then redirected the company toward its tobacco operations. Market share slippage was reversed, and Lorillard climbed back to the top ranks of Americas tobacco market.

Key Dates

1956:
The Tisch brothers erect the Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Florida, establishing themselves as major hotel operators.
1960:
The Tisch brothers gain control of Loew s Theaters (the apostrophe is later dropped from the corporate name).
1968:
The Tisch brothers acquire Lorillard, the oldest U.S. tobacco maker.
1969:
The Tisch brothers create a holding company, Loews Corporation, for their diversified interests.
1974:
Loews acquires CNA Financial Corporation.
1979:
The company purchases a majority stake in Bulova Watch Co.
1985:
The movie theaters are divested and a 25 percent stake in CBS is purchased, with Larry Tisch becoming president.
1990:
Company acquires Houston drilling firm Diamond M Offshore.
1992:
Odeco Drilling is acquired.
1993:
Diamond M and Odeco are merged to form Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.
1994:
CNA acquires Continental Corporation.
1995:
Loews engineers the sale of CBS to Westinghouse, with Loews gaining nearly $900 million from the sale; Loews takes Diamond Offshore public through an IPO.
1998:
The Tisch brothers step down as co-CEOs; James Tisch is promoted to president and CEO. Lorillard and other tobacco firms reach $206 billion settlement with 46 states over tobacco-related health costs.
2000:
A Florida jury awards $144.9 billion in punitive damages in a class-action lawsuit filed against the tobacco industry; Lorillards share is $16.25 billion.

1970s and 1980s: CNA, Bulova, and CBS

A similar scenario took place in 1974, when Loews acquired CNA Financial Corporation, a large insurance firm. The Chicago-based conglomerate had reported a $208 million deficit that year and was expected to lose more. Like Lorillard, its subsidiaries were draining the financial resources of the company. CNAs tangential interests were poorly managed and veritable money pits. Moreover, there was considerable waste at the top of CNAs corporate structure.

When Loews took charge it divested unprofitable or distractive subsidiaries to concentrate on the worthwhile core businesses. The Tisch brothers then took aim at the wastefulness that plagued CNAs headquarters. Many executives were fired as Tisch austerity measures prevailed over past CNA lavishness. The 3,000-square-foot suite of the former chairman was rented out, as was the corporate dining room. The stream-lining had a dramatic and positive effect. In 1975 CNA earned a $110 million profit, and remained financially sound over the next decade, achieving annual revenues of over $3 billion by the late 1980s.

Loews next major turnaround target was the Bulova Watch Co. In 1979 the Tisch brothers bought 93 percent of the then-troubled firm for $38 million. At the time, Bulovas quality-control problems had contributed to its slip from the top of the watch market to the number two spot. Not only had longtime rival Seiko Corporation won the market share battle, but Bulova was also threatened by Timex Enterprises Inc.s introduction of competitively priced entries. It looked to some observers as if Bulova had squandered its brand cachet; the name was simply not recognized by a new generation of consumers.

The Tisch brothers applied their proven method of managerial restructuring, but without total success. Bulovas problems went beyond personnel and corporate networks: the product itself needed to be revised. James Tisch, Larrys son, headed the operation and immediately introduced 600 new watch styles, complete with extended warranties. To deal with the image problem, an extensive advertising campaign was launched. The company recovered, albeit slowly. By 1984 it had cut its losses to $8 million (roughly half of its 1980 total), yet it was still not paying for itself. The company did not turn a profit until 1986. That year, Bob Tisch accepted an appointment as U.S. Post-master General. Despite the concerns of those who felt his absence would weaken the companys performance, most analysts contended that Bob Tischs move to Washington, D.C., would help Loews, citing the advantages of both political and financial connections.

Late in 1985 Larry Tisch sold the companys namesake movie theaters and purchased a significant amount of CBS Inc. stock to help the company fight a takeover attempt by Ted Turner. Throughout 1986 Tisch increased Loews holdings in CBS to 24.8 percent and obtained a seat on the board of directors. He was elected president of CBS that September, much to the relief of stockholders and employees, who had grown frustrated and un-easy during the Turner takeover attempt.

Tischs popularity was short-lived, however. Intending to operate CBS as if it were any other business, he took measures to alleviate waste and make CBS more cost-effective. Wage cuts and spending reductions, along with wholesale firings, caused a serious rift in the huge broadcasting firm. The news division, traditionally given considerable leeway in regard to fiscal accountability, was especially hard hit. Some wondered if Tisch would be able to mend CBS without sacrificing the people and principles that once made it the most respected of the three major American broadcasting networks. Eventually, Loews reduced its investment in CBS to 18 percent through sale of stock back to the company.

Bob Tischs activities and interests outside Loews garnered attention as well. He was one of New York Citys most vocal supporters and had been elected over 15 times to the chairman-ship of New Yorks Convention and Visitors Bureau. In fact it was Bob Tisch and the bureaus president, Charles Grillett, who came up with the idea of using an old jazz expression, the big apple, to signify New York City. Later, Bob would represent the metropolis as its official ambassador (read lobbyist) in Washington, D.C. In 1990, he accepted the chairmanship of that citys chamber of commerce. In 1991, Bob Tisch paid over $75 million to acquire half of the New York Giants professional football team.

Early 1990s: Enter Offshore Drilling, Exit CBS

Over the course of the 1980s, the Tisches had reduced their stake in Loews from 45 percent to 24 percent, prompting some analysts to speculate that they were preparing to dismantle their conglomerate. Instead, the companywhich had amassed a $1.75 billion war cheststarted investing in new ventures, most notably oil. By 1990 Loews had spent $75 million on oil rigs and acquired Diamond M Offshore Inc., a Houston, Texas, drilling company. Loews amassed the worlds largest fleet of offshore drilling rigs with the 1992 purchase of Odeco Drilling, Inc., which was merged with Diamond M in 1993 to form Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. In spite of that status, Loews drilling segment lost over $103 million in 1992, 1993, and 1994. The companys annual report for the latter year blamed regional overcapacity and reduced demand for the negative results.

While other large hotel companies struggled in the early 1990s, Loews Hotels thrived under the direction of Jonathan Mark Tisch, son of Bob Tisch. Jonathan Tisch was praised for creative, ambitious, and often philanthropic promotions. His annual Monopoly Power Breakfasts featured celebrity contestants who played the famous Parker Brothers game competing on a customized board. Proceeds of the event went to charities. The upscale hotel chains Good Neighbor Policy and its recycling programs earned it industry accolades as well. Following an industry-wide trend, Loews Hotels lost $1.79 million in 1993, then reported a net profit of $17.02 million in 1994.

The Tisches continued to apply their turnaround strategies to Bulova in the early 1990s. In 1995, they completed the divestment of that subsidiarys defense interests in order to concentrate on the core timepiece business. Although sales and profits declined as a result, Bulova was able to stay in the black in the early 1990s.

Loews two largest investment areas, cigarettes and insurance, were very vulnerable in the early 1990s. Price wars prompted Lorillard to launch a bargain cigarette brand, Style, in 1992, then cut the retail price of its flagship Newport brand by 25 percent in 1994. In the decidedly antismoking climate that predominated, cigarette manufacturers already faced with legislation that banned smoking from virtually all public places also encountered many lawsuits. As of fiscal 1994, Lorillard was a named defendant in 17 individual and class-action suits brought by cigarette smokers, their estates and heirs, and even flight attendants who claimed to be victims of secondhand smoke.

When Loews subsidiary CNA Financial acquired Continental Corporation in December 1994 for $1.1 billion, it became Americas third largest property and casualty insurer. It also took on Continentals liabilities regarding Fibreboard Corporation, a company that manufactured asbestos insulation products from 1928 to 1971. In 1993, Continental and its codefendants reached a $2 billion settlement (of which Continental was responsible for $1.44 billion) to cover past and potential liabilities.

Another key divestment came in 1995, when Loews engineered the sale of CBS to Westinghouse Electric Corporation for $5.4 billion. This ended Larry Tischs controversial reign at CBS, and Loews share of the proceeds amounted to nearly $900 million, swelling the companys coffers. In late 1995, Loews took Diamond Offshore public, selling about 30 percent of the company in an offering that raised $300 million.

Titular changes in the early 1990s seemed to indicate prepa-rations for a changing of the guard at Loews. In the late 1980s, Bob had occupied the positions of president and chief operating officer, while Larry acted as chairman and CEO. But as the two brothers became septuagenarians, they consolidated their responsibilities, becoming co-chairmen and co-CEOs. James S. Tisch, son of Larry and a likely successor, advanced to president and chief operating officer, while Andrew H. Tisch, an-other son of Larry, led Lorillard.

Late 1990s and Beyond

In late 1995 Lorillard agreed to buy six discount cigarette brands from B.A.T. Industries PLC for about $33 million, but in April 1996 the Federal Trade Commission rejected the deal on antitrust grounds. Loews Hotel, meantime, entered into a joint venture with MCA Inc. in 1996 to develop three themed luxury hotels in Orlando, Florida, as part of MCAs expansion of its Universal Studios Florida theme park. The first, the Portofino Bay Hotel, opened in the fall of 1999 with 750 rooms. This property aimed to replicate the famous Italian seaside village of Portofino. The Hard Rock Hotel was slated to open in 2000 and the Royal Pacific in 2001. After helping to develop the hotels, Loews Hotels would also manage the properties under a contract arrangement. With the travel industry enjoying a resurgence in the economic boom time of the late 1990s, Loews Hotels moved ahead with other expansion plans as well. The company returned to Miami in 1998 with the opening of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, an 800-room property in the Art Deco district of Miami Beach. In early 2000 the 590-room Loews Philadelphia Hotel was opened near the downtown convention center, and Loews Hotels also purchased the Coronado Bay Resort hotel in San Diego, California.

In 1997 Loews lost more than $900 million on a pretax basis from its $70 billion securities portfolio as a result of the bearish Larry Tischs short-selling strategies against the long-running bull market. Net income as a result fell to $793.6 million from the $1.38 billion figure of the previous year. Late in 1998 the succession from one Tisch generation to another came to fruition. The Tisch brothers stepped down from their co-CEO positions but remained co-chairmen. James Tisch was promoted to president and CEO. In addition, an office of the president was formed consisting of James Tisch, Andrew Tisch, who also held the title of chairman of the executive committee, and Jonathan, who also continued to serve as president and CEO of Loews Hotels.

The new leadership at Loews faced many challenges, not the least of which was the increasing level of litigation and regulation facing Lorillard. The settlement costs from tobacco-related suits began to reach significant levels in 1997, when Lorillard paid out $122 million. Payments then escalated to $346.5 million the following year. Late in 1998 Lorillard and the other major tobacco companies reached a $206 billion settlement with 46 states for the reimbursement of public healthcare costs associated with smoking. Settlements with other states totaled another $48 billion. Lorillard took pretax charges of $579 million and $1.07 billion in 1998 and 1999, respectively, in connection with the settlements, the payments for which were to continue into the 2020s. In September 1999 the U.S. Justice Department filed a massive lawsuit against the major tobacco makers, modeled after the state lawsuits, with a potential industry liability well in excess of the state settlement.

Individual and class-action lawsuits continued as well, with Lorillard a defendant in no fewer than 825 cases as of the end of 1999. The most important of these was a class-action lawsuit filed in Florida, Engle v. RJ. Reynolds Tobacco Co., et al. The Engle trial began in October 1998, with a jury returning a verdict against the defendants in July 1999, finding that cigarette smoking is addictive and causes lung cancer, and that the tobacco companies had engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct in concealing the dangers of smoking from the public. The penalty phase of the trial then commenced. In April 2000 the jury awarded $12.7 million in compensatory damages to three sample plaintiffs, but then three months later delivered a potentially huge blow to the industry when it awarded $144.9 billion in punitive damagesby far the largest punitive damage award in U.S. history, dwarfing the $5 billion awarded in a suit against Exxon Corporation in connection with the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Lorillards share was a whopping $16.25 billion. The tobacco companies immediately vowed to appeal, a process that had the potential to last years. In the meantime, Lorillard and the other tobacco firms had been able to manage the increasing litigation payments simply by raising cigarette prices.

Meanwhile, with the insurance market slumping and earnings down, CNA was undergoing a restructuring. In 1998 the company cut its workforce by 2,400, consolidated some processing centers, and exited from certain areas, such as entertainment and agriculture insurance. In October 1999 CNA sold its personal lines insurance business, which included automobile and home-owners insurance, to the Allstate Corporation. In early 2000 CNA put its life insurance and life reinsurance units on the block but in August of that year announced that it would keep them.

Principal Subsidiaries

CNA Financial Corporation (86.5%); Lorillard, Inc.; Loews Hotels Holding Corporation; Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. (52%); Bulova Corporation (97%).

Principal Competitors

American International Group, Inc.; The Allstate Corporation; American Financial Group, Inc.; British American Tobacco p.l.c.; Canadian Pacific Limited; The Chubb Corporation; CIGNA Corporation; Citigroup Inc.; Citizen Watch Co., Ltd.; Fossil, Inc.; Four Seasons Hotels Inc.; The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc.; Hilton Hotels Corporation; Hyatt Corporation; Marriott International, Inc.; Movado Group, Inc.; Philip Morris Companies Inc.; The Prudential Insurance Company of America; R&B Falcon Corporation; The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C.; SAFECO Corporation; The St. Paul Companies, Inc.; Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.; State Farm Insurance Companies; The Swatch Group Ltd.; Timex Corporation; Vector Group Ltd.; Wyndham International, Inc.

Further Reading

Bary, Andrew, A New Leaf?: Loews Neglected Stock Could Jump If Tobacco Unit Is Spun Off, Barrens November 30, 1998, pp. 2324.

Browning, E.S., Tisches Got Stampeded by Bull Run, Wall Street Journal August 15, 1997, p. C1.

Carrns, Ann, Loews Hotels: The Road Less Traveled, Wall Street Journal, May 21, 1997, p. B14.

Dodds, Lynn Strongin, Nothing to Fear, Financial World, September 30, 1986, p. 100.

Fabrikant, Geraldine, CBS Accepts Bid by Westinghouse, New York Times, August 2, 1995, p. Al.

Fairclough, Gordon, and Milo Geyelin, Tobacco Companies Rail Against Verdict, Plan to Appeal $144.87 Billion Award, Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2000, pp. A3, A6.

Geyelin, Milo, and Gordon Fairclough, Taking a Hit: Yes, $145 Billion Deals Tobacco a Huge Blow, but Not a Killing One, Wall Street Journal, July 17, 2000, pp. A1, A8.

Hager, Bruce, Loews Sees the Future, and Its Oil, Business Week, March 19, 1990, pp. 12627.

______, Tisch the Younger Takes His Turn, Business Week, July 8, 1991, pp. 8889.

Hamilton, Martha M., Loews Corp. Hits a Gusher: Firms Investment in Drilling Rigs Pays Off Big in Newly Thriving Gulf of Mexico, Washington Post, November 21, 1996, p. D1.

Jensen, Elizabeth, Sharp Contrast: Why Did ABC Prosper While CBS

Blinked?, Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1995, p. A1.

Kadlec, Daniel, Tischs Bad Bet, Time, November 30, 1998, p. 130.

Lesly, Elizabeth, Loews Could Be Worth More Dead Than Alive, Business Week, December 13, 1993, pp. 1047.

Lohse, Deborah, Loews Announces Succession in Tisch Family, Wall Street Journal, November 5, 1998, p. A4.

Ozanian, Michael, Americas Most Undervalued Stock, Financial World, May 29, 1990, pp. 2224.

Pesmen, Sandra, Jonathan Tischs Road Show, Business Marketing, February 1991, pp. 6870.

Sheridan, Mike, Rather Than REIT, Tisch Sets Loews Hotels on New-Development Track, Hotel Strategies, June 1999, pp. 89.

Smith, Randall, For Tisch Empire, It Looks Like Its Back to the Basics, Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1995, p. C1.

Sparks, Debra, Tisch: The Ultimate Bear, Business Week, June 8, 1998, p. 112.

Winans, Christopher, The King of Cash: The Inside Story of Laurence Tisch, New York: Wiley, 1995, 288 p.

April Dougal Gasbarre

updated by David E. Salamie

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Loews Corporation

Loews Corporation

667 Madison Avenue
New York, New York 10321-8087
U.S.A.
(212) 545-2000
Fax: (212) 545-2714

Public Company
Incorporated:
1969
Employees: 27,100
Sales: $13.5 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York
SICs: 6331 Fire, Marine & Casualty Insurance; 6311 Life
Insurance; 2111 Cigarettes; 5094 Jewelry & Precious
Stones; 7011 Hotels & Motels; 1381 Drilling Oil & Gas
Wells

The Loews Corporation is a $13.5 billion conglomerate with extensive interests in tobacco, insurance, watches, hotels, and oil tankers. Major consumer brands include Bulova watches and Newport cigarettes. In 1990, a Financial World analyst characterized Loews as a closed-end fund or a holding company disguised as an operating company. Run since the post-World War II era by brothers Preston Robert (Bob) and Laurence (Larry) Tisch, the company was amassed through value investing. The Tisches earned a reputation for purchasing troubled firms, making them profitable, and selling them at a premium. Their major investments in the 1990s included the CBS television network.

Although the Tischs stake in the business has declined to about one-fourth over the years, the Loews Corporation is still considered by many to be a family business. Bob is known for his operational savvy, while elder brother Larry is considered the financial genius. In the early 1990s, the brothers shared the titles of co-chief executive officer and co-chairman. A number of Tisch offspring have also become prominent members of the companys management.

The Tisch family has tended not to supervise the day-to-day operations of the corporation, however. Rather, the company functions through a network of divisions which exercise a large degree of autonomy and assume responsibility for performance. Initiative and innovation are encouraged and rewarded. When problems occur, however, they are brought quickly to Bob Tischs attention. Tisch boasted that there is no administrative labyrinth in which to lose or hide operational defects. Loews is a big business run like a small business, Tisch has said. I hope we can keep it that way.

The Tisch brothers were given an early business education by their father, Al, who owned a manufacturing plant in Manhattan. Bob and Larry were given the task of making phone sales to retail stores and wholesale distributors. The two brothers also helped operate a few summer camps their parents owned in New Jersey. This hands on experience was coupled with formal training. After a brief hiatus spent in the Army, Bob graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1948. Larry graduated cum laude from New York Universitys School of Commerce at the age of 18, went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School in Philadelphia, and later enrolled in Harvards law school.

In 1946, Al and Sadye Tisch sold their summer camps and purchased the Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel in Lakewood, New Jersey. The hotel business went well, and soon became more than the parents could handle alone. Larry dropped out of Harvard in order to help run the business and Bob soon followed. It wasnt long before the older couple decided to sign over their share of the hotel (worth about $75,000 at the time) to their sons and give them control of the operation.

The brothers soon began leasing two other small New Jersey hotels and managed to turn a profit. Then, in 1952, they acquired two grand but old hotels in Atlantic City called the Brighton and the Ambassador. They demolished one to build a motel in its place, and quickly resold the other at a profit. Later, the Tisches liquidated some of their New Jersey investments to purchase their first two hotels in New York City. These early transactions established the pattern that would characterize their later business dealings, which grew increasingly diverse and valuable.

In 1956, with only eight years experience in the business, Bob and Larry erected the $17 million Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Florida, and paid for it in cash. Although it was subsequently sold to Sheraton, it represented an important step in the brothers careers. With the Americana, they firmly established themselves among the major hotel operators, and later acquired such prominent hotels in the United States as the Mark Hopkins, The Drake, the Belmont Plaza, and the Regency.

In 1959 a major anti-trust ruling forced Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to relinquish ownership of Loews Theaters. This decision created an opportunity for the Tisch brothers, allowing them to move into a new business area. Six months before MGM was to divest Loews, Bob and Larry purchased a large stake in the theater chain; by May of 1960 they had gained control of the company.

The brothers did not enter into the theater business because they knew about the motion picture industry. Nor did they purchase Loews because it was already a profitable operation on its own. On the contrary, Loews theaters were losing money. They were large, multi-tiered movie houses with high ceilings and interiors reminiscent of the industrys golden age, by this time long past. They played only one motion picture at a time and were rarely filled to capacity. Television and the proliferation of films coming out of Hollywood meant that theaters would have to cater to various tastes simultaneously in order to secure larger audiences. The old Loews theaters were not designed for this purpose.

The reason Bob and Larry Tisch purchased Loews had to do with real estate. The Loews theaters, though antiquated, were located on valuable city property. It was the opportunity to acquire this valuable property that prompted the brothers to purchase the company. Almost immediately they began liquidating the theaters, demolishing 50 of them in a matter of months and then selling the vacant lots to developers. This, of course, hastened the demise of the palatial movie house, but it was nonetheless a necessary business tactic. Loews (the apostrophe has since been eliminated) remains a prominent participant in the movie industry with theaters in 26 metropolitan areas. However, its 143 screens are located in only 61 facilities. There are often four screens in one building, each showing a different movie.

The long-established and well-recognized Loews name became the corporate title under which all Tisch operations (including hotels) were placed. The new Loews Corporation ran smoothly and efficiently, turning substantial profits every year. By 1968 the brothers again had the capital and the inclination to diversify and invest in a new business sector. This time they acquired Lorillard Industries, Americas oldest tobacco manufacturer.

Lorillard, the maker of Kent and Newport cigarettes, had once been a major company with a large share of the tobacco market. However, managerial incompetence and discord had paralyzed the company, bringing it near collapse. Upon assuming control of Lorillard, the first thing Larry Tisch did was examine the firms subsidiaries, particularly its candy and cat food divisions which were consuming a disproportionate amount of resources. The brothers discovered that the top executives spent 75 percent of their time on candy and cat food, which together made up only 5 percent of Lorillards total business. Lorillard divested itself of these interests and of the executives who were so fond of them, then redirected the company toward its tobacco operations. Market share slippage was reversed, and Lorillard climbed back to the top ranks of Americas tobacco market.

A similar scenario took place in 1974, when Loews acquired CNA Financial Corporation, a large insurance firm. The Chicago-based conglomerate had reported a $208 million deficit that year and was expected to lose more. Like Lorillard, its subsidiaries were draining the financial resources of the company. CNAs tangential interests were poorly managed and veritable money pits. Moreover, there was considerable waste at the top of CNAs corporate structure.

When Loews took charge it divested unprofitable or distractive subsidiaries to concentrate on the worthwhile core businesses. The Tisch brothers then took aim at the wastefulness that plagued CNAs headquarters. Many executives were fired as Tisch austerity measures prevailed over past CNA lavishness. The 3,000-square-foot suite of the former chairman was rented out, as was the corporate dining room. The streamlining had a dramatic and positive effect. In 1975 CNA earned a $110 million profit, and remained financially sound over the next decade, achieving annual revenues of over $3 billion by the late 1980s.

Loews next major turnaround target was the Bulova Watch Co. In 1979, the Tisch brothers bought 93 percent of the then-troubled firm for $38 million. At the time, Bulovas quality-control problems had contributed to its slip from the top of the watch market to the number-two spot. Not only had long-time rival Seiko Corporation won the market share battle, but Bulova was also threatened by Timex Enterprises Inc.s introduction of competitively-priced entries. It looked to some observers as if Bulova had squandered its brand cachet; the name was simply not recognized by a new generation of consumers.

The Tisch brothers applied their proven method of managerial restructuring, but without total success. Bulovas problems went beyond personnel and corporate networks: the product itself needed to be revised. James Tisch, Larrys son, headed the operation and immediately introduced 600 new watch styles, complete with extended warranties. To deal with the image problem, an extensive advertising campaign was launched. The company recovered, but slowly. By 1984 it had cut its losses to $8 million (roughly half of its 1980 total), yet it was still not paying for itself. The company did not turn a profit until 1986. That year, Bob Tisch accepted an appointment as U.S. Postmaster General. Despite the concerns of those who felt his absence would weaken the companys performance, most analysts contended that Bob Tischs move to Washington D.C. would help Loews, citing the advantages of both political and financial connections.

Late in 1985 Larry Tisch sold the companys namesake movie theaters and purchased a significant amount of CBS Inc. stock to help the company fight a takeover attempt by Ted Turner. Throughout 1986 Tisch increased Loews share holdings in CBS to 24.8 percent and obtained a seat on the board of directors. He was elected president of CBS that September, much to the relief of stockholders and employees, who had grown frustrated and uneasy during the Turner takeover attempt.

Tischs popularity was short-lived, however. Intending to operate CBS as if it were any other business, he took measures to alleviate waste and make CBS more cost-effective. Wage cuts and spending reductions, along with wholesale firings, caused a serious rift in the huge broadcasting firm. The news division, traditionally given considerable leeway in regard to fiscal accountability, was especially hard hit. Some wondered if Tisch would be able to mend CBS without sacrificing the people and principles that once made it the most respected of the three major American broadcasting networks. Eventually, Loews reduced its investment in CBS to 18 percent through sale of stock back to the company.

Bob Tischs activities and interests outside Loews garnered attention as well. He was one of New York Citys most vocal supporters and had been elected over 15 times to the chairmanship of New Yorks Convention and Visitors Bureau. In fact it was Bob Tisch and the Bureaus president, Charles Grillett, who came up with the idea of using an old jazz expression, the big apple, to represent New York City. Later, Bob would represent the metropolis as its official ambassador (read lobbyist) in Washington, D.C. In 1990, he accepted the chairmanship of that citys Chamber of Commerce. In 1991, Bob Tisch paid over $75 million to acquire half of the New York Giants professional football team.

Over the course of the 1980s, the Tisches had reduced their stake in Loews from 45 percent to 24 percent, prompting some analysts to speculate that they were preparing to dismantle their conglomerate. Instead, the companywhich had amassed a $1.75 billion war cheststarted investing in new ventures, most notably oil. By early 1990, Loews had spent $75 million on oil rigs and acquired Diamond M Offshore Inc., a Houston, Texas, drilling company. Loews amassed the worlds largest fleet of offshore drilling rigs with the 1992 purchase of Odeco Drilling, Inc., which was merged with Diamond M. In spite of that status, Loews drilling segment lost over $103 million in 1992, 1993, and 1994. The companys annual report for the latter year blamed regional overcapacity and reduced demand for the negative results.

While other large hotel companies struggled in the early 1990s, Loews thrived under the direction of Jonathan Mark Tisch. Tisch was praised for creative, ambitious, and often philanthropic promotions. His annual Monopoly Power Breakfasts featured celebrity contestants who played the famous Parker Brothers game competed on a customized board. Proceeds of the event went to charities. The upscale hotel chains Good Neighbor Policy and its recycling programs earned it industry accolades as well. Following an industry wide trend, Loews Hotels lost $1.79 million in 1993, then reported a net profit of $17.02 million in 1994.

The Tischs appeared to be continuing to apply their turnaround strategies to the Bulova division in the early 1990s. In 1995, they completed the divestment of that subsidiarys defense interests in order to concentrate on the core timepiece business. Although sales and profits declined as a result, this segment was able to stay in the black in the early 1990s.

Loews two largest segments, cigarettes and insurance, were very vulnerable in the early 1990s. Price wars prompted the company to launch a bargain cigarette brand, Style, in 1992, then cut the retail price of its flagship Newport brand by 25 percent in 1994. In the decidedly anti-smoking climate that predominated then, cigarette manufacturers already faced with legislation that banned smoking from virtually all public places also encountered many lawsuits. As of fiscal 1994, Lorillard was a named defendant in 17 individual and class action suits brought by cigarette smokers, their estates and heirs, and even flight attendants who claimed to be victims of second-hand smoke. Loews and Lorillard noted that, while losses in these cases would not hurt the companys long term performance, they could encourage more litigation.

When Loews subsidiary CNA Financial acquired The Continental Corporation in December 1994 for $1.1 billion, it became Americas third-largest property and casualty insurer. It also took on Continentals liabilities regarding Fibreboard Corporation, a company that manufactured asbestos insulation products from 1928 to 1971. In 1993, Continental and its co-defendants reached a $2 billion settlement (of which Continental was responsible for $1.44 billion) to cover past and potential liabilities. Although the agreement had to be approved by a federal courtleaving open the possibility for even greater expenseLoews expressed confidence that the problem would not have a material adverse impact on the equity of the Company.

Titular changes in the early 1990s seemed to indicate preparations for a changing of the guard at Loews. In the late 1980s, Bob had occupied the positions of president and chief operating officer, while Larry acted as chairman and CEO. But as the two brothers became septuagenarians, they consolidated their responsibilities, becoming co-chairmen and co-CEOs. James S. Tisch, a likely successor, advanced to president and chief operating officer, while Andrew H. Tisch led Lorillard.

Principal Subsidiaries

CNA Financial Corporation; Loews Hotels Holding Corporation; Lorillard Inc.; Bulova Corporation; Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc.

Further Reading

Dodds, Lynn Strongin, Nothing to Fear, Financial World, September 30, 1986, p. 100.

Hager, Bruce, Loews Sees the Future, and Its Oil, Business Week, March 19, 1990, pp. 126127.

_____, Tisch the Younger Takes His Turn, Business Week, July 8, 1991, pp. 8889.

Lesly, Elizabeth, Loews Could Be Worth More Dead than Alive, Business Week, December 13, 1993, pp. 104107.

100 Leading Advertisers: Loews Corp./Mars Inc./Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Advertising Age, September 4, 1986, pp. 123124.

Ozanian, Michael, Americas Most Undervalued Stock, Financial World, May 29, 1990, pp. 2224.

Pesmen, Sandra, Jonathan Tischs Road Show, Business Marketing, February 1991, pp. 6870.

updated by April Dougal Gasbarre

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Loews Corporation

Loews Corporation

666 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10103
U.S.A.
(212) 841-1000

Public Company
Incorporated:
November 12, 1969
Employees: 21,900
Sales: $6.7 billion
Market Value: $5.801 billion
Stock Index: New York

The Loews Corporation is a $6.5 billion conglomerate, with extensive interests in tobacco, insurance, movie theaters, watches, and hotels. Recently it has also invested heavily in broadcasting and oil tankers. With such large operations one would expect Loews to be managed like any other conglomerate. However, this is not the case. The Loews Corporation is a family business. The principle owners, Bob (Preston Robert) and Larry Tisch, are brothers. The former is president and chief operating officer; the latter is chairman and chief executive officer. A number of Tisch offspring have also become prominent members of the companys management.

This does not mean that the Tisch family supervises the day-to-day operations of the corporation. Rather, the company functions through a network of divisions which exercise a large degree of autonomy and assume responsibility for performance. Initiative and innovation are encouraged and rewarded. However, when something goes wrong the problem is brought quickly to Bob Tischs attention. There is no administrative labyrinth in which to lose or hide operational defects. Loews is a big business run like a small business, Tisch says. I hope we can keep it that way.

The Tisch brothers were given an early business education by their father, Al, who owned a childrens manufacturing plant in Manhattan. Bob and Larry were given the task of making phone sales to retail stores and wholesale distributors. The two brothers also helped operate a few summer camps their parents owned in New Jersey.

This hands on experience was coupled with formal training. Bob, after a brief hiatus spent in the Army, graduated with a degree in economics from the University of Michigan in 1948. Larry, at 18, graduated cum laude from New York Universitys School of Commerce and then went on to receive a Masters in business administration from the Wharton School in Philadelphia. Later he enrolled in Harvards law school.

In 1946, Al and Sadye Tisch sold their summer camps and purchased the Laurel-in-the-Pines Hotel in Lake-wood, New Jersey. The hotel business went well, and soon became more than the parents could handle alone. As a result, Larry dropped out of Harvard in order to help run the business and Bob soon followed. Soon afterward, the older couple decided to sign over their share of the hotel (worth about $75,000 at the time) to their sons and give them control of the operation.

It was not long before the brothers were leasing two other small New Jersey hotels and making a profit. Then, in 1952, they acquired two grand but old hotels in Atlantic City called the Brighton and the Ambassador. One they tore down to build a motel in its place; the other they quickly resold at a profit. Later, the Tischs liquidated some of their New Jersey investments to purchase their first two hotels in New York City.

In 1956, with only eight years experience in the business, Bob and Larry erected the $17 million Americana Hotel in Bal Harbour, Florida, and paid for it in cash. Although it was subsequently sold to Sheraton, it represents an important step in the success of the brothers. With the Americana, they firmly established themselves among the major hotel operators. Later the brothers obtained such prominent hotels in the United States as the Mark Hopkins, The Drake, the Belmont Plaza, and the Regency.

In 1959 a major anti-trust ruling forced Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to relinquish ownership of Loews Theaters. This decision created an opportunity for the Tisch brothers, allowing them to move into a new business area. Six months before MGM was to divest Loews, Bob and Larry purchased a large amount of stock in the theater chain; by May of 1960 they had gained control of the company.

The brothers did not enter into the theater business because they knew about the motion picture industry. Nor did they purchase Loews because it was already a profitable operation on its own. On the contrary, Loews theaters were losing money. They were large, multi-tiered movie houses with high ceilings and interiors reminiscent of another age. They played only one motion picture at a time and were rarely filled to capacity. Television and the proliferation of material coming out of Hollywood meant that theaters would have to cater to various tastes simultaneously in order to secure larger audiences. The old Loews theaters were not designed for this purpose.

The reason Bob and Larry Tisch purchased Loews had to do with real estate. The Loews theaters, though antiquated, were located on valuable city property. It was the opportunity to acquire this valuable property that prompted the brothers to purchase the company.

Almost immediately they began transforming the theaters into liquid assets, demolishing 50 of them in a matter of months and then selling the vacant lots to developers. This, of course, hastened the demise of the palatial movie house, but it was nonetheless a necessary business tactic. Loews (the apostrophe has since been eliminated) remains a prominent participant in the movie industry with theaters in 26 metropolitan areas. However, its 143 screens are located in only 61 facilities. There are often four screens in one building, each showing a different movie.

The Loews name, established and well-recognized, became the corporate title under which all Tisch operations (including hotels) were placed. The new Loews Corporation ran smoothly and efficiently, turning substantial profits every year. By 1968 the brothers again had the capital and the inclination to diversify and invest in a new business sector. This time they acquired Lorillard Industries, Americas oldest tobacco manufacturer.

Lorillard, the maker of Kent and Newport cigarettes, had once been a major company with a large share of the tobacco market. However, managerial incompetence and discord had paralyzed the company, almost bringing it to full collapse. Upon assuming control of Lorillard, the first thing Larry Tisch did was examine the firms subsidiaries, particularly its candy and cat-food divisions which were consuming a disproporionate amount of resources. The brothers discovered that the top executives spent 75% of their time on candy and cat-food, which together made up only 5% of Lorillards total business. Lorillard divested itself of these interests and the executives who were so fond of them. Larry and Bob Tisch then redirected the company toward its tobacco operations. Market share slippage was reversed, and Lorillard today is Americas fifth largest tobacco company.

A similar scenario took place in 1974 when Loews acquired CNA Financial, a large insurance firm. The Chicago-based conglomerate reported a $208 million deficit that year and was looking to lose more. Like Lorillard, its subsidiaries were draining the financial resources of the company. CNAs tangential interests were poorly managed and veritable money pits. Moreover, there was considerable waste at the top of CNAs corporate structure.

When Loews took charge it weeded out the bad subsidiaries and concentrated on the ones it could save. The Tisch brothers then took aim at the wastefulness that plagued CNAs headquarters. Money executives were fired as Tisch austerity measures prevailed over past CNA lavishness. The 3,000 square foot suite of the former chairman was rented out, as was the corporate dining room. The streamlining had a dramatic and positive effect. In 1975 CNA earned a $110 million profit, and has been financially sound ever since. It now does over $3 billion in business.

The next major acquisition for Loews was Bulova watches. For $38 million the brothers acquired 93% of the company in 1979. Like the other Loews subsidiaries, Bulova was then a financially troubled company with an image problem. Due to quality control problems it had been supplanted by its chief competitor Seiko. The introduction of Pulsar and similarly priced Timex watches put added strain on Bulovas already dwindling market share. Its name was simply not recognized by the new generation of consumers.

The Tisch brothers applied their proven method of managerial restructuring, but without total success. The problems went beyond personnel and corporate networks; the product itself needed to be revised. James Tisch, Larrys son, headed the operation and immediately introduced 600 new watch styles, complete with extended warranties. To deal with the image problem an extensive advertising campaign was conducted. The company recovered, but slowly. By 1984 it had cut its losses to $8 million (roughly half of its 1980 total), yet it was still not paying for itself. Not until 1986 was the company able to turn a profit.

When not tending to the operations at Loews, Bob and Larry Tisch lead separate lives. Bob is heavily involved in public service. He is one of New York Citys most vocal supporters and has been elected over 15 times to the chairmanship of New Yorks Convention and Visitors Bureau. It was Bob Tisch and the Bureaus president, Charles Grillett, who came up with the idea of using an old jazz expression, the big apple, to represent New York City.

In 1986 Bob Tisch unofficially left Loews to accept an appointment as U.S. Postmaster General. Despite the doubts of those who feel his absence will weaken the companys performance, most analysts contend that Bob Tischs move to Washington D.C. will help Loews, citing the advantages of both political and financial connections.

Late in 1985 Larry Tisch purchased a large amount of CBS stock to help the company fight a takeover attempt by Ted Turner. Throughout 1986 Tisch increased his share holdings in CBS and obtained a seat on the board of directors. In September of that year he was elected president of CBS, much to the pleasure of stockholders and employees who had grown frustrated and uneasy during the Turner takeover attempt.

Tischs popularity was short-lived, however. Intending to operate CBS as if it were any other business, he took measures to alleviate waste and make CBS more cost-effective. Wage and expenditure reductions, along with wholesale firings, caused a serious rift in the huge broadcasting firm. The news division, traditionally given considerable leeway in regard to fiscal accountability, was especially hard hit. Only time will tell if Tisch will be able to mend CBS without sacrificing the people and principles that once made it the most respected of the three major American broadcasting networks.

Principal Subsidiaries

CNA Holdings, Inc.; Loews Theaters, Inc.; Loews Hotel Holding Corp.; Bulova Watch Co. Inc.; Loews Cinemas, Inc.; Loews Trading Corp.

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"Loews Corporation." International Directory of Company Histories. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Loews Corporation." International Directory of Company Histories. . Retrieved October 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/books/politics-and-business-magazines/loews-corporation