This Day in Financial History - January 16 . . .

1974 - The New York Stock Exchange's systems are so primitive that a single computer glitch at Merrill, Lynch & Company delays the opening of the trading day by a full 15 minutes. Source: www.jasonzweig.com

1997 - At the outset of his first term as president, Bill Clinton moved to deregulate the weapons industry. While the move hardly pleased anti-monopolists and latter-day trustbusters, it was a boon to an industry that, with the close of the Cold War, was seemingly staring at a bleak future. Indeed, deregulation opened the flood gates to a series of large-scale mergers, as the some of the nationís main weapons manufacturers hopped into bed with each other in order to protect their bottom lines. And, this day in 1997 brought another super-sized deal, as the Massachusetts-based Raytheon Corp., then the nationís sixth-largest weapons contractor, inked a deal to acquire Hughes Electronics, which had previously been General Motorsí weapons unit and then the countryís fourth-largest military manufacturer. All told, the acquisition cost Raytheon $9.5 billion: the company agreed to pay $5.1 billion in freshly issued stock, and also pledged to pick up $4.4 billion of Hughesí hefty debts. Though the deal pleased Wall Street, both Raytheon and GMís respective stocks posted decent gains on the day, it raised the ire of anti-trust officials. However, in fall of 1997, the U.S. Defense and Justice departments gave the green light to the pick-up, provided Hughes divest itself of some of its previously held businesses. Though the deal left Raytheon in a seemingly potent position in the defense electronics field, the company still engaged in two sizeable rounds of layoffs in 1998. Source: www.history.com





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