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Famous Reverse Mergers

Many people don’t realize how many famous companies went public via a reverse merger. The venerable institution the New York Stock Exchange went public in 2006 by doing a reverse merger. Some of the most high profile reverse mergers involve well known businessmen such as Warren Buffett, Ted Turner, Tony Robbins as well as Muriel Siebert, the first woman to purchase a seat on the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange). There are also many brand name corporations who have utilized a reverse merger including Burger King, Jamba Juice, Blockbuster Video, Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack), Texas Instruments and Waste Management.

Although they are not as high profile as an IPO (Initial Public Offering), reverse mergers are a viable option for companies large and small that are seeking to go public. A reverse merger is enacted when a private company merges into a pre-existing public shell in order to become a public company. There are several reasons for choosing to employ a reverse merger but the main motivations are the accelerated speed of going public and the increased access to capital sources available once a company does go public.

Most people familiar with the financial world know the name of Warren Buffett, he is one of the wealthiest men in the world and like the old brokerage firm ad says when he talks, people listen. A reverse merger was good enough for him; Buffett bought out a textile manufacturing company and then merged his insurance empire into it without even changing the name. His company, Berkshire Hathaway, is the product of one of the most famous reverse mergers to date.

CNN founder Ted Turner merged his Turner Outdoor Advertising to create the Turner Broadcasting System. Motivational speaker and life coach Anthony "Tony" Robbins was involved with an online self-help company that employed a reverse merger to jump start the going public process.

After becoming the first woman to purchase a seat on the NYSE, Muriel Siebert used a reverse merger to take her titular brokerage firm public, the company stock maintained a price greater than $70 for over one year. Not bad for a college dropout.

Oilman and industrialist Armand Hammer (not to be confused with Arm & Hammer baking soda), is considered to be the creator of the reverse merger back in the 1950s. He invested in a shell company and merged his company, now the highly successful Occidental Petroleum into it.

Not all reverse mergers are employed as a strategy to go public. When ABC Radio and Citadel Broadcasting Corporation merged the intention was to transfer ABC Radio from its parent company, Disney, to a new entity.

Both Texas Instruments and Tandy Corporation, the parent company of Radio Shack, (who coincidently sells Texas Instruments products in their stores), each went public with a reverse merger. Nationally known restaurant chains such as Burger King and Jamba Juice also went public via the reverse merger, as did Waste Management, another profitable company.

But perhaps the example that holds the most weight is that of the original US Stock Market. After the New York Stock Exchange was acquired by Archipelago Holdings, the newly formed NYSE Group determined a reverse merger was the most effective method to achieve their goal of going public to raise capital.

So you can see the list of famous, successful businesspeople and corporations who have used a reverse merger is long. We have illustrated a few examples here:

Reverse Merger Examples

  • New York Stock Exchange

  • Warren Buffett

  • Ted Turner

  • Anthony Robbins

  • Muriel Siebert

  • Armand Hammer (Occidental Petroleum)

  • Blockbuster Video

  • Burger King

  • Jamba Juice

  • Texas Instruments

  • Tandy Corporation (Radio Shack)

  • Waste Management

This impressive canon highlights the track records of many prosperous companies who have utilized a reverse merger to go public and raise capital. Any company who is seeking to accelerate the going public process by way of a reverse merger will find themselves in pretty good company.

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