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ITT

From Academic Kids

ITT also stands for ITT Technical Institute, Institute of Technology, Tallaght and Institute of Technology, Tralee.

ITT, originally International Telephone and Telegraph, was a large conglomerate that owned a variety of businesses during the 1960s under Harold Geneen. Like many conglomerates, ITT was forced to sell off the majority of its holdings in the 1970s, and became a shell of its 1960s glory.

History

The company began as an operator of telephone monopolies outside of the United States, and purchased a number of European telephony patents. During World War II, ITT or its German subsidiaries had arrangements with the Nazi Party. There is a great deal of evidence showing Nazi involvement before and during World War II. One executive, head of the Germany's ITT, may have partially persuaded Henry Ford to cut off supplies to Britain.

During the 1950s, ITT purchased Philo Farnsworth's television company to break into the market. In 1951, ITT bought a majority interest in the Kellogg Switchboard & Supply company (founded in 1897) and bought the remaining shares the next year. ITT changed the name to ITT Kellogg. After merging Federal Telephone and Radio Corporation, into ITT Kellogg and combining manufacturing operations the name was changed again to ITT Telecommunications.

Growth

In 1959 Harold Geneen was elected as CEO. Using leveraged buyouts, he turned the minor building of the 1950s into a major force during the 1960s. Under Geneen, ITT bought over 300 companies in the 1960s, including some hostile takeovers. The deals included well-known businesses like the Sheraton hotel chain, Wonderbread maker Continental Baking, Hartford insurance company, and Avis Rent-a-Car. ITT also absorbed smaller operations in auto parts, energy, books, semiconductors and cosmetics. In 1963, ITT attempted to purchase the television network,ABC for $700 million. The deal was halted by federal antitrust regulators who feared the ITT was growing too powerful.

ITT's sales grew from about $700 million in 1960 to about $8 billion in 1970, and its profit from $29 million to $550 million. However when the higher interest rates started eating away at profits in the late 1960s, ITT's growth slowed considerably. This was not helped by the public anger due to its influence in elections in the United States and abroad, particularly in the early 1970s. On September 28, 1973, headquarters in New York City, New York was bombed by protesters for involvement in the overthrow of the democratically elected government in Chile.

Journalist Anthony Sampson used ITT in his book The Sovereign State of ITT about the weakening of national governments by the multinational corporations.

Geneen's remained CEO with ITT until 1977 while many conglomerates had removed their CEOs due to lack of profits. His successor, Rand Araskog, dismantled much of ITT selling most of its holdings, including the last of ITT's telecommunications businesses.

In 1989, ITT sold all international telecommunications products business to Alcatel. ITT merged its long distance division with Metromedia Long Distance, creating Metromedia-ITT. Metromedia-ITT would eventually be acquired by Long Distance Discount Services, Inc. (LDDS) in 1993. LDDS would later change its name to Worldcom in 1995.

In 1995, ITT Corporation split into 3 separate public companies: ITT Corp, ITT Industries (manufacturing and defense contractor businesses) and ITT Hartford (insurance). ITT Corp was acquired in 1997 as is mentioned below. ITT Industries still operates independently under this name whereas ITT Hartford has dropped the ITT from its name altogether.

In 1997, ITT completed a merger with Starwood Hotels selling off its non-hotel and resorts business. Several former ITT subsidiaries are still very active including, one which is a major defense contractor, although it has shed a number of its own internal businesses.

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