In one of the most complex deals Wall Street has seen in years - and one which involved the largest stock trade in New York Stock Exchange history - Tyco Laboratories, Inc. ended its attempt to acquire Cutler Hammer Inc. yesterday.
But the battle for control of Cutler-Hammer - a Milwaukee-based electronic equipment manufacturer - continues to rage.
Eaton Corp., which paid $115.8 million yesterday for the 2.1 million Cutler-Hammer shares owned by Tyco, said it would try to gain a majority interest in the electronics firm. If successful, Eaton said it would sell to Tyco all of Cutler-Hammer's holdings in yet a fourth firm-Leeds & Northrup
Of the 2.1 million Cutler-Hammer shares sold by Tyco to Eaton, 1.8 million were sold in one block for $55 a share. The $103 million deal was the largest in terms of dollars in the history of the New York Stock Exchange, exchange officials said.
The series of rapid-fire events began yesterday afternoon when Cutler-Hammer, which in a contentious battle has been trying for months to avoid takeover by Tyco, announced that it had itself acquired another firm - Davis & Wilder Inc, an electronics manufacturer.
Cutler-Hammer offcials insisted that the deal - in which Cutler-Hammer agreed to turn over a minimum of 25,000 of its own shares to Davis & Wilder - was not liked to Tyco's takeover bid.
Moments later, Tyco announced from its Exeter, N.H., headquarters that it had sold all of its Cutler-Hammer holdings - which amounted to about one-third of Cutler-Hammer's outstanding stock - to Eaton Corp., a Cleveland - based conglomerate that specializes in vehicular products.
According to the agreement. if Eaton should acquire a majority interest in Cutler-Hammer, it would attempt to sell Cutler-Hammer's holdings in Leeds & Northrup to Tyco. Cutler-Hammer owns about one-thrid of Leeds & Northrup, which is based in North Wales, Pa., and which makes measuring and control devices.
So Tyco - which said it earned about $5 million after taxes on the Cutler-Hammer deal - also could acquire a large interest in Leeds & Northrup.
Many analysts believe that it was Leeds & Northrup that Tyco really wanted anyway.