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Case Study: Syco Inc. (SI). Syco, Inc. (SI) was founded in the late 1800s and grew through acquisitions from being primarily a large discount...
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Case Study:Syco Inc. (SI).

Syco, Inc. (SI) was founded in the late 1800s and grew through acquisitions from being primarily a large discount retailer into a highly diversified firm. Beyond retailing (still SI's dominant business), by the middle of the 1990s its lines of business included significant market positions in insurance, consumer credit cards, stock brokerage, commercial and residential real estate brokerage, and an online Internet portal. Each of the non-retail businesses was average in its relative industry performance. Consistent with the decentralized structure at SI and arms-length corporate oversight, each of these businesses was also rapidly developing their own unique brands and customer following. However, within a short period of time it became apparent that the retail business was failing. SI's vast mall-based department store holdings were suffering from deferred maintenance and merchandising that did not appear to be popular with its once large consumer base. At the same time, highly efficient and focused low-cost competitors like Wal-Mart were beginning to take significant market share from SI. On the verge of bankruptcy by early 2000, SI's management chose to sell off its insurance, real estate and stock brokerage units; it also spun off its credit card and portal businesses in separate public offerings.

QUESTIONS TO ANSWER/DISCUSS:

1. Why do you suppose SI entered the non-retail businesses through acquisition? Is this a cheaper route than starting up these businesses from scratch?  Please explain in detail.

2. Why do you suppose that SI sold off or spun-off its non-retail business
Es? Please explain in detail.

Step-by-step answer

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Subject: Business, Management

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