When Norman met Warren A tale of Christmas past

Dec 24, 2008 | 10:18 AM |

With the news in early December that Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. had called a temporary hiatus to new acquisitions, it became clear that the age of consolidation in the U.S. service center industry hit a speed bump. After all, the more than 40 purchases engineered by the Los Angeles-based distribution network since it went public in 1994 has been largely responsible for Reliance becoming the nation's largest metals distributor.

But the era of takeovers was great fun while it lasted, especially for Norman E. Gottschalk Jr., president of Butler, Pa.-based Marmon/Keystone Corp., whose new boss became Warren Buffett last year when the legendary billionaire bought 60 percent of the distributor's parent company, Chicago-based Marmon Holdings Inc., for $4.5 billion, switching control from Chicago's wealthiest families, the Pritzkers, to one of the world's richest men. ....

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