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Dr Pepper goes private

February
28
1984

On this day in 1984, shareholders in the Dr Pepper Company accepted a buyout offer from a New York investment-banking firm, and Texas's preeminent soft-drink company went private. Dr Pepper originated in Waco in 1885. Wade B. Morrison, owner of Morrison's Old Corner Drug, employed a pharmacist named Charles Courtice Alderton, who often served soft drinks to customers. Alderton enjoyed experimenting with various combinations of fruit extracts and sweeteners. One combination proved enormously popular, and Morrison named it after Dr. Charles T. Pepper, a physician and pharmacist for whom he had worked in Virginia. In 1898 the Southwestern Soda Fountain Company of Dallas purchased the rights to produce and sell Dr Pepper, and four years later changed its name to the Dr Pepper Company. The Dr Pepper Company was officially incorporated in 1923. By the early 1980s changes in the soft-drink business led to decreasing profits, and the company began looking for a buyer. After the buyout, Dr Pepper sold a majority of its fixed assets and within a year had reestablished itself as the third most popular soft drink in the U.S. In 1986 Dr Pepper merged with the Seven-Up Company and soon thereafter moved its manufacturing operations to St. Louis, although the company's corporate headquarters remained in Dallas.

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