Dustup In `Death Services'

The funerals leader makes a hostile bid for its strongest rival

In the three decades since its founding, Service Corp. International (SCI) has revolutionized the $15 billion U.S. "death-services" business. It has spent $2.4 billion since 1991 to buy up a string of funeral parlors and cemeteries around the globe, forcing an unusually fragmented industry toward massive rationalization. In the process, it has produced blistering growth from a mature business: Sales have more than doubled, to $1.6 billion last year, and SCI shares have soared 37% this year alone.

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