Can Kohler Keep It All In The Family?

The plumbing fixtures king wants to buy out dissident shareholders--at a price they consider absurdly low

The village of Kohler, Wis. (pop. 1,900), seems like a community frozen in a peaceful past. You see it in the immaculate, tree-lined streets and the aging foundry and pottery, where Kohler Co.'s workers have turned out toilets and bathtubs since the turn of the century. Aside from the introduction of robots into the factory in the 1970s and the transformation of a former workers' dormitory into a hotel, little appears to have changed since 1916, when John Michael Kohler moved his operations up the road from Sheboygan to create a company town amid rolling farmland about an hour northwest of Milwaukee.

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