Home Improvement At Black & Decker

It's getting back in the groove, and Wall Street has noticed

As Black & Decker Corp. Chief Executive Nolan D. Archibald tells it, the timing was perfect. In early 1998, he announced plans to unload a handful of underperforming and peripheral units. After nearly a decade of managing a hodgepodge of businesses, Black & Decker would focus on its strengths: power tools and home-improvement products. The businesses for sale had been improved, and a booming market made it a great moment to sell. With its best balance sheet in years, the company could absorb the cost of the makeover, including a $900 million write-off. "It all came together at the right time," says Archibald.

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