WSL 1912-1934

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Stephen Stanger

Inquiry: 1902 JP Morgan has IMM with WSL as part of it.
1: Morgan dies 1913, who now controls IMM?

2: Did the WSL seperate from IMM to become independent at any time?
I mean, WSL had to be seperate of IMM to actually merge with Cunard right?

Brian Hawley

Stephen, Morgan did not own all the shares of IMM. His company helped setup IMM. This did provide Morgan with a large amount of influence but not total control. IMM's shares were issued to the public and as such available to any investors. As to your second question White Star did separate from IMM when Lord Kylsant head of the Royal Mail group bought them in 1927. Royal Mail agreed to pay installments to IMM for the purchase price of White Star. However due to mismanagement, debt, and the depression Royal Mail was never able to finish making the payments. As a result this sale was never completed so IMM kicked up a bit of a fuss over the Cunard-White Star merger. In the end IMM was obliged to accept a long term scheme that would pay off White Stars creditors including banks, the government, and IMM over a 15 year period. I am at work so I cannot provide exact numbers. Others such as Mark B. should be able to answer this with more detail.


Mark Baber


Morgan's death in 1913 had no effect on who controlled IMM. From IMM's
creation in 1902, the company was controlled by Voting Trustes with whom
the owners of IMM's stock---most of them the same institutional
investors as participated in Morgan's other trusts---had deposited their
stock in exchange for Voting Trust Certificates. The Trust was
terminated in February 1915 and the common and preferred stock held by
Trustees was distributed to the holders of the Voting Trust

IMM sold the Oceanic Steam Navigation Co., Ltd., to the Royal Mail Group
in November 1926 for £7 million, payable in installments. Of this
amount, £2.35 million was still unpaid when the Royal Mail Group, which
was overleveraged and undercapitalized, collapsed in the early 1930's.
In June 1932, the High Court of England approved the "Royal Mail Scheme"
for the break-up of the shipping empire Lord Kylsant had put together,
and White Star again became an free-standing, independent company as it
was prior to 1902. As Brian noted, IMM, a major creditor of White Star
(as were the UK and Northern Ireland governments), opposed the Cunard
merger in 1934, and went so far as to sue, unsuccessfully, to block it.
When the merger went through, IMM's claim for the unpaid balance of the
White Star purchase price became part of the 38% of Cunard White Star
which represented the claims of White Star's creditors.

In 1947, Cunard bought out that 38%, paying £2 for every £1 share. Of
the £7.6 million paid by Cunard, United States Lines Company, the
corporate successor of IMM, received liquidating dividends of $2,852,227
in 1947 and $62,607 in 1948, to extinguish the £2.35 million claim,
which IMM had written off in 1933.

Sources: Green and Moss's A Business of National Importance; Anderson's
White Star; Haws' Merchant Fleets; The New York Times, various dates in
1926, 1927 and 1947; The Times (London), various dates in 1926 and 1927;
United States Lines Company Annual Reports for 1947 and 1948; IMM Annual
Reports for 1903, 1916, 1927 and 1933.

Stephen Stanger

UH! Brilliant you guys, I'm eatin this up.
Thanks for your input!
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