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The Argus Corporation, based in Toronto, Ontario, is an investment and holding company founded in 1945 by its President E. P. Taylor with minority partners Colonel W. Eric Phillips and Wallace McCutcheon and other investors.
Argus was once Canada's most powerful conglomerate; by the 1970s it controlled Canadian Breweries Limited, Dominion Stores, Hollinger Mines, Crown Trust, Domtar, Standard Broadcasting and Massey-Ferguson, as well as having control or significant shareholdings in other Canadian companies such as Dominion Malting Co., Orange Crush Ltd. and British Columbia Forest Products Limited.
By 1969, E.P. Taylor was satisfied to allow the very capable Bud McDougald to run operations. The company became so powerful that it was a focal point of the 1975 Royal Commission on Corporate Concentration.
Following the death of Bud McDougald, in 1978 his widow sold her shares to Conrad Black which gave him effective voting control. Black and his associates sold off most of the assets by 1985, and used the money to invest in media properties. In 2005 Argus controls only Black's Toronto-based holding company Hollinger Inc. Argus itself is controlled by Ravelston Corporation Limited -- itself a holding company controlled until 2005 by Black and his long-time associate David Radler.
A list of assets once owned by Argus:
- Canadian Breweries Limited - renamed Carling O'Keefe; sold to Elders Limited and merged within Molsons; now Molson Coors Brewing Company
- Dominion Stores - sold to A&P and now renamed Metro when A&P Canadian operations were sold to Metro Inc.
- Hollinger Mines - renamed Hollinger Argus Limited in 1978 and again as Hollinger Inc. (in 1985)
- Crown Trust - collapsed 1983
- Domtar - merged with Weyerhaeuser to form US company of the same name
- Standard Broadcasting - sold to Slaight Communications and re-sold to Astral Media
- Massey-Ferguson - reorganized as Varity and re-emerged as Massey Combines; name acquired by AGCO
- Dominion Malting Co. - acquired by International Malting Company Limited and operated as IMC of Canada Limited; later acquired by ADM Malting (a division of Archer Daniels Midland); now part of Malteurop North American operations
- Orange Crush Ltd. - sold by Cadbury plc in Canada and owned by Dr Pepper Snapple Group
- British Columbia Forest Products Limited - sold to Fletcher Challenge and later acquired by Norske Skog; renamed Catalyst Paper; sold by Norske Skog as Catalyst
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