Back in 1987, Chemical Banking Corp. pumped $2.5 million into an equity stake in Office Depot Inc. of Delray Beach, Fla. When Delray went public a year later, Chemical found itself sitting on top of $31 million in stock.

In 1989, Chase Manhattan Corp., together with a Columbus, Ohio, steelmaker called Worthington Industries Inc. and Ford Motor Co., spent $5 million to acquire Rouge Steel Co., a struggling steelmaker in Dearborn, Mich.

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