Former AMF Inc. Owner Irwin Jacobs, Wife Alexandra Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide

by Bob Johnson 0

Irwin Jacobs got cover billing in the May 1986 issue of Bowlers Journal International as a "Wall Street Whiz."

Irwin Jacobs, who acquired AMF Inc. in 1985 in a “hostile takeover,” has died along with his wife, Alexandra, in what is being described a murder-suicide. Both were 77.

The couple was found at their home in Minnetonka, Minn. In recent years, Alexandra reportedly had been suffering from dementia, and often was seen in a wheelchair.
Known as “Irv the Liquidator,” Jacobs acquired AMF shortly after the company had reported a $7.3 million loss for its most recent six-month reporting period. He immediately implemented aggressive cost-cutting measures, trimming the headquarters staff from 200 to 60.
Although he said he intended to retain a sizable chunk of the company — specifically the sports and marine products divisions that made Hatteras yachts, Head skis and tennis equipment, AMF bowling equipment and Ben Hogan golf gear — he quickly put units that accounted for 53 percent of AMF's 1984 revenues of $1.1 billion on the market.
Reports at the time described the AMF staff as “devastated” by the cutbacks. One employee who was let go described the atmosphere as having gone from that of a morgue to that of a cemetery.
Later that same year, a group of private investors in Richmond, Va., acquired AMF’s bowling centers and bowling products division to form AMF Bowling Companies. The reported purchase price was $225 million.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that a long-time friend of the family said that Jacobs killed his wife and then killed himself. Local police said their bodies were found in their bed, along with a gun. For that report, go here:

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.

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