We at Atlantic Investment Company live and work by the values of a family run business: integrity, care, and good stewardship. Learn more about the story of the family that started our business, how our history is connected with a legacy of success throughout history of the Southeast and the United States, and how our family’s achievements inspire us to continue to innovate success into the future.
Richard W. “DIck” Courts, Jr attends the University of Georgia, where he was selected for membership in Phi Beta Kappa and Sphinx.
During World War I, Dick Courts served in France as a 2nd lieutenant with the U.S. 343rd Infantry Regiment.
In its first month, Courts & Co. arranged the purchase of Georgia Railway & Power Company common stock for a local syndicate. One year later, Courts & Co. became the sole underwriter in a public offering for the preferred stock of Georgia Railway & Power, which subsequently changed its name to Georgia Power Company.
The firm’s foremost asset was the financial acumen and reputation for the honest dealings of its young founder, Dick Courts, who placed clients’ trust as the first priority of his career.
His vision for providing industry throughout the southeast with investment capital for growth spurred industrial growth, propelled economic and social change, and created value for the firm’s investment banking and brokerage clients.
Courts & Co. provided diversified financial services to investment banking clients and individual investors throughout the Southeast and maintained a private wire link to New York City. Early success led to a branch office in Macon in 1927.
When Dick Courts became a member of the New York Stock Exchange, his first purchase was 100 shares of The Coca-Cola Company. Later, his memberships included the American Stock Exchange, Chicago Board of Trade and New York Cotton Exchange.
An eye for value and faith in Atlanta’s future led Dick Courts to invest in real estate. In 1936, he acquired 50 apartment buildings, the largest transaction dealing with Atlanta residential properties up to that time, and established Atlantic Realty Company, the forerunner of Atlantic Investment Company.
By its 25th anniversary in 1950, Courts & Co. had branch offices in 19 cities throughout the Southeast and also in New York City. During the Great Depression and World War II, the firm prospered by remaining true to its purposes: provide the best investment service at the lowest possible cost, connect clients with attractive investment opportunities, and facilitate the flow of surplus capital into promising companies.
In the 1950s, the company refocused on commercial real estate through the purchase of Southern States Realty, which owned the Hurt Building, a landmark in downtown Atlanta.
Over time, the real estate portfolio expanded with additional commercial properties, undeveloped land, and significant assemblages in two of Atlanta’s most vibrant commercial areas, the Midtown assemblage, comprising approximately 6.2 acres, and the Buckhead assemblage, comprising approximately 15.9 acres.
Courts & Co. managed, co-managed or participated in more than 5,000 corporate financings. The firm provided financing for Augusta-based Marks Oxygen, which became American Cryogenics and merged with Exxon Mobil. Cousins Properties was the final public offering managed by Courts & Co. before agreeing to be acquired by Reynolds Securities, Inc. in 1969.
When Courts & Co. was purchased in 1969 by Reynolds Securities, Inc., it was ranked by capital in the top 10 percent of America’s investment banking firms. Reynolds later became part of Morgan Stanley.
A portfolio of common stocks were also important investments. Following the sale of Courts & Co., Dick Courts and his nephew, Richard W. Courts II concentrated on creating value for Atlantic Realty Co. shareholders through a diversified portfolio of investments and conservative fiscal management.
Known for unfailing integrity, Dick Courts was active in business for 73 years. He secured financial capital for companies that became pillars of the Southeast’s economy.
To reflect its breadth of economic interests, the firm’s name became Atlantic Investment Company in 1995. Dick Courts died in 1992, passing the torch to nephew Richard W. Courts, II. In the mid 1980s, the Hurt Building underwent an award-winning renovation, restoring the elegance of its 1913 opening. This revitalization defied projections of a weak downtown office market, reclaiming its history as a prized address. The Hurt Building remained a core asset until its sale in 2006.
Atlantic Investment Company has expanded its focus by concentrating on global equity investments and private equity opportunities, as well as on local commercial properties.
Throughout his life, Dick Courts was quietly dedicated to community-building and philanthropic causes. As a spokesman for sound economic practices during the Depression, he chaired anti-hoarding campaigns. After World War II, he championed the creation of an international monetary fund and international bank to promote development. Close to home, his generosity benefited the Salvation Army, University of Georgia and other civic and charitable organizations.
In the 21st Century, the Courts family sustains this tradition through the Courts Foundation, established by Dick and his wife, Virginia Campbell Courts.