When General Electric announced last month it would split into three companies, and Johnson & Johnson announced it would divide in two, investors and analysts starting looking around and asking: Who's next?
Some looked to Maplewood-based 3M, which has four distinct business units: health care; consumer goods; transportation and electronics; and safety and industrial.
But if a split-up is possible for the 119-year-old company, it is probably not pending.
"The big split-up of companies is the focus today. For us, it's really about back to, fundamentally, where do we create value," 3M chief executive Mike Roman said during Thursday's Credit Suisse Virtual Industrials Conference. "I'm not going to predict where we are going to go, but that's what drives us."
Roman said 3M's portfolio of businesses will be shaped "around the fundamental strengths where we are uniquely positioned and have the ability to differentiate value for customers and returns for shareholders."
"We have a history as a company of shifting our portfolio to where we can uniquely drive value," he said. "That increasingly over the past decade has included divestitures."
General Electric split up after its stock value dropped more than 50% over the past five years, wiping out $100 billion in market valuation. In the same time, 3M stock has been flat, and on Thursday was trading at almost the same dollar amount it was on Dec. 2, 2016.
Credit Suisse analyst John Walsh pointed out that 3M is "a materials science company" as opposed to an original equipment manufacturer. The way the company's technology crosses business segments makes it less of a textbook conglomerate ripe for a breakup.
But, Roman said, it all comes down to "value for customers and returns for shareholders."
"It's going to guide us in how we think about the portfolio we have today versus the portfolio we will have a generation from now."