Because legal entities are capable of worse crimes than their corporeal counterparts.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

This was an experiment in fear.

May 2007 - March 2008

RIP and PLEASE stay dead.

Monday, March 3, 2008

A lot of press about corporations in the local paper lately.

The article really speaks to how much of a legal haven Delaware is for corporations.

When it comes to selling Delaware as the pre-eminent legal home for Corporate America, Supreme Court Chief Justice Myron Steele knows how to seal the deal.

Last summer, the justice hosted an elegant dinner at his Kent County farm for two Australian lawyers here to learn about the latest developments in Delaware law. From the dining room in the antebellum-style home, the guests could watch horses grazing in the pasture. Two justices and a senior state leader were on hand to schmooze and extol Delaware as the Tiffany & Co. of the incorporations business.

"We were extremely spoiled in our time in Delaware," David Friedlander, one of the lawyers, said by e-mail.

Such are the lengths to which Delaware jurists and state officials go to nurture the state's golden goose, an incorporations stronghold that provides the state with about one third of its $3.3 billion in annual revenue. For 109 years, Delaware has cultivated its role as the best place to incorporate by carefully tweaking its constitution, laws and court.

But formal dinners with the state's judicial elite might no longer be enough to protect the pot of gold. Corporate scandals, outrage over lavish executive pay packages, and concern that the system is tilted toward protecting management have led to calls for federal intervention.

A rising chorus of powerful lawmakers has championed federal rules for how companies govern themselves, something historically covered by state law. So prominent is Delaware in corporate law that its rules largely determine the internal workings of most large U.S. companies.

A populist backlash against corporate misdeeds, or a sense that the nation's economic system is being undermined, could prompt Congress to pass a federal incorporations law that would take the entire business from Delaware. "Why are we allowing a state with an enormous financial interest to set the policy of corporate America?" said William H. Clark, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath in Philadelphia, who wrote last year's shareholder-friendly statute for North Dakota.

Imagine Delaware if the worst were to happen, said Charles Elson, director of the Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. "It would bankrupt us," he said. "Overnight we would go broke."

Delawareans most likely would face higher taxes with the loss of state revenue. Law firms would flee Wilmington. Legal support businesses would be left scrambling. The housing market would suffer, as would hotels, restaurants and caterers.

More at the link below.

Related Link

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Hersey Highway: The Hershey Company Corporation in Delaware

Facts about Hershey:

  • Company is over a century old (founded in 1894 by Milton S. Hershey, incorporated in 1927)
  • Nearly 5 billion in revenue in 2007
  • Net income of over 214 million dollars in 2007
  • Primarily deals in confections: most of the chocolate/candy bars you eat are made by either Hershey's or NestlĂ©. And actually, some, like Kit Kat bars, are made by both Hershey's and NestlĂ© and it just depends on what part of the world you live in whether you get it from one confectioner or the other.
The truth about The Hershey Company is that they aren't terribly interesting as far as corporations go; as far as I can tell they haven't fucked anyone too terribly (and if you ever go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, it's kind of cool, because the whole place smells like chocolate being that so much chocolate candy is made there). Like many corporations they buy other companies, but these are mostly just other candy companies. One cool and somewhat dubious thing about this corporation is that they use a trade secret-protected process for making their milk chocolate, known as The Hershey Process. The Hershey Process allows the manufacturer to use milk that is less fresh, thereby reducing manufacturing costs.

The Hershey Company makes Payday bars which are one of the best candy bars in this writer's opinion.

Friday, June 15, 2007

What The Fuck: AT&T/iPhone Edition

Don't believe the hype.

This post is about AT&T (formerly known as Cingular, formerly known as AT&T, formerly known as Southwestern Bell Corporation (Bell or SBC), formerly known as American Telephone and Telegraph [which sounds a lot like AT&T, doesnt it?] ). I decided on this corporation because of the hype behind Apple's soon-to-be-released iPhone.

I'd post a bunch of pictures and videos of the iPhone here, but chances are you're inundated with such things, and can find them on other websites. I know that of all the times I've passed the TV downstairs in the last week or so, I've seen iPhone commercials on about 20% of the time -- which is a lot, given that I'm just passing it.

If you don't already know, when you pick up that shiny new iPhone for $499 or $599, depending on what size hard drive you get, you're required to get at two year service contract with AT&T, one of the largest telecommunication corporations in the country. AT&T is a corporation so fully associated with telecomm throughout their history that their NYSE trade symbol is simply 'T.'

I won't bore you with all of the boring details of the history of this giant, their innovations in telecomm, the monopolies, the splits, the mergers, and all that stuff. The company is through and through a classic definition of a corporation. Given that it has such a strong history in telecomm, it was one of the first monopolies, and it was a "natural" monopoly. Don't take my word for it; the entirety of the internet is at your fingertips. Do a little research.

About a year ago, AT&T changed their privacy policy to say that they own your confidential information, not you. A year ago, when this happened, if you wanted to get out of your service contract, you could, because of this fundamental change to the user/company agreement. So you know, whenever a company changes something like this, you're free to drop the service, no matter how much time you have left on it. It's a nice way to quit.

Back to the matter at hand -- do you really want to spend two years with a company who values your privacy so little that they consider your confidential information theirs? I know the iPhone is shiny and pretty, but...fuck.

Do a little research, decide whether or not it's worth the $600, two years, and loss of civil liberty, and remember that for now, a phone is still, really, just a phone. When we have total convergence of communication and entertainment mediums in a few years, get back to me. For now, just put your boner away, technogeek. And think.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

"What The Fuck" Fridays: Baxter - A Company I've Never Heard Of

How do you get to be a corporation in the Fortune 500 without having your name widely known?

Shit, I don't know, ask Baxter (Google Finance Link). Maybe the problem is that I don't watch TV and generally stay away from financial news unless I'm writing these posts?


Their stock jumped 20 points over the last year, and it's basically been a steady upward climb.

Oh wait, hold on, the stock was around the same point it is today, back in 2002, and then it plummeted. I really have no idea what's going on with this corporation. It seems like a strong buy right now though, and in the past, except for that 2002 hiccup, it's been super-fucking-strong. Well, we can safely say that right now Baxter must be doing something right. Right? Right, I guess.

But what does Baxter do?

Well, it looks like they are primarily involved in the development and manufacture of unique medical products. For an example of one of their important innovations, in the 1950s, they were the first company to make commercially-available fake kidneys.

They develop a bunch of cures, treatments, patches, and bug fixes (lol) that appear to be more involved in saving lives, than, for instance, a cure for erectile dysfunction. Currently, they're working on a Bird Flu Vaccine.

The company did 10.4 billion in sales in 2006. Unfortunately for you, I have no problem with this, and no problem with Baxter. Seems like a solid place to me.

Oh, and about that issue in 2002, when the stock price basically rebooted itself? That was because sales were going to be below the company's forecast, and I guess the stockholders got shook! David Lothson, who in 2002 was an analyst for UBS (I have no real idea who they are but they are obviously a financial services company) said this of the selloff: "We believe investors have overreacted to weakness in the company's second-quarter Bioscience revenues." Yes, yes they have. (link)

Lastly, their stock is worth more than AstraZeneca's, which I think is great. I mean granted, they operate in different areas of medicine. But even so, Baxter is proof that you don't have to stay in the news and in the commercials to have a solid medicine-related company. Or maybe they do have commercials. I don't know. I don't really watch TV. Anyway, you don't really have to create a bunch of different cures that do marginally meaningful things/the same thing over and over again but just marketed differently to have a good medical company.

The only two Baxters I knew of before making this post were Baxter Stockman, and my second grade teacher, Ms. Baxter.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Short Update: Get Rich Or Die In A Shipwreck Trying

I'm almost done with my last paper of the semester. Finals are next week, but this is really the "hump," as it were.

"What The Fuck" Friday will return next week. Maybe. Definitely. Maybe.

A publicly traded company called Odyssey Marine Exploration found the richest shipwreck in history today. Estimates put the worth of the gold on board the ship at or around the 500 million dollar point. According to Google Finance, the business has 57 employees. If that money is divided evenly among those employees, that's nearly 10 million per employee; employees that were, up until this point, on a sinking ship, so to speak.

The shareholders are obviously happy. If you look at the Google Finance link above, it's quite obvious when this exciting news broke, because the price of the stock nearly doubled in value at that point.

So, when something like this happens, do the shareholders get a piece of the findings, or do they just get to keep whatever money they made from the stock price rising? I should look into this for a future blog post. As for now, I need to finish a paper.

PS - notice how the price rose sharply, then fell -- I bet this is when the people who were very disappointed with the stock's performance realized a good thing when they saw it, and got the fuck out of dodge.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Writing Hella Paper; What's Going On In The [Tech] News?

This is one of those weeks. Big paper due tomorrow. I'm writing it on 'Blaxpoitation' films. More specifically, the co-opting of Black films to make Hollywood money.

Cisco, though not incorporated in Delaware, revised their quarterly forecast and it isn't as strong as investors expected. This had a sharply negative impact on the stock. This, in turn, had a negative impact on other tech stocks. Did you know that Gateway's stock is worth less than 2 dollars? Yeah, neither did I. Wow. I saw that the shares fell 8%, and then I saw that they fell to 1.91, which isn't really catastrophic; it was only a 16 cent decline.

Apple's stock is worth over one hundred dollars per share. Unlike Google's stock, I think that Apple's stock is actually worth what people pay for it. They keep their investors happy. Not to say that Google doesn't, but...don't you think that nearly 500 dollars per share is a bit of a stretch of Google's worth? Actually, maybe not. We should explore that in a future post. Google is truly interesting these days...