Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, June 18, 2007

Beware The Beancounters...

Don't You Mess With My Frosty!

Capitalism and Logic don't always mix, it seems...

The pursuit of the short-term profit at the expense of the long-term investment never really made sense to me, but you see examples all the time.

Like this one:
Wendy's says its open to sale of hamburger chain

DUBLIN, Ohio — Wendy's International Inc. is exploring a possible sale of the company, the nation's third-largest hamburger chain said today.

The company also warned that it's earnings for the year would miss Wall Street estimates.

"While a sale remains only one of the alternatives under consideration, we believe it merits more thorough examination," James V. Pickett, Wendy's chairman and head of special committee doing the study, said in a statement.

The company, under pressure from shareholders, formed a committee in April to determine how to boost its stock price. JP Morgan, as lead adviser, and Lehman Brothers Inc., as co-adviser, will conduct a review in conjunction with the committee.

A sale would cap a whirlwind year for the company, which has spun off its Tim Hortons coffee-and-doughnut chain, dumped its money-losing Baja Fresh Mexican Grill and laid off employees at its corporate office.

(Yeah, that's "its" instead of "it's" in the title, just like it was on the Chronicle website. Nice to know those "professional journalists" were paying attention in grammar class.)

OK, let me see if I get this right... You're in the fast food-peddling business. The Wendy's burger chain is the flagship of your portfolio, and by far the most numerous of your chains with 6673 restaurants. You've already gotten rid of two of your chains, and the two remaining chains, Cafe Express (70% ownership of 19 restaurants) and Pasta Pomodoro (29% ownership of 49 restaurants) would disappear without a ripple if dropped into the sea of fast food outlets.

So, would some finance person please explain to me how selling off 98.9% of your little cash cows is going to make your stock certificates good for anything more than ass-wiping?

I mean, sure, you'll be sitting on a shitload of cash, but anytime you turn a board of directors loose with that much coin, they usually fritter it away on executive compensation packages and undervalued biotech startups...

Anybody remember Burger Chef? They pioneered the "build-it-yourself" burger years before Fuddruckers charged you 5 times as much for the same thing. Hundreds of locations, and every one of them gone by the mid-90's. At their peak, they were the #3 chain behind McDonalds and Burger King. After the beancounters and stock brokers got through playing their reindeer games, they were history.

I'd hate to see Wendy's collapse due to being nibbled to death by the financial ducks. I'd also hate to see someone like McDonalds buy 'em up, and shutter them to cut off competition. I wouldn't put anything past that rat-bastard Ronald.