DEATH PLANS TO BE PUBLICLY TRADED STOCK
Dover, Del. (SatireWire.com) — Big Blue, make way for Big Black.
Death, the undisputed market leader in the extermination of all living things, filed for an initial public offering today, promising to use proceeds to acquire hospitals, fast-food restaurants, toy makers and other entities whose products and services can be modified to ensure the lowest possible quality and highest possible risk. While analysts warn the strategy could discourage consumers and decrease sales, Death COO Dr. Robert Doom insisted the company's business model takes this into account.
"We'll offer dangerous products," said Doom, "but at affordable prices."
According to its S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Death hopes to raise $630 million in the offering, and intends to trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DIE. However, the company has no prior revenues, no current facilities, and no earnings, so while death itself may be a certainty, it's not certain that Death Inc. will meet the NYSE's minimum asset requirements. Death CEO Mr. Robert Death conceded the company's application could be rejected, but added Death is prepared for any outcome, and implied that the NYSE's board of directors should be likewise.
"Certainly the board could say no, and we would abide by their decision," said Mr. Death. "But should the board subsequently experience any kind of sudden, unexpected 'turnover,' then we will immediately reapply."
One NYSE board member, contacted after Death's announcement, said he forsees no obstacles to Death's inclusion on the Exchange.
Due to SEC rules governing companies that file to go public, Death is in what's known as a "quiet period," meaning it cannot publicly discuss the company's future earnings. However, its SEC filing does shed light on its plans, including a marketing campaign utilizing the slogan, "Got Your Boots On?", and a keiretzsu-style "Death Network" that will link each of its future subsidiaries in an effort to, "eliminate redundancies, increase efficiencies, and accelerate the transition from Life to Death."
Alex Brown analyst Daniel Newmedi, who has met with Death executives, said the company shows an impressive understanding of current business practices, exemplified by both its Death Network strategy and its Internet savvy. Death is concerned about the prosperity resulting from the Internet, said Newmedi, and while most Net startups will die, a good number will succeed wildly, and Death will likely react to that threat.
"I think we'll fairly quickly see a Death.com spinoff that will compete with (venture investment) firms like CMGI," he said. "But it will be different. Whereas CMGI nurtures and grows startups, Death's version will likely strangle and kill them. I wouldn't be surprised to see Death partner with Microsoft in that kind of endeavor."
Initially, however, Death is expected to concentrate on major corporate acquisitions. It's an ambitious plan, said PaineWebber Group analyst Kevin Teert, particularly for a company with no prior business experience.
"I think they'll do well in marketing, advertising, public relations - the areas where in effect they have some experience - but manufacturing is another world," said Teert. "There are ponderous issues there: facilities management, distribution networks, new product testing, to name a few."
Dr. Doom acknowledges that Death has its work cut out for it. Initially, the company and its subsidiaries will not seek to introduce new products or services to the market, he said, but will concentrate on overhauling current facilities to meet the company's "rigorous" product quality standards.
"We need to ensure that our products are of the absolute poorest quality," said Doom. "I don't mean simply substandard quality. Many of the companies we are in negotiations with produce substandard products now. We intend to achieve dangerous, reckless product quality."
But will that translate into positive earnings growth and a company investors will believe in? Surprisingly, most stock analysts say yes. "I think this is going to be one very hot IPO," said Brett Conor, editor with financial site BullStreet.com. "And I doubt you'll find anyone willing to say otherwise."
Investing in Death, however, is not without risk, as the company notes in its SEC filing. (see sidebar: Death S-1 Form). Medical advances and government regulation are listed as threats to the company. Perhaps the greatest obstacle, however, is its own success. If Death Inc. achieves its ultimate corporate mission - to kill all life - then the company would "necessarily cease operations," the prospectus notes.
The repercussions of Death's filing have been felt well beyond Wall Street. After the offering, Death will still own 65 percent of the company and retain managerial control, but by going public, it will have to abide by SEC rules, which require it to open its books. However, Doom insisted, regulators, journalists and conspiracy theorists who expect to find anything startling or damaging in Death's records will be disappointed.
"We've killed everything. That's it. That's the bottom line," said Doom. "And going forward, everything and everyone that dies, that's us. We did it. There's no story."
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