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Thoughts of the Week

By Jeffrey M. Weiner, Chairman & CEO, Marcum LLP

 

A1 for You. Lea & Perrins for Me.

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A1 for You. Lea & Perrins for Me.
 

The big news this week was the announced merger of Heinz and Kraft Foods. The deal is said to be worth around $49 billion. Kraft shareholders will receive stock in the combined company and a special cash dividend of $16.50 per share, financed by a $10 billion investment from private equity firm 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

Kraft shares shot up more than 30%, from about $61 to over $82 per share, in the first 24 hours following the announcement. Wall Street is salivating, and so am I, but for a different reason. Just imagine the possibilities!

Velveeta Bagel Bites!

Bologna and Worcestershire!

Cheez-Whiz Ore-Ida Skins!

Forget the investment fundamentals. It's all about the snacks. Kraft Mac & Cheese for everyone! T.G.I. Fridays Mozzarella Sticks for breakfast!

You may know that Marcum has an office in New Haven, Connecticut. There in New Haven is a legendary dining establishment by the name of Louis' Lunch. Louis' is no ordinary luncheonette. It was founded well over 100 years ago by Louis Lassen himself, a savvy proprietor who knew an opportunity when he saw one. Serving a customer with no time to sit, one day in 1900 Louis quickly assembled an assortment of ground steak trimmings between two slices of bread that could be eaten on the run. Voila! The hamburger was born.

Today, Louis' great grandson, Jeff Lassen, still makes his famous burgers in the very same cast iron skillets handed down through the generations. But that's not the only tradition that hasn't changed. Louis' Lunch does not serve condiments. Never has. Never will. A Louis' burger speaks for itself.

Well. Don't tell Heinz and Kraft that. It might derail the deal. Louis' Lunch may not relish (hah!) the idea of burger dressings, but they have a history to uphold and protect. For the rest of us, please pass the ketchup. And I'll take a cup of Maxwell House (good til the last drop!) with a slice of pie. Don't forget the Cool Whip.

On anther note, published reports are saying that the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into the French Alps was a deliberate act by the co-pilot, who locked the pilot out of the cockpit, ignored his pleas for re-entry and steered the plane down to earth until it crashed, killing all 150 aboard. As someone who travels on commercial aircraft several times a month the thought of what happened to those aboard flight 9525 is truly frightening. Life is just so random. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the 149 innocent victims of this tragedy and may those who perished rest in peace.



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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

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