Hershey Is Not Just A Candy Bar

Time for another Gooberhead Award [Beanie cap breakdown] - presented periodically to someone in the news who has their tongue going 100 miles per hour ... but forgot to put their brains in gear.

Today's Goober is Ken Lefkowitz, who got his tongue going in response to the proposed sale of the Hershey Foods Corporation. Hershey, the famed maker of Chocolate Kisses and other delights, is more than a corporation, it's also a town in Pennsylvania, where more than a third of the 15,000 citizens work for the company. Indeed, in a very real sense, the workers and townspeople are Hershey, having lovingly sustained the corporation - and vice versa - for generations.

But Hershey Inc.'s top shareholder says it can make a tidy profit by selling the chocolate maker. Sure enough Philip Morris, Nestlé, and Cadbury Schweppes have rushed forward to bid, and the sale price could go as high as $15 billion.

But, wait a minute, say the townspeople, local officials, workers, and some of the other shareholders - what about us? The potential buyers, two of which are foreign-based, are huge conglomerates that don't give a damn about Hershey, Pennsylvania. They're not part of the community and are likely to slash jobs, merge brands, and even move the company. The sale could cripple the local economy and destroy an entire town's identity. In response, the Pennsylvania attorney general got a temporary injunction to block the rushed up sale, slowing the process so the public interest can be considered.

This is when Lefkowitz earned his Gooberhead Award. He's a partner in a Wall Street mergers firm, and the idea that the public interest should even be a factor in a corporate transaction flabbergasted him: "It's an outrage," Ken spewed when he heard about the injunction.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Of course, the real outrage is that investor elites like Lefkowitz think they're all that matter, and that people whose lives are turned upside down by corporate whim should have no voice. What a bunch of Goobers.


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