Monday, December 18, 2017

Wikipedia Does Not Do a Good Job Covering Corporate History

I like to use Wikipedia to learn about the things I come across in life. For example, there are strip malls that have the title "Furniture Row" in many towns. These malls include a eclectic selection of "furniture stores." On seeing these stores, I've wonder is: "'Furniture Row' a collection of independent stores, or is it one huge store that presents itself as a multiple businesses?'

There was a page on Wikipedia that answered this question, but one of the editors at Wikipedia decided that the chain was too insignificant to deserve a Wikipedia Page and the editor deleted the page.

The Furniture Row corporation is quite large. Their web site lists 115 locations. These locations have about 300 pseudo stores. (BTW, the answer to my question is that Furniture Row is a single company with multiple pseudo stores to make Furniture Row appear like a row of different stores.)

It is possible that Wikipedia dislikes this marketing scheme. Making the departments of a store look like different businesses is a bit deceptive. Wikipedia encourages its authors to point out deceptive and controversial thing about firms.

Many of the Furniture Row locations are built on the outskirts of town. I dislike this type of construction as it encourages suburban sprawl. This is something that can be addressed in articles.

The press page of Furniture Row talks about how they give money to The Salvation Army and the Tim Tebow Foundation. It is possible that the Wikipedia editors dislike the politics or religious affiliations of the company.

To be honest. I have no problems with capricious decisions. Problems arise when one entity, like Wikipedia, dominates the information society. In such a world, capricious decisions have effects.

I believe that the information society is better served by having a large number of independent researchers on independent platforms researching things like corporate histories than it is to have one huge platform pretending to be the authoritative voice simply because is run with a group-think process.

In my case, I am researching the world from the community up. I live in the Mountain West. Furniture Row has a bunch of shops in the Mountain West. It fits in the category of things I am researching so I put up an article Furniture Row.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Examining Grifol's

As mention in the last post: I am examining acquisition chains.

I noticed an ad at a local University soliciting "plasma donations" by a group called Grifols Plasma. The word donation is a bit misleading. Technically what happens in you donate your plasma, but they compensate you for your time. Their site says people can make up to $200 a month donating plasma (I do not know if this is a good deal). They put the money on a prepaid Visa. You must given them your SSN and must have a photo ID. I suspect you have to pay taxes on your compensation.

I went to Wikipedia and found out that Grifols was a Spanish company. Wikipedia had little info on how Grifols entered the US Market.

Anyway, I went to the site and found the site listed 150 centers. The centers had names like Talecris Plasma Resources and BioMat USA. The site did not tell me how these collection resources were related to Grifols.

I googled around for the term "BioMat" and finally found that had something to do with a company called SeraCare. I then discovered articles that claimed Grifols bought SeraCare in 2002 and others that said Linden Capital Partners bought SeraCare in 2012. Linden has a huge list of companies which it bought and sold.

This is what I think happened. A company called "SeraCare" had two divisions. One division collected plasma, the other processed it. They decided to sell the collection centers and began rebranding them as BioMat. Grifols bought the collection centers as a subsidiary in their effort to enter the US market.

There ended up being a financial scandal 2006. So, BioMat collected the plasma. SeraCare bought the plasma. The CEO of SeraCare was on the board of directors for both firms. He was in charge of negotiations and accounting for both firms. This is a guaranteed crisis. A audit discovered discrepancies. The SeraCare stock crashed and several people fired.

The acquisition of Talecris went as follows: Talecris was created in 2005 when Bayer sold it blood processing unit to a private equity firm called Cerberus. Cerberus hoped to sell Talecres to CSL Plasma but was blocked by the FTC. Cerberus began buying up shares of Grifols. Grifols had a market capitalization of $2.36B in 2010. Cerberus arranged a deal in which Cerberus acquired Talecres for $3.4 billion. (The smaller fish swallowed the bigger fish). Cerberus is reported to have made $2B in this deal. The FTC tried to block this merger as well but failed since Grifols was a relatively smaller in US plasma collections at the time.

Examining acquisition chains

It broke my heart. Most of the small businesses that I've worked with over the years have failed. Something is happening in our economy that is systematically wiping out small businesses.

I wasted years trying to convince small business owners that the only way small business can survive in the Internet economy is if small businesses created mechanisms that linked their small business to the other small businesses in town.

Google wrongly describes the organic links between small businesses in a local communities as "link farms" and people are scared of Google.

So, I've decided to concentrate on acquisition chains, private equity firms, conglomerates and other entities which are accelerating the destruction of small businesses in our towns. As I delete the links to all the failed businesses in town, I am creating "information pages" for the big businesses which are displacing the small business. Once I have the basic structure in place, I hope to transfer the information articles into a database that will allow for a more detailed examination of acquisitions.