Back in the 1980s, when companies looked for ways to add shareholder value without paying generous cash dividends, some enterprising British companies offered perquisites. Perks. Perks didn't cost the cash strapped corporations very much, they increased business, and they made shareholders happy.
Once upon a time, I bought shares in a brewery chain which at the time supplied taverns with excellent beer, and owned hotels and restaurants solely because the perks were worth more than a dividend or capital appreciation to me.
May I suggest that the time has come for perks again?
Borders Group, for instance, Ticker symbol BGP (with a very nice blog) and an attractive price of around $1.16 per share could and should in my opinion --and with the consent of authors and publishers-- offer free ebooks to shareholders.
How about financial books and How-Tos at at the end of the third quarter, Romance in time for February with the fourth quarter results, Mystery in the summer for beach reads...?
AT&T could send shareholders a phone card. Marriott could offer shareholders a suitable number of "Rewards" points for their next stay at their lovely hotels. Delta could offer bonus air miles to shareholders. BP could offer a gas card. Procter & Gamble could offer myriad good and useful things... maybe a monster, downloadable coupon book? And the new GM, when it comes about, could offer new shareholders tickets to ride and drive parties.
Yeah. And if I had Mr. Whiteacre's ear, I'd suggest that GM's ride and drive parties for common shareholders should feature drives in Ferraris and Porsches and Countachs (which people really are keen to ride in just once) as long as those luxury cars compare reasonably favorably with Cadillacs, Buicks and Corvettes. Which I think they do.
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