Monday, April 28, 2008

Tootsie Roll "Pops"; but Don't Get too Excited

Shares of Tootsie Roll Industries surged 6.4% today, due primarily to news that candy giant Mars will acquire gum giant Wrigley. In typical Wall Street fashion, the assumption is that Tootsie Roll won't be far behind. Don't get excited though, we've been down this road before, and still Tootsie Roll shares languish near 10-year lows.

The problem for Tootsie Roll is control; namely that Melvyn and Ellen Gordon control 80% of the company's B shares (with superior voting rights) and 40% of the common shares. Despite their advanced ages, the Gordon's don't seem to be in a hurry to exit stage left. Meanwhile, historically healthy margins continue to slip, a superior brand name languishes leaving a great deal of potential on the table, and opportunities are wasted.

Still, we hang onto our Tootsie Roll shares. Why? Good Question.

*The author has positions in Tootsie Roll (TR) and Wrigley (WWY). This is neither a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. All information provided believed to be reliable and presented for information purposes only. The author will not trade any of the securities mentioned (buy, sell, short) for at least two weeks following the date of this post.

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