I took the advice of a former CEO (of another company) and started buying WEC several years back. Despite carrying the lowest rating at a popular broker's (you're supposed to dump all shares and replace them with something else when it receives an F), WEC simply kept rising, soon out-gaining the "sure-thing" bets I'd placed on companiess like Walgreen's, Coke and Hershey. And the div is still over 3% (which means that I'm automatically accumulating another 20 shares each year). What does it prove? perhaps that if some "expert" places an A or F rating on a stock, he's bound to be right at some point in the next 10, 15 or 20 years. In the meantime, you stand to make out big by ignoring the "expert's" rating or, better yet, reading it as a contrary indicator.
Common sense would tell you that Apple, which once featured Harman products like the H-K iSub and Sound Sticks, would have been a logical suitor. But they may regret shooting their wad (4 Billion) on Dr. Dre's Beats and not wish to chance making the same mistake again. On the other hand, Apple could acknowledge their mistake--following trends in pop music of dubious cultural value and importance--and go after a great venerable, respected name like Harman. Harman has taken the low road with some of its BT speakers that come with an energy-sapping "light show" (pathetic when compared with the digital colors of any screen.) The company would do well to learn from the example of Bose and its incomparable $200 Soundlink speaker, which is specially tuned to bring out both dialog and bass while suppressing undesirable frequencies..
What happened to this company? Was it the Cloud, Streaming, and the flood of Bluetooth speakers (and, for all the smartphone people, earphones?). The company's cap makes it affordable to a company like Apple, which spent almost 4 billion on a trendy headphones maker and its mascot. But HK iSubs were there in the 1990's. Somebody seriously missed a most logical, complementary alliance. If Steve Jobs were here, he'd see the sense of state of the art equipment at the receiving the end of the iPods and its successors--at home and on the road.
Mondelez may be a favorite holding of the big fund managers, representing a disproportionately large percentage of many portfolios. But it's a corporation overseeing the management and distribution of numerous "snack foods," none of them approaching the widespread recognition and high consumer regard of Hershey candies. Hershey is, like Coke, an American "brand,"-- a symbol of the personal past in the consciousness of millions of consumers of every generation.
In the hit TV series, "Mad Men" (about Madison Avenue in the '60s) , Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a once respected but disgraced creative director of the ad agency Sterling Cooper, gives a climactic, emotional speech so powerful it not only wins the account but restores him to favor. He holds up a Hershey Bar and proceeds to narrate the story of a young boy who goes to bed each night unloved, desperately lonely, feeling unwanted and unneeded. The only thing left him is the anticipation and excitement of consuming a Hershey Bar, which he could purchase after collecting spare change from the employees in the brothel where his mother worked. The "pitch" sounds perhaps silly in the retelling, but as told by Don (who, of course, IS the boy in this autobiographical, personal story) it comes across as sincere, even compelling drama, joining the attraction to the sweetness, soft warmth and deep satisfaction of a Hershey Bar with the spiritual / emotional needs of a "motherless child."
Again, Hershey should not take lightly the importance of their Hershey Bar, Kisses, and Twizzlers Peel-n-Pull candy (perhaps the most sensual of all). Notice that the word "chocolate" is gratuitous when referring to this universally beloved brand. Even apart from the prospects of bigger profits, it would be a sad day to see the Hershey tradition destroyed by the inevitable appearance of administrators who come up with the "New Coke", or a cheaper and faster way to brew Schlitz Beer, or a Hershey Bar that tastes like a Nestle product.