Humor: Flip Side teeters on the brink

Desperate to find a buyer, the author/owner argues that "Flip Side is too small to fail" and therefore should receive a government bailout.
Crosscut archive image.

Steve Clifford, proprietor of Flip Side

Desperate to find a buyer, the author/owner argues that "Flip Side is too small to fail" and therefore should receive a government bailout.

Flip Side'ꀙs announcement that it is 'ꀜexamining strategic alternatives to maximize value'ꀝ stunned the business world. Under financial pressure, Flip Side tacitly admitted that it will be forced to sell, merge, recapitalize, or liquidate.

While Flip Side writer Steve Clifford blamed the recession, others cited incompetent management and senility as the cause of the shocking demise of this once-proud franchise. 'ꀜManagement was stuck in the past and could not cope with the world of social networking, Twitter, and Facebook,'ꀝ Wharton Professor Michael Useem explained.

An outright sale is considered unlikely. 'ꀜI don'ꀙt seeing anyone buying the entire package,'ꀝ James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley, predicted. 'ꀜFlip Side has little value as an ongoing enterprise. Its prime writer has not held a job for ten years, and he wasn'ꀙt worth much when he had one."

Potential buyers worried about undisclosed liabilities. Clifford is rumored to have as many as three unpaid parking tickets and undisclosed debts. Clifford dismissed these as trivial: 'ꀜFlip Side'ꀙs IOUs are trading at seven cents on the dollar. A buyer could retire them cheaply.'ꀝ

'ꀜThat might work for Flip Side'ꀙs IOUs to friends and family,'ꀝ Gorman remarked, 'ꀜHowever, the largest debt holder, Salvatore Casino, a.k.a. Clams Casino, a capo-regime in the Gambino family, is not likely to settle for 7 percent. Also, Flip Side may have undisclosed environmental liabilities because Clifford put glass wine bottles in the yard-waste recycling bin.'ꀝ

The obvious merger candidates appear unenthusiastic. Neither Evergreen Washelli Funeral Home and Crematory nor Bonney-Watson Funeral Home exhibited interest. Animal rendering companies including West Coast Rendering and Alberta Processing, calculate that transportation costs exceed Flip Side'ꀙs rendered value.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, doubted a recapitalization was feasible because 'ꀜFlip Side is already over-levered with a weak capital structure and poor posture.'ꀝ Lacking a buyer or a merger partner, it is likely that it will be liquidated in a series of asset sales.

'ꀜThere should be lot of interest in Flip Side'ꀙs pocket square collection,'ꀝ Dimon predicted. 'ꀜI can see them fetching bids in the low to mid two figures.'ꀙ'ꀝ However, Flip Side has higher expectation and wants to see something in the $60 range. 'ꀜIt has to have a six in front,'ꀝ Clifford demanded.

Goldman Sachs has been mentioned as one potential purchaser of Flip Side'ꀙs pocket squares. CEO Lloyd Blankfein revealed his company might also be interested in Flip Side'ꀙs olive oils. 'ꀜThey own some great names — Nuñez de Prado, L'Olivier, and Laudemio. But how full are the bottles? With good fill, collectively these could produce a 3-handle.'ꀝ Jamie Dimon was skeptical. 'ꀜOlive oils are hard to value in this market, but I would be surprised at anything over $25.'ꀝ

Clifford contends that Flip Side'ꀙs automobiles, a 1993 Lexus and 1991 Ford, have reached the inflection point and should now be valued as appreciating classic cars rather than used cars. 'ꀜThe two have an aggregate blue book value of $5,950, but they are worth at least $100 more as classic cars.'ꀝ

Flip Side'ꀙs most valuable asset may be ownership of intellectual property. It has the right to many epigrams including:

  • It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness, but better still is to curse the candle.
  • The early bird gets the worm but the early worm gets eaten.
  • A fool and his money are valued clients.
  • You can break eggs without making omelets.
  • You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds, nor hoot with the owls and soar with eagles. Stick to your own kind.
  • You can't take faith, hope, charity, fortitude, justice, temperance, and prudence with you when you go.
  • If all else fails, Flip Side may request TARP funds. 'ꀜThe government should bail us out, 'ꀜ Clifford argued. 'ꀜIf Flip Side is in trouble, we are all in trouble. This could be worse than AIG. It could precipitate a double dip recession. We are simply too small to fail.'ꀝ

    Treasury officials are clearly worried. 'ꀜLets hope there is good level of fill in those olive oils,'ꀝ Secretary Geithner cautioned.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors