Major corporate mergers and acquisitions, like A-list celebrity marriages, don’t always work out. In 1968, the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads merged to form Penn Central, which immediately became the sixth largest corporation in America. In declaring bankruptcy two years later, the industrial giant foreshadowed the rapid failure of another Penn Central — the marriage of Sean Penn and Madonna. Some train wrecks can be predicted before the train even leaves the station.
What Were They thinking?
In 2014 Kmart and Sears merged to be like two sinking ships holding hands so they could hit the bottom faster. In a way, Sears & Kmart deserved each other — not quite the way Kid Rock and Pamela Anderson deserved each other but still…
Proving that love is blind AND deaf, in 2000 Time Warner saw a beautiful future with AOL. Sure, their marriage lasted longer than Kenny Chesney and Renée Zellweger’s; and the merger endured an eternity compared to Dennis Rodman and Carmen Elektra nine-day wedded fiasco, but Time Warner must have been trapped in a Time Warp to think that AOL was the company to have and to hold. On the other hand, they seemed to have grasped the concept of “till death do us part."
Speaking of Bad Marital Mergers…
Not to be outdone, in March of this year Nicolas Cage and Erika Koike announced their split just four days after their wedding. By contrast, Cage’s 2002 marriage to Lisa Marie Presley lasted three full months, which must have been exhausting for them both. My half-hearted sympathies go out to Lisa Marie, who tied the knot with Michael Jackson just 20 days after her first divorce. And we all know how that turned out.
For trivia fans, Drew Barrymore has had two marriages with an expiration date shorter than a carton of buttermilk (163 days and 39 days). Personally, I’m cheering for a Nicholas Cage and Drew Barrymore wedding to break all records for wedded brevity. I picture one of them calling their divorce attorney during the cake cutting.
Other Mergers I’d Like to See
This makes me think of some other mergers that could be very interesting. Note that I said interesting, which is not the same thing as successful.
I think I speak for millions of Americans when I say that I’d like to see a merger between Red Lobster and Red Box. How could a company like Red Lobster Box not be wildly successful when consumers can get a movie, fried shrimp and cheddar biscuits from a vending machine outside Walgreen’s?
And let’s hear some applause for a merger between Old Navy and Jersey Mike’s Subs. After all, why just putz around Percy Priest Lake in a pontoon boat when you can pilot a retired naval submarine from Old Navy Subs.
Celebrity & Company Mergers
Who better to buy Kentucky Fried Chicken than presidential candidate Bernie Sanders so that the new KFC commercials would feature Colonel Bernie Sanders. Just let that image sink in for a moment. This merger would ensure that Bernie has a job after the 2020 primaries; plus KFC customers would have access to free health care, which would be especially valuable to those who eat that gruesome Mac & Cheese Bowl mixed with popcorn chicken.
When Martha Stewart became a spokesperson for Kmart it didn’t help either entity reverse its fall. A celebrity and franchise merger with real possibilities, however, is Beyoncé teaming up with Bed Bath & Beyond to assure that from now on you’ll be buying your bath mats and place mats at Bed Bath & Beyoncé.
Now that Shaq is on the board of directors of Papa John’s Pizza, I believe a brilliant move for Eddie Murphy to re-ignite his career would be to talk Papa Murphy’s Pizza into a merger. Just think how much great the commercials would be for Papa Eddy Murphy’s Pizza.
Naturally, this makes me think a logical celebrity and food company merger is Tyson Foods and Mike Tyson. Mike Tyson Foods has all kinds of possibilities. Remember the scene in Rocky where Balboa is training by trying to catch a live chicken? Need I say more? The commercial practically writes itself.
And finally, why have just one celebrity in a restaurant merger? What if Jimmy Buffet and Warren Buffet combined their wealth to acquire Golden Corral? We’d have the Buffet Buffet Buffet. I believe Jimmy’s idea of a margarita fountain next to the dessert bar is winner. The original Golden Corral didn’t allow customers to sneak in empty Tupperware containers in their large overcoats and Samsonite purses. However, Buffet Buffet Buffet will be encouraging customers to bring full-size coolers on wheels in order to take home enough leftovers for the month. You’re welcome, America.
Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at email@example.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson