When I first came to New Haven, WTNH was owned by Capitol Cities Communications, which bought ABC, which was then bought by Disney (or maybe it was the other way around – who remembers). We thought it was a well run company, we bought some shares.
Today we received a notice. Disney has sold their radio station holdings to Citadel Broadcasting. Since Helaine and I are among Disney’s de facto owners, we will benefit.
Our 300 Disney shares gets us 23.038839 shares of Citadel stock. They won’t let you own fractional shares, so our stake was rounded down to 23 shares. We got a check to cover the rest.
It’s a check for 23¢!
It’s surely just boilerplate, but on the check is the inscription, “only twenty three cents.” “Only!” Don’t you think that’s a little judgmental?
I know this stuff happens all the time. I remember, thirty years ago, my friend Peter Mokover’s parents had a 1¢ check from LILCO hanging on the wall of their beach house on Fire Island.
What is the real cost of our check? It surely cost more than 23¢ to print and stuff it in an envelope. It cost more than 23¢ for postage. It will cost my bank more than 23¢ to process it. Citadel’s bank has processing costs too.
The check comes attached to a form explaining the whole thing. It says “Retain for your records.” Yeah, I don’t want to serve time if I forget to declare this.
I hate to propose anything that might smack of corporate welfare, but maybe it’s OK to let companies off the hook for this little stuff. We are going through the motions and no one actually gains in this transaction.
Actually, let me take that back. I got a blog entry out of it.