Acme Plumbing, a company that manufactured commodes, discovered that they could sell a lot more commodes if they put a little twist on the sale. They would sell the commode to a middle man who would in turn sell the commode in fractional shares to people that didn’t want the hassle of owning a whole commode. Sort of like a time-share commode. The middleman would ”manage” the commode, so to speak, by providing service, cleaning, scheduling, etc. They would even provide attendants to assist the “owners” in using their allotted time on the throne. However, they didn’t want the middleman to make any money. They wanted to keep it all themselves. Now obviously not everyone was clamoring to be the middleman. So, the company created an in-house department solely for the purpose of being this necessary link in achieving their desired bottom line. They gave the department a name, Facilitators Unlimited, and even declared it to be a stand-alone company. As time passed FU grew and grew. FU had many employees and many managers. Everyone worked really hard at FU, but the harder they worked the more money they lost. Every month the managers would brow beat the employees about losing money and the employees would feel guilty and work harder. Work hard. Lose money. Lose money. Work harder. It was a vicious cycle. Then one day someone noticed that FU, this company that was supposed to be nothing more than necessary overhead, had a giant liability looming in the future. Retirement. Acme was going to have to pay retirement to all those FU employees. So they hit upon a plan. They would merge FU with another supposedly unrelated company so they could say that FU was no longer a subsidiary of Acme. But who would be stupid enough to accept ownership of a company that was never intended to make money? Acme had the answer for that. The money they would save on not paying retirement to all those FU employees would guarantee solvency for this new company. Heck, Acme would even loan the money to make it happen. So, the merger came about. The new company was called Facilitators Unlimited, 2. Now FU2 was made up of a company that was designed to lose money, but sometimes didn’t, and a company that thought they could make money, yet seldom did. For the longest time the investors, other than Acme, weren’t sure whether they were making money or not. Acme certainly was. Commode sales were better than ever. Periodically, Acme would purchase back part of this new venture, yet always denying that FU2 was a subsidiary. Finally Acme reached the point that they owned all but 1% of FU2. The remaining 1% is owned by someone who is guaranteed, by Acme, that he will not suffer any losses due to his ownership in this sham venture. I don’t know the name of this one-percenter. I’ve heard that he owns a string of laundries that specialize in washing currency.