Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Quest Diagnostics and a Buyout Puzzle

Apparently, according to one of my close sources, words of a buyout of Quest Diagnostics have been circulating for at least the last six months. I am told that a popular financial player had stated at least that long ago that Quest Diagnostics is primed for a buyout. I have referenced and linked on this blog to at least one source who would agree with that sentiment.

So since I was not aware of the fact allow me to clarify the record. First though let me humbly say that anything which I have written here might be
jumping the gun as related to the need to bring in a labor union in terms of any attempt to try and insulate employees from the shockwave of a hostile takeover, in the form of a leveraged buyout.

Perhaps there is something in the wind, perhaps not. But because of an attempt to unionize a department at the Teterboro Business Unit there are still questions which need to be answered by executive. There are still things to be said and issues to be addressed.

The supervisory team in the logistics department has been subtle in working their strategy in dealing with the matter. It still appears though that upper level of administration has been strangely silent. That could I suppose be attributed to a portion of the strategy that you don’t bring in the field goal kicker on the first down.

It might very well be that it is simply too early in the game to bring in the big guns. At this point in time it might only be necessary to utilize the lackey functionaries who at the moment seem quite content to remain separate from the propaganda machine. Perhaps the lackey’s have gone as far as switching loyalties. That is yet to be seen.

Someone once said that no person has entered so deeply into the bowels of hell that they cannot be saved by the grace of God. But even with grace sometimes knowledge is required before a person can reach out to receive that grace. Simply stated, grace is a gift offered and not a gift bestowed.

Sadly, apart from the supervisory strategy that knowledge is in short supply. And since the supervisory staff has an obligation to protect the department each individual supervisor might tend to follow their own line of reason in loyalty to the company.

In view of the fact that each supervisor has his or HER own sense of morality and integrity that individual might do things which not only violate the companies policies related to integrity, but might tend to mislead the individual employee as well.

In example, an employee might have serious concerns about a buyout. It might, rightly or wrongly, cause’ an employee to start to think that he needs a union representation in order to protect both himself and his fellow workers.

One supervisor might suggest that they have no knowledge at all about a possible buyout which takes that supervisor off the hook. The other supervisor might give the impression that SHE knows for fact that there is indeed a buyout in the works and that it is a good thing.

SHE might have suggested that it is in fact something being undertaken by a financial group headed by none other than former Quest Diagnostics C.E.O Ken Freeman a man who is considered by many to be a financial genius.

You will get no argument from me on that last statement. But to suggest that such a thing is the case is wrong if there is no truth to it. How is it that there is such a disparity between supervisory personnel?

One possibility is that the supervisor is simply grasping at straws. The other is that SHE has stated a known “fact” that no one is supposed to be talking about. That is possibly why executive is so strangely silent on the issue.

It’s like when you know that a great real estate deal is available and you don’t want to advertise it because if you do some other group might attempt to get in on the deal and cut into your potential profit or totally screw up the deal.

But then the factor of the union comes into the game and messes things up anyway. So how does one decide which is better for him or herself? If you decide that the rumored buyout is real than you must ask yourself if it is hostile and a threat to the current executive administration?

Is, on the other hand, a buyout as “suggested” by a supervisor, a friendly Ken Freeman type buyout which could only make things better through a complete financial realignment of a company which has always been fair to employees.

There is however a more difficult problem to answer. That is what if that union supported by enough signed union cards, which I understand is already in place, is voted down in a general vote? What if there is a hostile takeover after the vote is complete? It is reasonable to conclude that there won’t be enough people around next time for it to matter any longer.

This is why it is so important for executive administration to let the department employees know what the real story is. When they say get the facts before making a decision they are then obliged to provide those facts.

Executive administration cannot tolerate or permit supervisors to do nothing more than shovel loads of Bull Shit in order to dissuade the staff from considering a labor union. I don’t know if it might or might not be illegal from a labor board point of view. What I do know is that it is in opposition to the Quest Diagnostics code of integrity.

If you want to stay faithful to that code and if you want the logistics staff to have the facts which you ask them to get then please provide them. One of those facts is about the buyout issue.
Please allow me to offer timesaving assistance in that regard. Simply copy and paste the following letter as a response if it is in fact true in your view. Send it to Logistics so they can read “your” statement.

To All Employees of the Logistics Department of Quest Diagnostics Teterboro Business Unit:

Be assured that we understand your concern with the rumored buyout of Quest Diagnostics. The profitable, efficient and fair operation of this company is our main concern and a high priority. We remain dedicated to our employees. We sincerely hope that they will remain dedicated to us as well.

Even though it is the policy of Quest Diagnostics to not discuss issues related to the Market valuation of this company and the reasons for such valuation we want to assure you that we would never do anything in order to hide a factor which would cause any financial harm to any of our employees.

We fully expect to remain a strong, vibrant and successful company which will always look out for not only the shareholder but all of our employees as well. We will never do anything which places profit over people.

We as the members of the executive staff remain completely committed to the continued success of our company, your company, Quest Diagnostics, and believe that we in executive will remain in our current capacity as long as we continue to perform our assigned tasks in a professional manner.

We fully understand that our destinies are interlocked with yours and that we will always be available to all of you so that we can continue to communicate facts and share ideas for making this a great workplace.

We thank each and every one of our loyal employees for their dedicated service to Quest Diagnostics and recognize that without your loyal support we would not be the standout company which we are in our industry.

Thank you for your continued support and remember to always get the facts before making a decision!


And the entire senior leadership team.

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Steven A. Rubis, Owner and editor of Stock Research points out a few of the financial institutions which have shown interest in what this blog has to say about Quest Diagnostics.

He offers this comment: You state that Credit Suisse Canada has looked at my blog, but that is not the only investment firm. Lehman Bros, ABN Amro, Goldman Sachs, Paradigm Capital Management, LLC., and SEI Investments have glanced at the site as well.

Thanks for the input Steve.

Editors Note: Anyone wishing to express an opinion on this blog “Snake Oil Sam’s Radio Review” is welcome to submit it for consideration through the Contact Snake Oil Sam e-mail link located at the end of each article! The publisher assumes no responsibility for the content or opinion of submissions and might or might not agree with the content of comment.

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