Absolute Metal

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Absolute Metal is a metal alloy company and mostly-owned subsidiary of the Gudersnipe Foundation. The Foundation owns a 95% share in the company and has effectively complete control. The original owners, the Wietzel Family, own roughly four percent; with the other ~1% being available on the open market. It is considered one of the most valuable stocks and has the highest single share price of any publicaly traded company(the Gudersnipe Foundation, by comparison, is not publicly traded).


Absolute Metal began sometime during the late Second Chaotic Period, on a planet that had by then already come under the full control of the Gudersnipe Foundation. At the time, Absolute Metal was little more than a family-owned business; they dealt primarily in scrap metal and were famous for their distribution network, having cornered a large percentage of the market. By the early Golden Age, they owned a chain of large refineries.

In A.Y. 112, Absolute Metal contracted with the then-new Gudersnipe Foundation to construct what would then be the largest blast-furnace in the Known Worlds. This was the beginning of the company's relationship with the Foundation.

At the time, the Foundation was looking to re-build its fleet of war ships, and needed a supplier capable of producing Steel-fired armor technology. Absolute Metal was judged to have "95% of the required resources and 75% of the called-for expertise". With that having been found to be the highest score, the Foundation purchased a controlling interest in Absolute Metal in A.Y. 113.

Founder Patrick Wietzel was initially unhappy with the buyout. While he had become exceptionally wealthy from the company's initial public offering, he was not well inclined to see his life's work absorbed into the Gudersnipe Foundation. The Foundation had, since the buyout, heavily expanded Absolute Metal, taking it into multiple worlds and using it as the primary refined-metal dealer for the Foundation's interests. This was, however, was at the cost of profits, which on paper the company was now losing.

Wietzel still owned around 40% of the company, with the Foundation's controlling stake at 49%, with 11% still trading on the open market. With the possible vacuum at hand, Weitzel made a grab for it, attempting to convince various investors and friends to help him secure a majority stake in the remaining shares. All tolled, Weitzel gained control of another 6%, only to discover that the bulk of remaining 5% already belonged to the Foundation through various subsidiaries and front companies.

In A.Y. 116, in a closed door meeting, Wietzel agreed to a buyout. There are some indication it may not have been entirely voluntary, though historians point out the number of zeroes on the check Wietzel eventually received was definitely "significant" (he was paid according to the value of his shares, including the massive amount of capital the Foundation had been investing). Part of Wietzel's deal was that he would retain 10% of his personally-owned shares in perpetuity, and would recieve "first cut" of dividends paid out by the company so long as the shares remained within his family.

Wietzel kept 4% of his company and was given a seat on the board of directors, with the entire rest of the board consisting of representatives named by the Foundation. He had effectively no control, but was allowed to see in to the inner-workings of the Foundation's business model. As one of the few outsiders with the opportunity to do so, he was surprised at what he saw:

"I'll tell you this, their accounting practices are bizarre. Money is scarcely treated as a thing, cash values are determined based only on paying workers. When they would make a purchase or a sale, values were assigned arbitrarily, since the company was to be "paid" by another subsidairy or by the main bank. They didn't care what it cost to armor a battle cruiser, not in hard currency. For them it was about time, man hours, transport costs - from the mine or the scrap yard through the whole supply chain until the time came to insert that piece of material into the finished ship. My dividends were based on that, so I dare say I was entitled to a fair bit more than i received. That said, I recieved quite a bit more than I deserved.".

Over the last few decades of Wietzel's life, he watched as the Foundation folded nearly every metal-works they acquired into the umbrella of his company. What had once been a nearly one-world monopoly now became a vaster, inter-dimensional empire, all of which he and his descendants would continue to receive a percentage of.