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(WBUR Boston)   Beloved Market Basket CEO ousted in family coup has put an offer down to buy back his stores: "You get... NOTHING. You lose. GOOD DAY, SIR"   (wbur.org) divider line 87
    More: Followup  
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3309 clicks; posted to Business » on 24 Jul 2014 at 12:27 PM (48 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



87 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-07-24 08:27:47 AM  
As a former shopper there... ATD ALL THE WAY!
 
2014-07-24 08:31:18 AM  

Into the blue again: As a former shopper there... ATD ALL THE WAY!


as someone who has never shopped there, I agree with this.
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-07-24 08:34:32 AM  
I wonder if it will be a leveraged buyout, meaning the store gets chopped up and sold and the workers lose their jobs anyway, or a genuine purchase of a business.
 
2014-07-24 08:51:29 AM  

ZAZ: I wonder if it will be a leveraged buyout, meaning the store gets chopped up and sold and the workers lose their jobs anyway, or a genuine purchase of a business.


I believe it's a genuine purchase of the business
 
2014-07-24 09:13:07 AM  
As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.
 
2014-07-24 09:23:05 AM  

Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.


I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link
 
ZAZ [TotalFark]
2014-07-24 09:32:31 AM  
The workers also told the Teamsters to fark off and stop trying to use the dispute as an excuse to take over, at least if you believe the Herald's spin.

The reason I asked about a leveraged buyout is, if Mr. D. doesn't have the cash on hand to buy the company he's going to have to borrow and the lenders are going to want to play corporate raider.
 
2014-07-24 09:33:27 AM  

somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link


I did miss it, though I have been reading.  I still don't know enough about the place and what's going on to make any kind of educated judgment.  That said, best of luck to the employees and customers.
 
2014-07-24 09:35:53 AM  
Fairly deep down in the comments, someone accuses another poster of having no arguments and just making "ad homonyms" which I feel is probably the most glorious grammatical error I've seen all month.
 
2014-07-24 10:27:18 AM  

Relatively Obscure: somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link

I did miss it, though I have been reading.  I still don't know enough about the place and what's going on to make any kind of educated judgment.  That said, best of luck to the employees and customers.


Basically... Arthur T. was a great CEO to the employees. Apparently every employee loved him, the employees were treated like family members or something. This is a family owned business, all the shareholders are family. The two cousins that had controlling interest have been at odds for decades. Arthur S. convinced enough of the family to fire Arthur T, the guy the employees love. They apparently saw little things changing and were afraid the company was going to lose it's focus and revolted. They don't want the chain of stores, 71 so far (they sell for less, that is the draw), to turn into another super market corporate for profit only business. They like mattering to the company.
 
2014-07-24 10:29:43 AM  

Into the blue again: Relatively Obscure: somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link

I did miss it, though I have been reading.  I still don't know enough about the place and what's going on to make any kind of educated judgment.  That said, best of luck to the employees and customers.

Basically... Arthur T. was a great CEO to the employees. Apparently every employee loved him, the employees were treated like family members or something. This is a family owned business, all the shareholders are family. The two cousins that had controlling interest have been at odds for decades. Arthur S. convinced enough of the family to fire Arthur T, the guy the employees love. They (Employees) apparently saw little things changing and were afraid the company was going to lose it's focus and revolted. They (Employees) don't want the chain of stores, 71 so far (they sell for less, that is the draw), to turn into another super market corporate for profit only business. They (Employees) like mattering to the company.



Edit to clarify, also I have no stake here. I just enjoyed getting my groceries for $40-50 bucks cheaper.
 
2014-07-24 10:40:27 AM  

Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.


Well then, everyone should shut up about it then huh? /eyeroll
 
2014-07-24 12:06:56 PM  

jylcat: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

Well then, everyone should shut up about it then huh? /eyeroll


Do you always leap that far in your interpretations of what people write?
 
2014-07-24 12:07:33 PM  
It's good to see that there's a company out there that has a CEO that inspires loyalty from workers at all levels of the company. I hope that they're successful.
 
2014-07-24 12:45:32 PM  

Lando Lincoln: It's good to see that there's a company out there that has a CEO that inspires loyalty from workers at all levels of the company.

This could be the Biggest Digression of the Week, but this is actually an argument I made in my RPG blog regarding my confusion as to why villains always seem to command so much more loyalty than the good guys.  Nolan in particular portrays the people easily influenced by the villains while Batman just can't get a little love.  GRRM doesn't even bother to explain why his villains command vast armies without losing sleep over massive defections.  I get that writers are largely inspired by Hitler (oops went there), but if you've actually read his speeches, he took care to cultivate his image as a populist.  More often than not, dictators are slaves to their armies (they're only as loyal as their next meal) and oppressive regimes spawn refugees and defectors by the hundred thousand.  You can threaten reprisal & violence all you want but citizens will weigh the risk of getting caught with the upside of GTFO.  Every single German spy in WW2 Britain was converted.  Almost 100,000 among those that laid siege to Stalingrad were Russian defectors.  Pretty much every civil war in Africa sends millions crossing some border or other by the million.

I think the other half of the confusion is that we just aren't used to seeing actual leadership so we forget what can happen.  In reality it's quite rare, but here's your answer:  When it happens your people will go to the goddamn motherfarking wall for you.  I mean, look at them -- they're abandoning the stores and being fired en masse and despite having almost no leverage with the new CEO (who cares little else other than to grab the cash and bolt) they're not yielding an inch. . . and it's all spontaneous.  They're not taking marching orders from a union or anything.  This guy ain't even a superhero; he's a guy who ran a business and actually wasn't a douchebag about it.

somedude210: /he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.

Yeah but this is more the exception that proves the rule.  I mean, it's a remarkable news story that it's happening at all, so it's not like it's going to make any other CEOs think twice.  I'm certainly not going to restore my faith in humanity having seen exactly one mass demonstration of genuine solidarity in my lifetime.
 
2014-07-24 12:50:04 PM  
warosu.org
 
2014-07-24 12:50:33 PM  
A family that Deals together Steals together.
 
2014-07-24 12:57:50 PM  
This sounds like a logical and well-thought plan that will benefit both sides and the business itself. Therefore, the company will most likely collapse and everyone will lose millions of dollars in the process because these people can't stop swinging their dicks at each other. In the business world, this is known "just another day".
 
2014-07-24 01:03:24 PM  
I LOVE my local MB. The employees are nice, the store is clean and the produce/meat/perishables are always fresh.

Wal-Mart is building a new "neighborhood market" directly across the street. It's SUPPOSED to be an upscale type place along the lines of Whole Foods, but I have my doubts. Add in the average Wal-Martian and the traffic sure to follow and... well, I'm not thrilled.
 
2014-07-24 01:03:25 PM  

ZAZ: The workers also told the Teamsters to fark off and stop trying to use the dispute as an excuse to take over, at least if you believe the Herald's spin.

The reason I asked about a leveraged buyout is, if Mr. D. doesn't have the cash on hand to buy the company he's going to have to borrow and the lenders are going to want to play corporate raider.


While you are right that if mr D does have to borrow it will be an LBO. But i suspect that otherwise your knowledge of LBOs is simplistic and obtained from such places as huffington post or moveon.org.

If Mr D and the "banks" think that the company is profitable enough to service and pay back any loan, then they'll negotiate a loan that allows for enough time for that to happen.

If, on the other hand, banks are only willing to lend if Mr D promises to sell 30 stores to Star Market or Shaws in the first year to pay back the loan quickly, then it's not the banks fault if that happens. It's Mr. D's for agreeing to such a loan.
 
2014-07-24 01:04:07 PM  

Into the blue again: Relatively Obscure: somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link

I did miss it, though I have been reading.  I still don't know enough about the place and what's going on to make any kind of educated judgment.  That said, best of luck to the employees and customers.

Basically... Arthur T. was a great CEO to the employees. Apparently every employee loved him, the employees were treated like family members or something. This is a family owned business, all the shareholders are family. The two cousins that had controlling interest have been at odds for decades. Arthur S. convinced enough of the family to fire Arthur T, the guy the employees love. They apparently saw little things changing and were afraid the company was going to lose it's focus and revolted. They don't want the chain of stores, 71 so far (they sell for less, that is the draw), to turn into another super market corporate for profit only business. They like mattering to the company.


Not only that but employees are well paid and receive profit sharing bonuses.

On top of that when the recession started back in 2008, Arthur T. chopped 4% off the top of all grocery bills at their stores, so it's apparently a customer-friendly chain, too.

And they hired co-CEOs -- the woman who ran Albertson's into the ground and Gooch, who ran Radio Shack into the ground.
 
2014-07-24 01:11:07 PM  
I have a distant cousin in this mess. She loves ATD. The other side of the family she says "is more business friendly, not employee friendly".
 
2014-07-24 01:11:35 PM  
Wait, is this a different Market Basket? The one I know about is in Southeast Texas, where I grew up, and is based there. This article says they're based in the Northeast.
 
2014-07-24 01:20:21 PM  

Lord Dimwit: Wait, is this a different Market Basket? The one I know about is in Southeast Texas, where I grew up, and is based there. This article says they're based in the Northeast.


The first few results from a google search brings up three separate businesses call "Market Basket." I'm not going to bother to see how many more there are.
 
2014-07-24 01:33:40 PM  

somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link


That's a very good article and I hope more companies learn this lesson and more employees press it.
 
2014-07-24 02:19:27 PM  
Came for Willy Wonka.

/leaving with nothing.
/again.
 
2014-07-24 02:20:01 PM  
I really hope this all works out, ATD becomes the CEO again, and MB stays a decent company.  But I fear that in the end, things will be completely farked anyway.

This reminds me that my 14 year old cousin works at MB.  I need to ask her what she thinks.  Should be interesting, especially because of her age.
 
2014-07-24 02:54:16 PM  
What puzzles me about this whole thing is that in some of the local papers people are writing to the editors in complete and utter shock that employees are striking in the first place and should just shut up and take whatever new management gives them no matter how meager. If the new board of directors wins out, employee benefits WILL be cut (wages, health care, hours, profit sharing... etc). If you know you're gonna get screwed by change in management and there's a chance to prevent the change, why wouldn't they strike?
 
2014-07-24 03:04:20 PM  

Dog Welder: On top of that when the recession started back in 2008, Arthur T. chopped 4% off the top of all grocery bills at their stores, so it's apparently a customer-friendly chain, too.


I thought the 4% off was only this year (through 12/31/2014).  Unless they took 4% off before putting the price on the shelf.  Still, they've been really good at pricing and if you buy during the specials you really make out.
 
2014-07-24 03:09:05 PM  

szyska: What puzzles me about this whole thing is that in some of the local papers people are writing to the editors in complete and utter shock that employees are striking in the first place and should just shut up and take whatever new management gives them no matter how meager. If the new board of directors wins out, employee benefits WILL be cut (wages, health care, hours, profit sharing... etc). If you know you're gonna get screwed by change in management and there's a chance to prevent the change, why wouldn't they strike?


Because people are whipped, beaten and frightened animals. Now afraid to speak up against their perceived betters. We have fallen so far and failed so hard as a people.
 
2014-07-24 03:10:15 PM  

szyska: What puzzles me about this whole thing is that in some of the local papers people are writing to the editors in complete and utter shock that employees are striking in the first place and should just shut up and take whatever new management gives them no matter how meager. If the new board of directors wins out, employee benefits WILL be cut (wages, health care, hours, profit sharing... etc). If you know you're gonna get screwed by change in management and there's a chance to prevent the change, why wouldn't they strike?


Rule #1: stop reading the Herald :P
 
2014-07-24 03:10:39 PM  

Into the blue again: Into the blue again: Relatively Obscure: somedude210: Relatively Obscure: As someone who didn't know this place existed until just now... meh.

I see you missed the story from Monday about protests. As someone wrote on WBUR, this is really a unique type of labor fight, in that the workers are revolting at the new CEOs for ousting a good CEO and are willing to burn down the business if they can't have a decent human being running the company.

/he later argues that this should be an example to teach business students that playing towards the Board's pockets is not the only way to run a business and we should stop that practice.
//Link

I did miss it, though I have been reading.  I still don't know enough about the place and what's going on to make any kind of educated judgment.  That said, best of luck to the employees and customers.

Basically... Arthur T. was a great CEO to the employees. Apparently every employee loved him, the employees were treated like family members or something. This is a family owned business, all the shareholders are family. The two cousins that had controlling interest have been at odds for decades. Arthur S. convinced enough of the family to fire Arthur T, the guy the employees love. They (Employees) apparently saw little things changing and were afraid the company was going to lose it's focus and revolted. They (Employees) don't want the chain of stores, 71 so far (they sell for less, that is the draw), to turn into another super market corporate for profit only business. They (Employees) like mattering to the company.



A large part of the feud is based on Arthur S's family accusing Arthur T of financial mismanagement and depriving shareholders of deserved capital. When questioned on it Arthur S indicated that Arthur T is to generous with employees pay raises, sick time, time off, Christmas bonuses and things of the like. Arthur S indicated that he and his family deserved that money, not the employees.
 
2014-07-24 03:14:00 PM  

enry: Dog Welder: On top of that when the recession started back in 2008, Arthur T. chopped 4% off the top of all grocery bills at their stores, so it's apparently a customer-friendly chain, too.

I thought the 4% off was only this year (through 12/31/2014).  Unless they took 4% off before putting the price on the shelf.  Still, they've been really good at pricing and if you buy during the specials you really make out.


This is again. I heard it on the radio in December. Arthur T recognized families where still struggling from the 2007 recession and instituted the same 4% discount program again.
 
2014-07-24 03:15:58 PM  

nyseattitude: A large part of the feud is based on Arthur S's family accusing Arthur T of financial mismanagement and depriving shareholders of deserved capital. When questioned on it Arthur S indicated that Arthur T is to generous with employees pay raises, sick time, time off, Christmas bonuses and things of the like. Arthur S indicated that he and his family deserved that money, not the employees.


I have no idea why the employees would riot over their takeover
 
2014-07-24 03:22:27 PM  

somedude210: szyska: What puzzles me about this whole thing is that in some of the local papers people are writing to the editors in complete and utter shock that employees are striking in the first place and should just shut up and take whatever new management gives them no matter how meager. If the new board of directors wins out, employee benefits WILL be cut (wages, health care, hours, profit sharing... etc). If you know you're gonna get screwed by change in management and there's a chance to prevent the change, why wouldn't they strike?

Rule #1: stop reading the Herald :P


Had a highschool teacher who said he'd rather be caught dead with kiddie porn than the Herald. I stopped reading when the Herald just seemed to be reacting to whatever the Globe printed.
 
2014-07-24 03:26:33 PM  

nyseattitude: enry: Dog Welder: On top of that when the recession started back in 2008, Arthur T. chopped 4% off the top of all grocery bills at their stores, so it's apparently a customer-friendly chain, too.

I thought the 4% off was only this year (through 12/31/2014).  Unless they took 4% off before putting the price on the shelf.  Still, they've been really good at pricing and if you buy during the specials you really make out.

This is again. I heard it on the radio in December. Arthur T recognized families where still struggling from the 2007 recession and instituted the same 4% discount program again.


Ah.  I don't remember it from before.  Either way, good on him to discount.
 
2014-07-24 03:35:10 PM  
I never heard of MB until the fark stories started to come out. Sounds like it would be a good place to shop and I hope the old CEO gets to buy it back. Looks like if the family has its way they wil want to turn it into a Walmart type store where the employees go in to just punch the clock and die a bit inside. Maybe the employees should go in with Arthur T and pool their money with him.
 
2014-07-24 03:41:55 PM  
I do almost all of my grocery shopping there, except for the couple of things they don't carry, or when I'm stopping at WalMart long after MB has closed. I really hope this goes through.
 
2014-07-24 03:56:23 PM  
Dog Welder:Not only that but employees are well paid and receive profit sharing bonuses.

On top of that when the recession started back in 2008, Arthur T. chopped 4% off the top of all grocery bills at their stores, so it's apparently a customer-friendly chain, too.

And they hired co-CEOs -- the woman who ran Albertson's into the ground and Gooch, who ran Radio Shack into the ground.


When was Albertson's not a shiathole?
 
2014-07-24 04:13:25 PM  

insertsnarkyusername: When was Albertson's not a shiathole?


The Albertson's in my town wasn't so bad.  I still preferred the Publix in the daytime, but it was still miles ahead of the Walmart when shopping in the wee hours.
 
2014-07-24 04:34:28 PM  

groppet: I never heard of MB until the fark stories started to come out.


You're welcome :D

/see fark, even in the socialist paradise that is Massachusetts, we still have assholes in business
 
2014-07-24 04:56:27 PM  

Teaser: [WillyWonkaYouLose.jpg 712×518]

Everyone who uses that meme should remember what happens before even a minute passes from him saying that line in that same scene.
 
2014-07-24 05:24:45 PM  

somedude210: groppet: I never heard of MB until the fark stories started to come out.

You're welcome :D

/see fark, even in the socialist paradise that is Massachusetts, we still have assholes in business


Difference is, we tend not to glorify those assholes like in other states.  I'm looking at you, Florida and Texas.
 
2014-07-24 05:31:39 PM  

RminusQ: Fairly deep down in the comments, someone accuses another poster of having no arguments and just making "ad homonyms" which I feel is probably the most glorious grammatical error I've seen all month.


I really wanted this to be true, but I can't find that comment anywhere.  I would have saved it forever.
 
2014-07-24 06:02:57 PM  

insertsnarkyusername: When was Albertson's not a shiathole?



When I worked at one in high school.

Of course, that was from October 1995 through August 1997.
 
2014-07-24 06:08:49 PM  
I live in Rockport MA, so unless I want to drive 20 + miles all I have are two Shaws, one Stop & Shop, and an MB. When this came down I checked out the S and S&P and saw that many items were from 30% to 50% more (especially since the summer dinks are now here).

Even with that hit to *my* wallet, I support what the MB employees are doing and I normally watch my pennies.

On the other side, I'm pretty sure that since the MB employees are not unionized, they have no income coming while they protest outside the store. Walking around our MB, it is a ghost town where normally there's shoppers and employees everywhere.

One noticeable thing is the MB employees don't turn and walk away when they see someone obviously approaching them to ask a question.

// BTW, since it is tourist season, why aren't we allowed to shoot at them?
 
2014-07-24 06:11:15 PM  

dragonchild: Lando Lincoln: It's good to see that there's a company out there that has a CEO that inspires loyalty from workers at all levels of the company.

This could be the Biggest Digression of the Week, but this is actually an argument I made in my RPG blog regarding my confusion as to why villains always seem to command so much more loyalty than the good guys.  Nolan in particular portrays the people easily influenced by the villains while Batman just can't get a little love.  GRRM doesn't even bother to explain why his villains command vast armies without losing sleep over massive defections.  I get that writers are largely inspired by Hitler (oops went there), but if you've actually read his speeches, he took care to cultivate his image as a populist.  More often than not, dictators are slaves to their armies (they're only as loyal as their next meal) and oppressive regimes spawn refugees and defectors by the hundred thousand.  You can threaten reprisal & violence all you want but citizens will weigh the risk of getting caught with the upside of GTFO.  Every single German spy in WW2 Britain was converted.  Almost 100,000 among those that laid siege to Stalingrad were Russian defectors.  Pretty much every civil war in Africa sends millions crossing some border or other by the million.

I think the other half of the confusion is that we just aren't used to seeing actual leadership so we forget what can happen.  In reality it's quite rare, but here's your answer:  When it happens your people will go to the goddamn motherfarking wall for you.  I mean, look at them -- they're abandoning the stores and being fired en masse and despite having almost no leverage with the new CEO (who cares little else other than to grab the cash and bolt) they're not yielding an inch. . . and it's all spontaneous.  They're not taking marching orders from a union or anything.  This guy ain't even a superhero; he's a guy who ran a business and actually wasn't a douchebag about it.


...and thus, why most corporations now hire and fire at the drop of a hat.  They want to make sure stuff like this doesn't happen when they make their power grab.  They'd rather eat the high HR cost of continuous hiring practices than foster worker loyalty, because they know loyalty gets in the way of profits.
 
2014-07-24 06:43:54 PM  

szyska: Had a highschool teacher who said he'd rather be caught dead with kiddie porn than the Herald.


Yeah, that sounds about right. Unless, of course, you were using it to transport a fish.

My wife and I have always been very happy with the MB near us in Somerville. It's good to hear that the people who work there are well-compensated even though the store always has cheaper food than elsewhere.

I find the whole idea of the rank & file workers joining with upper management in support of an ousted CEO to be an absolutely fascinating development.
 
2014-07-24 07:21:46 PM  

Lord Dimwit: Wait, is this a different Market Basket? The one I know about is in Southeast Texas, where I grew up, and is based there. This article says they're based in the Northeast.


Yep. We're talking about 70 stores mostly in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Short version: It's the best place to buy pre-packaged stuff. Significantly cheaper than the large corporate competing chains, by as much as 1/3.
The produce is acceptable, and the meat is adequate, but I often buy those last two items at their competitors, even if it is more expensive.

Personally, the 'Market Basket' business plan was working for the employees, it was working for the customers, but some of the family think they can squeeze out a few more bucks if they start running things differently.
 'Running things differently' likely means running the stores like the big corporate chains do, thus removing any reason for people to go to Market Basket over the competitors. One of the big chains pulled out of NH entirely, another closed several stores- so that's not really a 'safe' plan to operate your business, even from the perspective of a partial owner who wants more dividends.
 
2014-07-24 07:23:09 PM  

theorellior: I find the whole idea of the rank & file workers joining with upper management in support of an ousted CEO to be an absolutely fascinating development.


Every store I've seen is in open revolt against the current CEO'sand the family members who put them there. It's astounding, I've never seen it before.
 
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