Big Business in the X-Files: Where to Invest if You’re the FBI’s Most Unwanted

One of the things that has changed for me in the 13 years since this show was on the air is that now I’m a corporate sell-out. This was an unexpected turn, but that’s neither here nor there.

The upside is that I feel qualified to give some investment advice to our federally-employed heroes. After all, that government pension ain’t what she used to be. While the best option would be some kind of stock index fund, let’s say Mulder and Scully are feeling ballsy today and would like to dump what’s left of their salaries (after all those autopsy videos and oversized apartments and porn subscriptions) into one of the many companies they’ve interacted with over the years. Where should they start?

Tech

I'm going to merge your elevator with the ground floor.

I’m projecting a merger between your elevator and the ground floor

Eurisko (“Ghost in the Machine”)

Eurisko is a tech company of the old school, producing hardware and operating systems. In our introduction to the c-suite, we see the visionary founder Brad Wilczek being sidelined by the CEO, who is raining on the innovation parade with talk of downsizing and the bottom line. As a human, I say f*** that guy and his numbers, but as a business person, there’s probably a lot of unrealized cost savings sitting around in this company, if the only person running the show thus far has been the dreamer techie. The potential impact of a re-org is promising, but the Central Operating System’s budding sentience and string of murders are probably going to put a dent in the stock performance.

Compare to: Microsoft, HP

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Unexplained murders? That's what beta testing is for.

Unexplained murders? That’s what beta testing is for.

FPS Corporation (“First Person Shooter”)

FPS Corporation is a more recognizable tech company to modern audiences, chock full of intellectual capital but as yet waiting on realized revenue — though they presumably have quite a bit of pre-sales liability if they’re shipping their game that same week. No mention is made of any other games in their portfolio or pipeline, disturbingly, and as if that weren’t enough, the Lone Gunmen are invested. Regardless of whether their kung fu is the best, their investment due diligence is probably not, or they would be able buy some better lighting for their conspiracy cave. Or upgrade the VW bus. Or migrate TLG to digital.

Compare to: Valve Software, before Half-Life

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Hard Goods

It creates the shared delusion of dividends!

It creates the shared delusion of dividends!

VinylRight Corporation (“Folie a Deux”)

Our vantage point of VinylRight is through its network of call centers throughout the eastern US. First problem: call centers in the US. There goes half the margin right there. Second problem: most companies that sell vinyl siding have diversified into other complementary products (windows, doors), but VinylRight is sticking to its main competency. Although it may beautify while it protects, vinyl siding is also losing market share to other options, such as fiber cement and stucco. On the plus side, overall sales of vinyl are growing regardless, and the hostage situation in Illinois does not seem to have impacted the operation of the other call centers.

Compare to: Champion Window, minus the diversification

Recommendation: Hold, even after the murders

This company sucks. *sad horn*

This company sucks. *sad horn*

ElectroVac (“Paper Hearts”)

For all we know, ElectroVac no longer exists. No one on the series has one, except for a 1970s model holed up in Mrs. Mulder’s basement. It’s possible that ElectroVac moved into advanced vacuum cleaner innovation, or into other appliances, but it’s equally possible that it petered out in the 1980s. However, let’s be optimistic and say it’s a door-to-door vacuum sales company that survived into present day. It’s unharmed by its tangential association with a serial killer who targets little girls, and it’s a cheap buy after the recent market correction, so why not.

Compare to: Kirby Corporation

Recommendation: Buy, regardless of the murders

Food Service

Two all-brain patties

Two all-brain patties

Lucky Boy (“Hungry”)

Lucky Boy hasn’t surfaced in any episodes prior to season 7, so it’s clearly a west coast chain. The hiring model and menu offerings seem average against fast food competitor benchmarks, though the placement of 4 Lucky Boys in Orange County alone suggests that they could reevaluate their network footprint. It probably made the news that one of their employees is a mutant who eats brains, but this likely has less of an impact in the fast food industry than in others.

Compare to: In-N-Out Burger

Recommendation: Hold, even after the murders

Fingerbone-lickin' good... wait I can do better

Fingerbone-lickin’ good… wait I can do better

Chaco Chicken (“Our Town”)

Chaco Chicken is a vertically-integrated company along the chicken value chain, from the raising and processing of chickens to their distribution through a chain of fast food restaurants. Safety standards are questionable, though the company’s low-cost location in rural Arkansas is a competitive advantage. The closing of the company plants due to a cannibalistic cult run by the founder poses a challenge for the company’s long-term earnings.

Compare to: Perdue + KFC

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Consumer Packaged Goods

Not suited for use against Raisinettes

Not suited for use against Raisinets

Die Bug Die (“War of the Coprophages”)

Die Bug Die is the go-to insect control product for consumer use in the home. Its level of trust and brand awareness among consumers is such that even a target of government conspiracy such as Dana Scully feels safe using another product in the Die…Die line, namely Die Flea Die, on her Pomeranian. From an investment portfolio perspective, Die Bug Die is likely just one of a plethora of brands united under a parent CPG company. Stock performance in the long term is on track to beat inflation, especially if activist investors are successful in pushing the development of Die Bee Die in response to recent attacks near corn crops and related hanta virus outbreaks.

Compare to: Johnson & Johnson

Recommendation: Buy, regardless of the deaths incorrectly categorized as murders

Belgian Chocolate is my favorite flavor of canned sugar goo

Belgian Chocolate is my favorite flavor of canned sugar goo

Carbo Boost (“Pusher”)

Times are tough for Carbo Boost. Regardless of how many years removed consumers are from the Atkins trend, “carb” remains a dirty word. Between the paleo diet and consumer interest in organic products without preservatives, the market share for Carbo Boost is in decline. The product’s core demographic of telepathically-persuasive brain cancer patients provides little opportunity for growth, and even in the event that carbohydrates come back into style, unidentifiable chemicals in a can will not (…hopefully).

Compare to: Muscle Milk + Ensure

Recommendation: Sell, regardless of the murders incorrectly categorized as deaths

Whoever made this is a genius. Please inform me of their identity so I can credit them.

Credit and kudos to iheartthexfiles for this poster that I want on my wall.

Morley (a million episodes)

Morley is a powerful force in tobacco, a multibillion dollar company whose on-screen references date back to 1960. Nearly every cigarette smoked on X-Files is a Morley, and while 99% of those are smoked by one man, it still implies a level of market dominance not seen elsewhere. Smoking as a whole is on the decline in the US, but Morley would have to be an international player to reach its declared market cap, so emerging market growth is promising. New company research into tobacco strains that are engineered to reduce health risk also offers a peek at where Morley is headed in future years, though the research is endangered by tobacco superbugs that devour users’ respiratory systems from the inside out. No word on potential applications in e-cigarettes.

Compare to: Philip Morris

Recommendation: Hold, regardless of the murders

A case of Onans costs less than a bottle of water in some countries

A case of Onans costs less than a bottle of water in some countries

Onan Lights (“Mind’s Eye”)

Onan Lights have fought hard to persevere amidst the market dominance of Morley, and they have established a core market niche of blind women that see murders through the eyes of their estranged felon fathers. Without the ready cash flows of a larger company, Onan is struggling to establish a foothold in exports or to address new markets through e-cigarette R&D. The only ray of light is if the company can monetize its historical ties to Onan, Virginia and market itself as a craft cigarette, though this seems unlikely without a change in senior leadership.

Compare to: Cherokee Tobacco

Recommendation: Sell. Just sell.

Other

Stock performance would double if they'd stop providing the Collision Damage Waiver

Stock performance would double if they’d stop providing the Collision Damage Waiver to Mulder and Scully

Lariat (every episode with a rental car)

Lariat is the exclusive provider of rental car services to the Federal government, with locations in every airport that Mulder and Scully would care to land in. In addition, various examples in other TV shows indicate that Lariat has a substantial consumer business, as well. The economic recovery means a boon for business travel, and declining car ownership is a promising trend for utilization at Lariat’s non-airport locations.

Compare to: Hertz

Recommendation: Buy both the stock and the bumper sticker

... is she having sex with a mountain?

… is she having sex with a mountain?

Roman a’Clef (“Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man”)

It might not be the highbrow writers’ magazine you were hoping for, but Roman a’Clef has name recognition among non-Syndicate consumers and a broad distribution base that includes the streetside kiosk nearest you. Subscription rates have faltered in recent years with the death of print media, but the $2.50/issue newstand price has brought in a steady stream of impulse buyers unwilling to shell out $8 for The Economist. Rumored drivers of the magazine’s low cost structure include a loyal advertiser base and an anonymous army of underpaid, exploited writers that provide dramatic stories to pad each issue’s page count.

Compare to: Playboy

Recommendation: Buy, if only to support the anonymous writers

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