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Alex Rodriguez Lays Groundwork for Initial Public Offering

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NEW YORK -- In between rehabbing his hip and working the MILF circuit, Alex Rodriguez spent a wild weekend with several out-of-work investment bankers who convinced A-Rod of his potential value as a publicly traded company. Rodriguez immediately embraced the idea of being the first professional athlete to trade (presumably as AROD) on a major stock exchange.

"Alex, or AROD -- is tailor-made for an IPO: he's shown consistent earnings and growth and has steadily expanded into other markets through his real estate holdings and car dealerships," said Jeff Goldberg, a recently unemployed market analyst who hung out with Rodriguez over the weekend. "Plus, his global brand recognition will help accelerate distribution and penetration of new product lines. His upside is limitless, though I'm sure there are those in the financial community who will want to see better performance in the post-season, perhaps a ring, and a little less polish in his pre-and post game interviews, which makes people wonder if there's actual blood running through his circuitry."

A-Rod gradually came to embrace the idea, though it took some convincing to get him around the thorny concept of "shareholders" and the continual need to placate an always difficult to please bunch.

"As a Yankee and as a publicly traded company, he'd have to simultaneously satisfy two impossible to please audiences: volatile shareholders and surly Yankee fans unimpressed with his gaudy regular season stats and collectively embarrassed by his fragile self-esteem. And what if it came to pass that one of his underwriters was First Boston, or if A-Rod, Inc., took a position in a company based in a rival Eastern division city? Alex had nightmare visions of showing up to the Stadium and having to perform under a never-ending shit storm of fake AROD stock certificates. It's one thing dealing with poster-sized asterisks at every visiting ballpark, but getting showered with bits of worthless, unsecured paper, and at home no less, that's got to be rough."

The conversations turned a corner when A-Rod came to understand that most shareholders won't be Yankee fans, which will allow Rodriquez to create a fan-base beyond those who know him best.

"At the end of the day, it's not like investors are going to have to choose between Derek Jeter and A-Rod. They're going to look at the A-Rod, er, AROD story, realize in 5-8 years he'll have broken Bonds' home run record, by which time he'll be sitting atop a multi-billion dollar international conglomerate."

"But it all comes back to Alex - what happens when he's no longer the only publicly traded athlete? What happens if LeBron goes the IPO route and is initially priced higher than AROD? We're probably talking 3-4 years down the road, but still, will he sulk, will he disappear for two months in a self-pitying funk? It's a major risk factor to anyone contemplating an investment."

Stock broker Mark Levine, a longtime Yankee fan, vows to steer clients away from AROD stock when it becomes available. "If he shows me something in the post-season, I'll re-evaluate. Personally, I'll be looking to short AROD and making a bundle when his stock price takes a dive. I just can't wait to the day he steps up to the plate and his stats crawl across the stadium scoreboard...the .310 batting average and 120 RBI won't look so good when the stat line includes his $1.25 share price."

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