Beijing-based Casper Inc announced yesterday plans to buy London cotton giant Jacob Marley & Co for $666 million.
“With cotton supplies squeezed — the amount of cotton stored in ICE-certified warehouses is at its lowest level since October 1995,” said Casper McFadden, a second-generation ghost. “We figured it was best to take control of the physical supply ourselves.”
He said that cotton was in demand among his clientele, who found it comfortable and easy to wash after romps through muddy graveyards. Silk, which casts a classier glint in the moonlight, often slipped off less graceful souls. And no self-respecting banshee would be caught dead, or alive for that matter, in polyester.
Jacob Marley & Co was established in 1836, providing white cotton to the nation. Sales usually spike during December, when tales of Marley and his former business partner Ebenezer Scrooge inspire mothers to buy new linens for Christmas. So the timing of the takeover, ahead of the end-of-the-year sales bonanza, prompted analysts to speculate that Casper paid a premium for the cloth.
China remains the top cotton consumer, producer and importer. It is expected to harvest 6.9 million tonnes of cotton this year, but that is down 4.2% from a year ago. Although weak external demand has meant China is exporting less, rising production costs have eaten into profits and cotton farmers planted less this year. And that has squeezed availability for ghoulish customers.
Catering to the spirits, however, may be the way forward. Casper said there is an untapped market in the afterlife — one that entrepreneurs should seek to service as global markets stall on political uncertainty.
“For years there have been debates in our community as to whether or not white linen was even necessary for apparitions. Why not wear what you left life in? Or why wear anything at all?” said Casper. “But the friendlier sorts, like me, prefer the clean look as it’s less scary to mere mortals.”
However, he also noted that some humans are easier to deal with than others. “Bankers are already very familiar with zombies and vampire squid and things like that, so we work together well,” he said. “We’re always looking for humans who share our enthusiasm for late nights and don’t mind rattling the odd chain.”
Lehman Brothers advised Casper, while SG Warburg advised Jacob Marley.