Dueling Fools

Dueling Fools

The Chocolate War
Hershey Price (10/26/99): $48 15/16
Tootsie Roll Price (10/26/99): $30

October 27, 1999

This week, sweetness. Hershey (NYSE: HSY) and Tootsie Roll (NYSE: TR) produce more than smiles and their namesake candy brands. What's more? They have inspired this week's sugary Duel.

Rick Aristotle Munarriz (TMF Edible) and Paul Larson (TMF Parlay) are Dueling Fools. Actually, this week is more of a tag-team bout as Rick and Paul present the candy makers and their fundamentals -- side by side -- and then leave the final call up to our Foolish readers.

So, once you've digested the calorie-free bout, don't forget to cast your vote. Or, better yet, wash down those sweets with our Cola Wars Duel Flashback where we pitted Coke (NYSE: KO) against Pepsi (NYSE: PEP).

You Get to Vote!

Once you've read the arguments and the rebuttals, it's your time to cast your vote. We'll tabulate results each week and revisit them from time to time to see whether you were right! As always, we invite you to join us in the Dueling Fools Message board to continue the duel.

[Any suggestions, comments, praise, or flames, please send them along to the Dueling Fools Team.]

The Companies...
Hershey, the target of many a chocoholic fantasy, has acquired quite a few brands over the years. However, it has never honed in on privately held Mars -- the maker of the legendary M&Ms. It has also never won over Tootsie Roll.
The Numbers...
Looking at these common metrics of operating efficiency, it's fairly obvious that Tootsie Roll has a leg up Hershey. Its margins are higher, meaning that it does a better job of turning sales into profits. I was also surprised to see Tootsie's net margin at 17.8%, which is impressive for any company, but especially notable within the food industry.

Results for last week's Electronic Arts Duel

Answer Percentage
I can't make up my mind


TMF Braden's Bull argument


TMF Edible's Bear argument


They were both excellent


They were both lame