UPS Attempts to Deliver Itself a Bundle of Cash

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Do Porsches come in chocolate brown? After 92 years as an employee-owned, privately held bastion of brown-suited Americana, UPS has heard the stock market’s siren song. The company will sell 10 percent of itself in a public offering later this year. And TIME Wall Street columnist Daniel Kadlec says this brown-paper package is going to go like hotcakes. "This is the most direct nondirect way to get invested in the Internet," he says. "Fed Ex stock has done very well as a way to cash in on the e-tailing boom through shipping –- and UPS ships four times as many packages as Fed Ex. If they don’t price it through the roof, this is going to be a great stock to own."

Don’t think UPS doesn’t know that. At a time when the Great Dot-Com Shakeout has seemingly begun, casting doubt on money-losing e-tailers like Amazon.com, the Street still knows that somebody’s going to get rich selling stuff online. Which makes a safe bet like UPS –- the guys who deliver it to you –- doubly attractive. "They’re obviously cashing in on the Internet craze," Kadlec says. "They’ve waited 92 years, and they have no desperate need for the cash. This is just too good an opportunity to pass up." Nobody deserves a little taste of Internet riches more than the men in brown –- remember, this is a company whose 15 top executives all started out sorting packages, and in which lifetime employment is practiced with an almost Japanese frequency. But don’t be too surprised if the next thing you get from your friendly UPS guy is a postcard from the Riviera.