Where Does 'Oath' Rank Among the Worst Corporate Names?

Just when we thought things couldn't get any worse in the marriage of two former internet darlings, Yahoo! (YHOO) and Verizon's (VZ) AOL unit go and completely... Tronc (TRNC)  themselves.

The two companies revealed late Monday that once their $4.48 billion merger is complete the combined company would be called "Oath." The announcement comes after Yahoo said in January that it would rename assets not being sold to Verizon (namely its stake in Alibaba (BABA) and Yahoo! Japan) Altaba Inc., and trade under the ticker AABA.

Okay, but where does the new name rank among the pantheon of ridiculous company names? TheStreet isn't sure, but it must be up there with American Outdoor Brands  (AOBC) —former gunmaker Smith & Wesson—or the parent company of the Chicago Tribune, Tribune Publishing—or Tronc as it is now referred to after a June rebranding.

Doesn't anyone hire marketing firms anymore?

Anyway, even as we ponder Tronc, American Outdoor and now Oath, TheStreet must also consider other entertaining (or annoying, depending on your perspective) company names in recent history:

13. Butamax
13. Butamax

Butamax Advanced Biofuels, a joint venture between energy companies BP (BP) and DuPont (DD) , was established to develop biobutanol, a biofuel.

12. Mondelez
12. Mondelez

Mondelez International (MDLZ) spun off from Kraft Foods, now Kraft Heinz (KHC) , in 2012. The name is a loose translation of the phrase, "delicious world," found in several Romance languages.

11. Altaba
11. Altaba

Yahoo! (YHOO)  announced earlier this year that CEO Marissa Mayer and five other directors will leave the board after the sale of its main internet business to Verizon (VZ)  is complete.

The company also said what remains after the deal would be called Altaba. That entity will mainly comprise Yahoo!'s stake in Alibaba  (BABA) and Yahoo! Japan.

 

10. Analtech/iChromatography
10. Analtech/iChromatography

The Delaware-based manufacturing company was founded in 1961 as Custom Service Chemicals and adopted its current name, a portmanteau of Analytical Technology, in 1964. Nice job, guys.

9. Hooker Furniture
9. Hooker Furniture

Founded by Clyde Hooker in 1925, Virginia-based Hooker Furniture (HOFT) doubled its size in 2016 with its $100 million acquisition of furniture company Home Meridian International.

8. Siemens
8. Siemens

The German engineering giant generated revenues of €75.6 billion (then worth about $83 billion) for its 2015 fiscal year. They're German, but should we still give them a pass?

7. American Outdoor Brands
7. American Outdoor Brands

In an attempt to break the stigma around its original name Smith & Wesson said in November 2016 that it would rebrand itself as American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) . 

Pretty good marketing it seems, but will investors warm to the idea?

American Outdoor is down about 5% year-to-date, with its stock trading around $20 per share in early April. The company has a market cap of $1.16 billion and sales of about $780 million.

6. Oath -- Welcome to the list!
6. Oath -- Welcome to the list!

When Verizon closes the $4.48 million purchase of Yahoo!'s operating business, the New York telecom plans to rebrand the digital business containing the iconic Internet brand and the AOL under the name Oath.

AOL boss Tim Armstrong tweeted the new name on Monday, following a report on Business Insider. Verizon did not immediately say whether the Yahoo! and AOL brands would survive.
 

Billion+ Consumers, 20+ Brands, Unstoppable Team. #TakeTheOath. Summer 2017. pic.twitter.com/tM3Ac1Wi36

— Tim Armstrong (@timarmstrongaol) April 3, 2017
 
 

5. Couche-Tard
5. Couche-Tard

In French it means "night owl," which we at TheStreet kind of enjoy. But, in English it doesn't sound so great.

Alimentation Couche-Tard, based in Quebec and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is known simply as Couche-Tard, French for "night owl." Couche-Tard is a convenience store operator which recently announced plans to purchase American rival CST Brands (CST) for $3.7 billion.

4. Federal Screw Works
4. Federal Screw Works

Romulus, Mich.-based Federal Screw Works (FSCR) makes machine parts including locknuts, bolts, piston pins, studs, bushings, shafts and other machined metal parts.

3. Strategy&
3. Strategy&

PricewaterhouseCoopers acquired the consulting company formerly known as Booz & Co. in 2013 and changed its name the following year. Strategy& is pronounced "strategy and." It's not PwC's first foray into strange names: in 2002 the accounting firm named its consulting arm Monday. IBM (IBM) then acquired Monday for $3.5 billion. Strategy& is no relation to Taxand and beats it out because of its ampersand.

2. Splunk
2. Splunk

Software company Splunk (SPLK) went public in 2012. Last week, it reported that second-quarter revenues increased 43% year over year to $212.8 million, a net loss of $86.6 million, or 65 cents a share.

1. Tronc
1. Tronc

C'mon, what did you expect to see here?

On June 2 Tribune Publishing, the parent company of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times announced that it would rebrand itself as "tronc." The rebranding was much maligned and has been trashed since, though Tronc (TRNC) continues to fight larger battles. 

From the June 2 statement:

"Tronc, or tribune online content, captures the essence of the Company's mission. tronc pools the Company's leading media brands and leverages innovative technology to deliver personalized and interactive experiences to its 60 million monthly users. The name change will become effective on June 20, 2016."

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