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    • Funeral home consolidation

      I grew up in the funeral business, literally in family funeral homes. My dad was a funeral director, the first and last in our family in that occupation. As you say, it's a father to son business and neither my brother nor I had any interest - we both became software engineers.

      He owned three small town funeral homes in Northeast Illinois which did a few dozen funerals per year. Buying those funeral homes fresh out of mortuary college was a definite financial risk for any young man starting out. He also ran an appliance store to make ends meet. When I was 8, he sold those and bought a half-interest in a funeral home in Missouri that does about 200 funerals a year. Again, another big financial risk for anyone in their mid-thirties, buying into a business with a business partner you just met.

      When you retire, who do you sell to when you don't have a son or daughter in the business? In my dad's case, he sold to his business partner's son who did enter the business and a long-time employee (and great embalmer). But those were 15-year earn outs and you need a lot of self-confidence to take on an obligation like that.

      I think that's why SCI and Stewart have been able to consolidate so many funeral homes. There's a limited pool of younger funeral directors who can undertake those purchases; they'd rather be employees. You see the same with medical practices which, in part, has driven consolidation from small practices to larger practice groups.

    • It looks like the home delivery service consolidation continues with Uber announcing they are buying Postmates for $2.6B.

      Uber previously tried to buy Grubhub, a deal that fell through with Grubhub selling out to Netherlands-based Just Eat Takeaway instead.

      This is almost like the Sweet 16 tournament. Are we approaching the Final Four?