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We receive hundreds of prospectuses and annual reports at INC. every year, and 99.8% of them are your standard black-and-white look-alikes. Every so often, however, one comes over the transom that seems out of the ordinary.

A few years ago, for instance, Pizza Time Theatre Inc. came out with an annual report for children. It had cartoons and games and was generally a lot of fun -- which is more than could be said of the company. Within a year or so, Pizza Time had filed for protction under Chapter 11, and investors of all ages took a bath.

On the other hand, investors have had a ball with Ashton-Tate, the microcomputer software firm, in Culver City, Calif. Its stock price rose some 142% during the 12 months ended March 3, 1986 (see page 83). With much to celebrate, the company mailed out last year's results on floppy diskettes.

But perhaps the boldest innovation to date is the final prospectus for Kurzweil Music Systems Inc., in Waltham, Mass., an integral part of which is a prerecorded cassette that plays, of course, music performed on the company's electronic instruments. After all, how better to convey to a prospective investor the nature of the product?

Kurzweil claims it is the first time an offering circular has been published with a recording attached to it. If the Securities and Exchange Commission permits it, just think where all this might lead. Maybe we'll be seeing enclosures of other products in offering circulars and annual reports: ice cream, a heart pump, a biotech test tube, a coupon good for a week's stay at a detox clinic, a Jaguar. The mind boggles.

Last updated: May 1, 1986




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