An In-Depth Look at Wayne Enterprises
IPO Date: 6/05
Valuation:$98BOfficesHeadquarters: Gotham City, USA
Europe HQ:Londinium, UKPeopleBruce Wayne (CEO)
Lucius Fox (CFO)
Richard Grayson (Acting CEO, 2009 – 2011)AcquisitionsKord Electronics
Monarch Playing Card Co.
The Daily Planet
Consolidated Boomerang & Cape, Inc.Competitors:LexCorp
The League of Assassins
Wayne Enterprises is a company based in Gotham City with vast, diverse holdings specializing in technological development, applied sciences, charitable endowments, and grappling hook manufacture. Bruce Wayne, who holds an MBA from Yale, is the nominal CEO and majority shareholder, although day-to-day operations are overseen by CFO Lucius Fox owing to Mr. Wayne’s laissez-faire attitude towards his corporate holdings.
Wayne Enterprises was formed in mid-1880s when Alan Wayne consolidated the Wayne family’s two primary corporations, Wayne Chemical and Wayne Railroad and Shipping, both of which remain staples of the company to this day. While Wayne money can be found in almost every aspect of Gotham City, including the gothic Wayne Tower (designed by famed architect Cyrus Pinkney with funding from Alan’s father, Judge Solomon Wayne) and the more modern Wayne Enterprises Building that dominate the skyline, the company was solidified as an economic powerhouse under Patrick Wayne as a defense contractor during World War II.
As a privately held company, Wayne Enterprises seemed to reflect the interests of the various members of the Wayne family that took ownership over the years. Case in point, Dr. Thomas Wayne, whose research and surgical patents helped to build Wayne Medical as a powerhouse of the biotech industry. Similarly, his interests beyond his work benefited the company as well; a marriage to Martha Kane, the heiress to both Gotham City’s Kane Real Estate and the Vandergrift Steel fortune out of Pennsylvania. The addition of those companies to the acquisitions that had built up under the Wayne Enterprises umbrella — as well as the addition of business manager Lucius Fox — represented an incredible amount of growth for the company under Thomas Wayne’s tenure.
With the death of Thomas and Martha in a tragic mugging, the company was held in a trust administered by Fox and personal assistant Alfred Pennyworth until the Waynes’ young son, Bruce came of age. By his return to Gotham City after his education in various international schools was complete, the board of Wayne Enterprises had voted to go public, though Wayne remained majority shareholder after the IPO.
Today, Wayne Enterprises is primarily a technology firm. While the company is no longer defined as a defense contractor by any means, there is a considerable section of its resources devoted to developing technology for both the military and police forces. In fact, independent sources have claimed that several hundred prototypes are developed by the Applied Sciences division every year, although most of these are never put into commercial use and instead remain as one-of-a-kind prototypes. While it has made the WayneTech division popular with law enforcement agencies, the emphasis on non-lethal technology has cost the company several military contracts (which are usually subsequently awarded to Metropolis’s privately held LexCorp, a company that tends to favor an overwhelming amount of force). WayneTech has also been criticized for the failure of its security systems to prevent breakouts at Gotham City’s Arkham Asylum, though Fox was quick to point out that in the year after WayneTech was awarded the contract, there were only 432 breakouts at Arkham, down 2% from last year.
In addition to its businesses, Wayne Enterprises is also the primary backer of the Wayne Foundation, a nonprofit charitable organization in Gotham City. Properly named the Thomas and Martha Wayne Foundation, the charitable trust administers several smaller organizations such as Victims Inc. (benefiting the victims of violent crimes), as well as endowments to children’s homes, museums and the urban reclamation of Gotham’s surprising number of abandoned warehouses and amusement parks. The business side of Wayne Enterprises has embraced charity as well, and entry level employees like receptionists are often recruited through community outreach programs.
Recently, CEO Bruce Wayne made headlines when he announced that he would begin officially funding the vigilante known as the Batman in a “new era in the fight against crime” through the formation of a subsidiary called Batman, Incorporated. Wayne’s interest in the Batman likely stems from his own experience with violent crime as a child, but several investors have questioned whether Wayne’s noted incompetence in the boardroom will actually provide a benefit to the Batman, rather than a hindrance.
Needless to say, the corporate funding of a vigilante, even one as well-respected and tacitly endorsed by the law enforcement community as the Batman, is highly irregular. Fortunately for Wayne, the SEC is currently tied up with investigations resulting from the heads of 90% of the Fortune 500 companies being revealed to have been mind-controlled by the simian terrorist Gorilla Grodd.
Chris Sims is a Senior Writer at ComicsAlliance