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Just hours after returning to the US, billionaire Industrialist Tony Stark announces he is liquidating his company


Less than 48 hours ago, news broke that Tony Stark had at last been retrieved alive from his captivity after going missing in January this year. In a statement released at the time, Obediah Stane, who had been filling in for Mr Stark, asked journalists to respect Mr Stark's privacy and his need to rest following his ordeal. It seems, however, that Mr Stark had other ideas.


Within quarter of an hour of Mr Stark's arrival on US soil, this publication received an invitation to an urgent press conference. Less than two hours later, Mr Stane announced Mr Stark to a room packed with the hastily assembled media. In many ways, Mr Stark looked unchanged; still impeccably dressed in an Armani suit, his beard and hair neatly groomed and presented. However, having visibly lost weight and with his left arm in a noticeable sling, it was obvious that his ordeal had taken its toll. Nor did Mr Stark present the customary charm we have come to expect from him, forgoing his usual easy-going friendliness in favour of a firm, authoritarian manner as he made his statement without allowing for questions or interruptions until the end.


Mr Stark did not explain the circumstances of his escape and refused to comment on rumours that he utilised a weaponised suit of body armour. Instead, in a move that surprised everyone, he explained openly how he had seen Stark Industries products in what he described as 'the wrong hands'. He announced that he was therefore firing all of his senior management officials and stopping all further production, effective immediately, whilst he begins the process of dissolving the company entirely. You can read the full statement here.


It is unclear what the legal ramifications of the announcement will be as Stark Industries is a board and shareholder controlled company. However, when asked whether they would go along with his decision, Mr Stark simply said he would 'handle it'.


Stark Industries share prices have already fallen more than forty points, losing more ground on an hourly basis as news of the shake-up spreads. If Mr Stark follows through with his intention to disband the company entirely it will be at the cost of thousands of jobs nationally and almost 100,000 worldwide; the worse job losses since the financial crash of 2008.


First to go, it is alleged, is Miss Pepper Potts, personal assistant to Mr Stark, who was instrumental in sustaining the company during Mr Stark's absence. Although she was not included in the original list of higher level executives included in the blanket firing, witnesses report that she was seen arguing with Mr Stark after the conference and was told to clear out her office.


It is understood that members of Stark Industries' board will mount a legal challenge concerning Mr Stark's mental competency, but as he has already been debriefed and cleared by representatives of the military, FBI and CIA this is unlikely to succeed. It seems that there will be a long and messy legal battle ahead and a further period of uncertainty for the employees and investors of Stark Industries.


Christina Wenzel, 28th April 2010