I found a few 100 sheet boxes of 4.5" x 5.5" double weight deckled edge E surface Azo, expired in 1965, a few years back. After testing and finding it was fine, I sold a box for what even I thought was a rather obscene amount of money.
The person I bought it from was happy to get a few bucks for "old junk" and my buyer was tickled to be able to print some really classy portraits for high end clients. No one got ripped off, despite some hefty profits realized by myself and my buyer.
Who ever bought up the Azo is taking a risk. All photo paper, even Azo, is perishable.
The only way anyone will make "obscene" profits is if enough photographers really belive it is the only paper that can be printed on. Its up to us.
Looking at the price hike in Illford MGIV, I wonder if MAS does bring a new chloride paper to market, if it will be more expensive than the horded Azo that will hit the market.
As a stock item, Azo could be had for about $.67 a sheet for 8x10. I am guessing as a finate stock, it may go to 2-3 dollars a sheet for those willing to pay it. MGIV rc is a about a buck a sheet right now, I bet a new chloride paper will be in the 2-3 dollar/sheet range, or more.
Bottem line is if you are dependant on something you have little or no control over the supply or the means of production, you are stuck with what you can get, at the price you can get it at.