Cramer: This Break-Up Story Requires Patience
In the last two years, Cramer has recommended 13 stocks as break-up stories. Twelve of them have outperformed the S&P. And that's 1 too few for Cramer.
If you're a regular Mad Money viewer you may recall that Cramer advocated long positions in Marathon, Conoco, Covidien, Fortune Brands, Sara Lee, Abbott Labs, News Corp, Mead, Westvaco, Post, McGraw Hill, Kraft and Dean Foods.
The idea here was -- companies can unlock value simply by splitting themselves up into smaller, more easily understood entities.
And, in fact, that's what happened.
On average, the stocks listed above are up 18% from where Cramer recommended them, and they outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 6%.
However, one stock lagged the group - Hillshire Brands, TICKER:HSH, the old Sara Lee meat division.
"I recommended Sara Lee as a break-up play back on April 12th, and a couple of months later the company did exactly what I told you it would, it split itself up into two different businesses," said Cramer.
But unlike all of Cramer's other break-up stories Hillshire has been lackluster. Since his initial recommendation on April 12th, the S&P 500 is up 6% while Hillshire has declined by about 10%.
However, just because the stock has declined – that doesn't mean Cramer is throwing in the towel – quite the contrary.
"My view is that Hillshire needs more time," said the Mad Money host. "This is a turnaround story that was always going to take years."
Cramer is a fan of Hillshire's strategy which is to reinvest in its business in order to take share in the future.
Here's what he likes:
- Hillshire is coming out with new products for household name brands like Ball Park and Jimmy Dean. For example, they've got Ball Park slider sandwiches and a Mexican inspired corn dog.
- Hillshire plans to revamp the packaging on its products in order to freshen up the look in the aisles and make the merchandise more attractive to consumers.
- Hillshire is boosting marketing support for its brands, while their advertising guys come up with new marketing campaigns to promote them.
"These are all elements of the turn, and I believe they could ultimately lead to an acceleration of Hillshire's business over the next three years," said Cramer.
That's not to say the stock is without risks.
Some pros expect the price of meat to surge next year. (Because of the summer drought more farmers brought animals to market fearing the price of feed would become exorbitant.)
Although Cramer thinks the concern is well founded, he thinks Hillshire may be able to pass along at least some of the increases.
At the end of the day, Cramer is still a buyer.
"This is like all those companies that restructured and then reaped the benefits later, making you wish you'd bought them while the restructuring was still going on. With Hillshire, you've got a chance to do just that," Cramer said.
"I believe Hillshire can execute a turnaround" he said, "and you want to be along for the ride, something you can do by buying the stock into weakness," he concluded.
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