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Sometimes Breaking Up Is Better

Friday, 4 Jan 2013 | 6:17 PM ET
Breaking Up on Wall Street 'Easy'
A company could unlock hidden value by splitting up its businesses, with Mad Money host Jim Cramer.

According to Cramer, a popular auto play would get a lot more popular, if the company announced a spin-off.

After sifting through mountains of research on Friday's broadcast Cramer concluded that "Johnson Controls could go to $39.80 on a break-up, a 26% premium to where the stock's trading right now."

Cramer said that Johnson Controls is essentially a three segment company:


"First, there's the company's building efficiency business where they make heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, along with building management and security systems," he said.

"Second, Johnson Controls has a big auto supply biz, where they make interior systems for the car, things like instrument panels, information displays, and especially seating."

"And third, the company makes batteries, both old fashioned lead-acid car batteries and lithium-ion batteries that are used in hybrids and electric cars."


As far as Cramer is concerned, these three different businesses don't belong under the same roof.

"What the heck do heating ventilation and air conditioning systems have to do with car seats or with batteries? There are no synergies here," he said.

However, if Johnson Controls were to break itself up, Cramer felt the three segments could better focus on their core competencies – and were that to happen each one would get a lot more love from Wall Street.

Here's why:

If the three segments were independent companies, Cramer thinks the Street would be much more likely to value the stock based on the out-years.

For example, the building efficiency division where they make heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems— is considered a late cycle business. This means that as the economy starts to pick up speed and we see more construction activity, this business should earn more.

The same goes for JCI's battery division. This is a high-growth business, and that means the earnings down the road should be a lot bigger than the earnings right now.

Even Johnson Control's auto parts business, which is a highly competitive business, should benefit as a stand-alone company, said Cramer. He thinks as the worldwide recovery gains a better foothold, bulls would drive shares higher as a bet that more cars will be sold.

Using the thesis outlined above – Cramer crunched some numbers.

"If we use the out years, let's say 2015 because I don't want to be too aggressive, then JCI's building efficiency segment could be worth $12.8 billion, its battery biz could be worth about $13.3 billion, and the auto biz could be worth $8.3 billion—add it up, subtract the debt on the balance sheet and you get a company with a $31.2 billion market cap," he said.

"That translates into a $45.78 share price. But because we're using 2015 numbers, we have to be conservative and discount the fact that these numbers are a couple years down the road."

"That's why I think Johnson Controls could go to $39.80 on a break-up, a 26% premium to where the stock's trading right now."

Read More: Johnson Controls Files Appeal Against A123 Sale to Chinese Rival

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC


Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

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