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Value quest: 2 companies Cramer says should break apart

Sometimes people just don't belong together. They're both better and better off going their separate ways. The same can be true for business units within larger companies. They too can be better apart.

Therefore, if an investor can identify a good company with solid fundamentals that's made up of business units that would perform better apart, Cramer thinks the stock warrants attention before the value is unlocked.

It's a theme that Cramer has talked about many times on Mad Money and one which he details in his soon to be released book, Get Rich Carefully.

Also in the book, Cramer identifies 10 companies he thinks could be well served by breaking up right now. Two of them follow. (You'll need to pick up the book if you want to know about the rest.)




Don Bayley | Vetta | Getty Images

1. Merck

"These days, Merck's stock has become your classic slow-moving big pharma dinosaur," Cramer said. "Merck doesn't get nearly enough credit for its components."

However, the Mad Money host believes that by spinning off at least one unit and possibly two, the Street would begin to view those units within Merck differently and award them higher multiples.

"First I think Merck should spin out its own animal health business," Cramer said, "just like Pfizer did with Zoetis."

That's because animal health is an area within pharma that's exploding. For 2013, the American Pets Products Association estimated that $55.53 billion will be spent on pets with $27 billion spent on vet care and medical supplies.

And that's just in the US.

"Just breaking off the animal health business could produce a 10% bump in the companies' combined enterprise value," Cramer said.

Also the Mad Money host thinks it makes sense for Merck to spin off its consumer division, too. "In this case it's a business that generates nearly $2 billion in sales but gets almost no credit for it, because the Street sees Merck as a pharma colossus."

2. Applied Materials

"Applied Materials is a semiconductor capital equipment maker that also makes equipment used to manufacture solar panels," Cramer explained.

"With the semiconductor capital equipment business now recovering, I think the best way for Applied Materials to create value would be to break-up, spinning off the solar and display businesses, as the remaining semiconductor related biz would instantly be worth more."

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In both cases Cramer thinks breaking apart would unlock value. And since the fundamentals of both companies appear to be strong he thinks Merck and Applied Materials warrant further attention "as spec plays that would make terrific breakup stories if management makes that decision."

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

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