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Starent Is in the Sweet Spot

In the search for overlooked IPOs, Cramer said he might have found “one of the best high-growth, high-momentum stocks of the coming year”: Starent Networks.

Starent sells the software and hardware that allow e-mail, internet, video and games to be utilized over wireless phone networks. The company counts Verizon , Sprint Nextel , and Vodafone as some of its biggest customers, and Starent sits in the sweet spot as these big telcos build out their businesses.

Starent is even better at its business than Cisco , Cramer said, which is no small compliment coming from him. In fact, Starent is so good Cisco might snatch up the smaller company as a way to roll up this market.

And what a huge growth market it is, Cramer said. Next year, Starent is expected to bulk up by 127%. Now a 96 multiple on next year’s earnings doesn’t look all that expensive, does it?

Remember: Growth money managers are will to pay up to two times the long-term growth rate for a stock. Starent’s growth rate is about 57.5%, which is worth a 115 multiple. So the 96 times earnings is relatively cheap, especially in a slowing economy with fewer and fewer stocks delivering the kind of growth Starent is. The earnings beat and raised guidance this past quarter gave Cramer every reason to think the growth will continue.

The problem is that Starent isn’t exactly an overlooked IPO anymore. Lehman Brothers and Thomas Weisel both cover the stock, as does Goldman Sachs, which added STAR to its “Technology Framework” list of growth stocks.

The stock also hit a new intraday high Thursday. So investors who want to buy some STAR should wait a week, Cramer said – even longer if necessary to get a pullback in the share price. He even recommended taking a pass on Starent if the stock didn’t come in.

The bottom line is that Starent has a “great business, great sponsorship, great growth, but the price isn’t quite right,” Cramer said. “Starent Networks could be one of the biggest winners of the next 12 to 18 months, but if you don’t wait for a pullback to buy it, then you’re making a big mistake.”


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