The Return of Comcast
This week Mad Money’s highlighting the times when mighty Cramer has struck out. These are the stock calls that he’s swung on and missed, sending him back to the dug out with his head hung low.
It’s not that Cramer hasn’t had his share of homeruns. Just look at Anadarko and Precision Castparts. But he’s not afraid to admit when he missed a nice stock run. Case in point: Comcast.
Turns out competition from Verizon Communications and AT&T didn’t play out as Cramer had expected. Assuming cable was a zero-sum game, wouldn't Comcast lose share as Verizon’s FiOS service drew more customers?
Wrong. Cable is not a zero-sum game, Cramer found out. In fact, Comcast and its peers are starting to pull customers away from satellite. Then there's the switch of 8 million Americans to digital – whether cable or satellite – from antennae-based television next February, and Comcast could pull down a healthy share of that, too. So there’s still room for growth in this sector.
Verizon also might have given Comcast the kick it needed to fix its well-known customer-service problems, Cramer said. (For examples of said problems, read this Washington Post story about a spurned Virginia woman who took a hammer to her local Comcast office, or just visit ComcastMustDie.com.) CMCSA has since added 15,000 new service reps, reduced repair calls, and cut down on the amount of time you have to wait around for the cable guy to show up.
Other good things happened as well, namely that Comcast listened when activist investors starting screaming for change. As a result, CMCSA will buy back $7 billion in stock through 2009, and the company even implemented its first dividend.
Maybe Cramer isn’t batting a thousand, but he's the first to own up to his mistakes. The good thing for investors in this case, though, is that it’s not too late to get in on Comcast, he said.
Apparently, there is at least some joy in Mudville.
Jim's charitable trust owns Verizon Communications.
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