On Thursday, Jim Cramer compared Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to the late Steve Jobs.
“I know Schultz as the man who made you one fortune when he brought Starbucks public and then a second fortune when he returned to the helm after the business went wayward under the CEO who replaced him the first time around,” Cramer said. “He’s been like Steve Jobs in that way and I know you don’t make that analogue lightly.”
Jobs was the co-founder of Apple and the man behind the first personal computer, the iPod, iPhone, iPad and many other technological innovations. After a long battle with a form of pancreatic cancer, Jobs died in October 2011.
As avid “Mad Money” viewers know, Cramer greatly admired Jobs in life and continues to revere him in death. Cramer doesn’t instill much trust in many CEOs, either, because too many executives have missed numbers and disappointed numbers. It seems Schultz, however, has been slowly able to turn Starbucks around.
“He made it clear when he came back to Starbucks that the turn would not be done in months, quarters or maybe even years. But it would turn,” Cramer said. “He’s now saying the same thing about Europe that he said about the disappointment in America years ago. The turn will be gradual, it will be long in the making, but it will happen.”
Schultz appeared on CNBC Thursday to unveil the company’s new Verismo coffee and espresso makers that could pose a threat to brewers from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and Nestle, the dominant players in the $8 billion single-serve coffee market. To Cramer, the new brewer could be just the catalyst to send Starbucks’ stock much higher. In turn, he thinks SBUX is a ‘buy’ at current levels.
(Related: Starbucks to Elbow in On Green Mountain With One-Cup Brewer)
“I am going with Schultz — not against him — because it has been a horrendous bet to go against Schultz in either the first or the second iteration and I think it will be a horrendous bet once again,” Cramer said. “Whether it be the Verismo, whether it be the recent decline in the cost of coffee, or the rebound in traffic at home and abroad, Schultz has primed Starbucks for a third round of growth and you don't want to be caught outside looking in.”
Read on for Cramer's Top Dividend Stocks 2012
—Reuters contributed to this report
When this story was published, Cramer's charitable trust owned Apple.
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