Apple was once known as the stock that couldn't stop climbing higher. But these days the prevailing wisdom is that the stock is stalled, and there is no way it will have higher numbers in 2016 than this year. So, what should CEO Tim Cook do? Jim Cramer has a plan.
"Many professional investors have come to believe that Apple cannot maintain its earnings momentum because it doesn't have enough large streams of recurring, higher-margin revenue to offset what could be a slowdown in iPhone sales," the "Mad Money" host said.
With this in mind, Cramer reminded investors that he doesn't think Cook should worry. Apple has done incredibly well under his management, and Cramer thinks it will continue to do so.
But if Cramer were Cook, he would take the initiative to buy four companies.
The first purchase would be for Harman International Industries. With the company's valuation only around $6 billion, it is the brains of almost every major car brand on the road. So, for less than $10 billion, Apple could have the biggest recurring revenue stream in the Internet of things for automobiles.
"Why Apple won't do this is pretty strange if you ask me, because Apple's CarPlay needs to play ball with more companies, just like Harman does, and Harman's stock is no longer expensive," Cramer said.
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Second, Cramer recommended Apple buy Pandora. If Apple really wants to own the music business then it should buy Pandora for $4 billion, which is a drop in the bucket for a company like Apple.
Third, Cramer would reach out to the venture capitalists who still own a good chunk of Fitbit, and then go to CEO James Park and make an offer he can't refuse. This way Apple would own the high-end smartwatch category and the lower end health and wellness brand of Fitbit. Apple may have to overpay for it, perhaps at $8 billion, but it would allow Apple to own the category.
Finally, Cramer would shell out $4 billion to buy Verifone. The company is just sitting there waiting to be acquired after delivering an OK quarter. This would allow Apple to have an installed base of Apple Pay users through its point-of-sale terminal business.
So, with just $25 billion, Apple could get Harman, Pandora, Fitbit and Verifone. All of these companies would give investors a recurring reason to own the stock in 2016 besides just an iPhone.
"Honestly, it makes so much sense I can't believe they haven't thought of it themselves!" Cramer said.