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Cramer makes the case for cigarettes and macaroni & cheese to spark a new wave of M&A

When Jim Cramer heard the news that Kraft Heinz could recombine with Mondelez and tobacco company Philip Morris International could get back together with Altria, he saw dollar signs.

"I have no idea if either of these recombination deals is going to happen, but I do know this: these two potential blockbuster transactions would create still one more wave of M&A, simply because the combinations make so much sense," the "Mad Money" host said.

Kraft broke up four years ago into a brand of North American pantry brands under the name Kraft Foods Group and international snack group called Mondelez. The break up was intended to bring out value, and while Cramer says it didn't generate a lot of enthusiasm on Wall Street at the time, investors have made money from the split.

Kraft has since morphed into Kraft Heinz, another slow-growing pantry-based company. Yet, the stock of Kraft Heinz has actually jumped higher than Mondelez on the combination rumors.





Kraft Macaroni & Cheese
Getty Images

"I know that the split left Kraft without the growth it needs and I know that the Heinz people who are now running the show don't really care about whether the antecedents were together before. The breakup wasn't their idea, and I think recombining makes a ton of sense," Cramer said.

Philip Morris also broke up into a slow-growing, high-yielding U.S. tobacco company called Altria, and a faster growing, lower yielding entity called Philip Morris International. Ironically because of the strong dollar and demand for dividend stocks in the U.S., Philip Morris actually now yields more than Altria.

However, Altria and Philip Morris International have given investors a 230 percent return since the breakup over five years ago, versus the 108 percent move in the S&P in the same period.

Cramer was shocked when Wells Fargo issued research on Monday entitled "Probability of PM/MO Combo Now Higher."

"Excuse me for not knowing that this merger idea was even in the hopper, but apparently it's even hotter than the Kraft-Heinz Mondelez talk," Cramer said.

Cramer suspects that what could be behind the idea of the potential combination is a device called the IQOS developed by Philip Morris that Wells Fargo thinks could change smokeless cigarettes forever. The issue is that Philip Morris only operates overseas, and this breakthrough device will need the U.S. market to take off.

"That, plus the likelihood of Trump's corporate tax reform and a possible rise in interest rates means the deal would need to be done now if it is going to happen at all. It makes sense when you consider all of the consolidation in tobacco," Cramer said.


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