Cramer: General Mills was 'unjustly punished' for buying Blue Buffalo

  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer vets General Mills' acquisition of Blue Buffalo to discover that the deal is much better than investors may think.
  • Cramer ties the move to the "humanization of pets" trend that is generating millions of dollars in revenues each year.

Every now and then, CNBC's Jim Cramer spots a stock market story that's being held back from glory for all the wrong reasons.

One such story the "Mad Money" host noticed on Monday was General Mills' $8 billion acquisition of Blue Buffalo Pet Products, a high-end pet food brand.

Shares of General Mills, the consumer packaged goods giant behind such storied brands as Cheerios and Betty Crocker, fell on news of the deal, sliding down to $51 and change from $55 on Thursday.

The move itself didn't surprise Cramer. It's not uncommon for an acquirer's stock to decline on news of an acquisition, especially in the troubled food space.

"But, and this is the mother of all buts, I think the Blue Buffalo deal is a brilliant move," Cramer argued. "This makes this pullback in General Mills a genuine buying opportunity. GIS already tumbled from $60 down to $55 during the big vortex of selling of these kinds of names. Now it's come down to $51 because of what I consider something that's smart. Call me a buyer at these levels."

Besides the fact that Cramer's own dogs love Blue Buffalo's kibbles, the "Mad Money" host pointed to another Cramer-fave trend that would make the deal a win for General Mills.

"General Mills is buying into a thesis that I've been pushing for years, and that's the humanization of pets," he said.

With more and more people in the United States paying up for pet care, revenues for the industry have exploded in recent years. In 2001, the American Pet Products Association recorded that U.S. pet owners spent $28.5 billion on their pets. In 2016, their spending grew to $66 billion.

"With the Blue Buffalo deal, General Mills will become the No. 1 player in the wholesome natural pet food category overnight," Cramer said.

Better yet, Blue Buffalo adds another layer to General Mills' growing portfolio of natural and organic foods after the company's 2014 acquisition of Annie's Homegrown.

Bearish analysts are concerned about General Mills' ability to execute on what many consider to be an expensive deal. But General Mills CEO Jeff Harmening has assured investors that the company will use its powerful supply chain, marketing chops and research segment to make the deal earnings-additive by fiscal year 2020.

And after a number of weak quarters for General Mills, Cramer said this deal might be just what the pantry play needs to recover.

"I like General Mills because it's a turnaround story," Cramer said. "Here's the bottom line: General Mills has been unjustly punished at this point for its delicious Blue Buffalo acquisition, and with shares at $51 sporting a 3.8 percent yield, you know what? Go 'hold' to 'buy' here. The stock's become simply too cheap to ignore."

WATCH: Cramer makes the case for General Mills after Blue Buffalo deal

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