Mad Money

Cramer: The most bullish thing about police tech play Axon isn't its guidance. It's how the CEO gets paid

Key Points
  • "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer wakes investors up to hidden winner Axon Enterprise and shows support for the CEO's new compensation package.
  • Cramer says that more CEOs should be paid based on how their company performs.
How CEO is paid the most bullish thing about police tech play Axon

Even CNBC's Jim Cramer was taken aback by the blowout quarterly earnings report from Taser maker Axon Enterprise.

Shares of Axon roared 28 percent the day after the report and another 14 percent in the next week, making the "Mad Money" host wonder how Wall Street managed to underestimate it so dramatically.

But Axon, which changed its name from Taser International 11 months ago, hasn't exactly been sitting still.

A law enforcement technology company, Axon has broadened its specialty from non-lethal weapons like tasers to evidence capture technology, specifically audio recorders and body cameras complete with evidence management and computer-vision software.

Axon is also in a unique and beneficial position when it comes to law enforcement, Cramer said. In April, CEO Rick Smith told Cramer that Axon would give away free body cameras to every police force in the United States.

While that may have seemed like a publicity stunt, it was actually a network-building move; once Axon got police to use its hardware, they had to get the matching software to make it functional.

"The company basically traded its lumpy hardware sales ... for higher margin, recurring subscription revenue from the software side," Cramer said.

Better yet, both sides of the political aisle seem to agree that body cameras are essential for police, "and the data backs this up," the "Mad Money" host said. "Police departments with body cameras get fewer excessive force complaints and fewer lawsuits."

But for Cramer, the biggest positive driver for Axon wasn't the stock's 82 percent run since Smith's "Mad Money" interview or its burgeoning software business or its management's wildly positive future guidance.

"The most bullish thing about this quarter ... was about Rick Smith's new compensation package," Cramer said.

"Smith's not getting a salary or a cash bonus or stock options that vest automatically" he continued. "He's getting a performance award where his options will not vest unless he hits specific targets tied to Axon's market capitalization, as well as its revenue and profitability."

Smith's first target is a six-month average market cap of $2.5 billion, up a few hundred million dollars from Axon's current market cap (just over $2 billion). However, the six-month average is a lot lower, Cramer noted.

"For each of the remaining milestones, Smith needs to grow the company's market cap by another billion dollars," the "Mad Money" host said.

"In short, if the CEO creates actual shareholder value for you, the shareholder, he will be richly rewarded, but if he fails to create shareholder value, he gets next to nothing," Cramer said. "Don't you wish more companies were like this?"

Axon's stock looks quite expensive, though, trading at nearly 100 times next year's earnings estimates. But accounting for the company's growth rate, it's only trading at 29 times 2020 earnings — and could get cheaper if Axon keeps beating earnings estimates, Cramer said.

"I like this company very much and I would adore the stock on any kind of pullback from these levels," Cramer concluded. "I can't tell you to pull the trigger right here, though, because I hate to chase, but if Axon gets slammed the next [time] we have a market-wide sell-off, its stock definitely belongs on your shopping list."

WATCH: Cramer examines the new and improved Axon

Cramer: The most bullish thing about police tech play Axon isn't its guidance. It's how the CEO gets paid

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