Through Post Holdings' acquisitions and its spin-off of a private label division that analysts disliked, the packaged food company behind Honey Bunches of Oats and Chips Ahoy cereal has become a stock to watch, CNBC's Jim Cramer said on Wednesday.
"It's taken a while for them to get the credit they deserve, but now that the company has shown that it knows how to unlock value by selling pieces of its subsidiary brands, the stock has taken off," the Mad Money host said.
While Post's latest quarter underwhelmed with an earnings miss, its stock soared on the announcement that the cereal company decided how it would handle its private label division. Both Post and private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners will own stakes in 8th Avenue Food and Provisions, an entirely new entity. Post will own the majority stake, about 60 percent of the business.
"Basically, the company found a creative way to monetize its private label business while still retaining some of the potential upside from that business," Cramer said.
Divesting from the private label division was the step that Post needed to satisfy the market. The stock is now up nearly 20 percent for the year.
The move also lets the company focus on dominating the certain aisles of the grocery store.
In January, Post closed its purchase of the packaged food division of Bob Evans, which sells frozen sausages and vegetables, for $1.5 billion. Months before the Bob Evans acquisition, the holding company bought the British cereal brand Weetabix. Other breakfast-related acquisitions include MOM Brands, Willamette Egg Farms and National Pasteurized Eggs.
"The thing about the packaged food business is that scale really matters here," Cramer said. "You need bargaining power to strong-arm the supermarkets into giving you the best shelf space and the best prices."
On Monday, Barclays equity analyst Andrew Lazar compared Post to a private equity fund in a note, actively managing its portfolio based on how the market is moving.
"I love this idea that Post is more like a private equity outfit that specializes in food than a food company, and I think the stock has a lot more room to run," Cramer said.
Post's stock closed on Wednesday up nearly 1.4 percent.