Can activist investors save Yahoo, Chesapeake?

Believers hope Dan Loeb can find a buyer for the stalled-out Internet portal, and that Carl Icahn can rescue the energy company from its bad books.

By Jim Cramer May 15, 2012 9:05AM

Does Carl Icahn make Chesapeake Energy (CHK) a better investment? Does Dan Loeb make Yahoo (YHOO) a better investment? People think they do because of their reputations as change artists, true catalysts who can get something done.

 

But here's the problem: They are better as catalysts where the companies are strong franchises that have underperformed. These classic, sleepy companies, if woken up, would do much better. Or these catalysts have been best at putting companies into play so they ultimately get bids.

 

So let's consider those opportunities. First, Yahoo was once a great company. But it has fallen behind drastically, and it isn't clear if Dan Loeb, the Third Point agitator, can make something happen. That's because the company's stock price is humongous and the bidders are few and far between.


Yes, I am sure the breakup value is worth more than the whole, but not much more, and that's what's needed here to make it worth investing in. It is not worth much more because of problems in the core business. Yahoo's been getting its butt kicked by everyone on the Web and loses value by the day.


That said, as long as there is no new CEO with anything but a temporary credential, a deal can happen. I would say two points up and not much down. That's okay in this environment. I will not bet against Dan Loeb in that he is too smart not to bring out value. I just don't know how much value there is.

 

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But the balance sheet is a good one, the assets are divisible and the brand is still worth something. Plus, who would have thought that AOL had so much intellectual property? Who knows how much Yahoo has -- certainly not the ousted team.

 

Chesapeake is much harder. Here's a company with fabulous assets but a balance sheet that's horrendous. The core of this business is natural gas, and while we know there are foreign bidders for natural gas, we also know that they might believe Chesapeake could default on its obligations if left alone.


While I do not believe this is the case, I keep hearing that Chesapeake reminds people of Enron -- doing too many things that are not understandable and with too many hidden problems. The opaque nature of Chesapeake leaves much to be desired.

 

Judging by the filings, it is hard to figure out how Chesapeake can sell assets and not run afoul of its own covenants. I have no doubt that Icahn would like to put the whole company in play, and I have to believe there would be willing foreign buyers.


In fact, the biggest reservation I have is if the Chinese were to buy the company, because if they could, it might actually be a buy. Otherwise, I see the assets in decline. I don't expect a bottom in natural gas, and I would rather pass on owning this one.

 

 

Jim Cramer is a co-founder of TheStreet and contributes daily market commentary to the financial news network's sites. Follow his trades for Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust. AAP has no positions in the stocks mentioned.

13Comments
May 15, 2012 11:57AM
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quick question to cramer lemmings;  how are you enjoying your $1900 gold?
May 15, 2012 10:53AM
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"i will not bet against dan loeb"

the last time the hack said something like this it was "don't bet against eddie lampert"

when sears was at $155...........now at around 50-60

this hero licking hack continues to murder his idiot followers

May 15, 2012 11:58AM
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Why do we have  to "Save" everything Jim. It seems to me like everytime we do it costs me money.

*We saved the Banks it-------it costs me money

*We saved AIG-----------------it costs me money

*We saved GM-----------------it costs me money

*Our medical system saves people who smoke and are obese---------------------it cots me money

 

If something is mismanaged and needs to die-Let it-Somebody who can do a better job will fill the void.

 

This "SAVE" carp is nothing but Socialism.

May 15, 2012 10:56AM
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still no takers on my cramer challenge(i wonder why)

 

to take the challenge post a cramer pick on this site and i will post my pick ....we all then can follow

along and see just how bad this hack really is

May 15, 2012 2:48PM
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cramer didn't say gold was going to hit 1900 he said buy when it was at 1900
May 15, 2012 1:19PM
May 15, 2012 5:25PM
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Icahn is not a builder, but a raider, and if he gains control of Chesapeake.,look out.  Expect the new headquarters building in OKC to be sold off  along with the employees.  Then most likely the company will be sold off piecemeal. Seems like old times.
May 15, 2012 12:13PM
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Until the sec and finra begins to do their jobs none of us investors are safe from the crooks on wall street. cnbc is complicit with the rigging to boost advertising dollars and self promotion and the lobbyist finish us off by influencing the crooks in congress. accounting is opaque and the media refuses to be unbiased (kiernan,drugster krudlow,lips bartiromo) so use protection as the big one is on the way.
May 15, 2012 4:11PM
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he repeats his scam picks ...i and others repeatedly point out his scam..........you either listen and save or follow his picks and lose

 

still no takers on my cramer challenge..............all you have to do is put up your favorite cramer pick

 on this site and i 'll put up mine............... we will all follow along and prove the scam

 

May 15, 2012 1:49PM
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You are all babies. Analyst's make bonehead picks all the time. Cramer has on his list of picks Apple and Coca-Cola. They are big time winners. Gold hasn't hit 1900 because the Indians are selling off right now, but most gold buffs think it will hit 2000 - 3000 (not tomorrow, but in the next 12-18 mos).

 

The stock market isn't called the "great humiliator" for nothing. Look at Buffet, his funds haven't done much in 10 yrs, and most folks consider him to be a genius.

 

 

May 15, 2012 3:15PM
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SURE JAMIE  DIAMOND  WAS RUNNING THIS COUNTRY!
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