Don't bet on any cellphone bonanzas
Nokia and RIM are no match for Apple, and it's a mistake to speculate on companies with terrible balance sheets anyway.
Do you know how many times people have told me that Nokia (NOK) was going to be bought, most likely by Samsung?
Meanwhile, the stocks just keep going lower and lower, with Nokia taking a huge dive Thursday after still one more mammoth loss.
Let me let you in on a little secret. If a company stinks out loud with fundamentals that are deteriorating rapidly and losses that are accelerating, you don't want to buy the stock. So why in heck would a company want to buy it? Do you think companies are all run by morons who want to kill their own stocks? Do you think these companies can't read balance sheets and can't see trends?
Yet I am asked repeatedly, particularly on @JimCramer on Twitter, why I don't get "on board" or see "the logic" here.
Not only are these two companies unlikely to get takeover bids, but both have proud managements and regard their companies as national jewels that can't be taken over because their governments won't allow it.
Now, let's think along another line. We all accept that the most deadly competitor, the company that's lethal to oppose, is Apple (AAPL). You are going up against the best-financed, most-loved, most-respected worldwide company, where people are willing to work for free.
If you are a cellphone company and you buy Nokia, you are suddenly up against Apple. Who would choose that? Oh, and to make matters worse, Samsung is your opponent, too. Killer competitors.
If you buy Research In Motion, whom are you up against? Apple. Again, you are simply choosing to blow you brains out and pay a ton to do so.
It's time to face up to a notion that I have felt strongly about from the days when I bought a stock called Memorex-Telex for a couple of bucks, betting on a takeover, in the 1990s. I knew two things: that the franchise had been a good one and that the stock was only $1.87 so how much could I lose. The company started losing a ton of money, and next thing? Well, I lost it all.
Don't speculate on companies with terrible balance sheets where the most you can lose is a couple of bucks. The truth is you just might lose it all.
(Microsoft owns and publishes Top Stocks, an MSN Money site.)
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 and is long AAPL
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