CNBC’s Jim Cramer knew he was “going against the grain” when he came out in favor of Keurig Green Mountain buying Dr Pepper Snapple.
But the “Mad Money” host couldn’t brush aside the potential for $1.27 in earnings power and a 60-cent dividend.
“With those numbers, Keurig Dr Pepper, the new company, will immediately become the cheapest growth name in the consumer packaged goods space,” he said.
Still, Cramer understood Wall Street’s main question about the deal: why is the deal, in which the JAB Holdings-owned Keurig would buy Dr Pepper Snapple, selling at such a low price?
The first reason was the analyst community’s unfavorable response to the merger. Even Keurig CEO Bob Gamgort admitted on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the deal — a combination of a make-your-own-coffee seller and a cold drink maker — didn’t seem “intuitive at first.”
The other reasons Cramer could discern were that the new company still wouldn’t stack up to old-line competitors like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, and that Dr Pepper’s carbonated-drink-heavy portfolio didn’t offer strong enough prospects.
But for Cramer, the success of the new company hinged on only one thing: Bob Gamgort.
“Gamgort, the CEO of Keurig who’ll be taking over the combined enterprise, is a miracle man in what many people believe is a dying industry, the consumer packaged goods business,” Cramer said.
A veteran of the industry, Gamgort spent 10 years turning the privately-held Mars Inc. from a disjointed family business to a competitive consumer goods provider.
After that, Gamgort went on to Pinnacle Foods, doubling in value what many saw as a “too-boring” company with stale brands, Cramer said.
Then, Gamgort moved to Keurig after the troubled company was bought by the German JAB Holdings.
“I couldn’t believe it when he made that move because Keurig … was in shambles,” Cramer said. “It had the most unfocused growth strategy — I can’t even articulate it.”
Now, less than two years after Gamgort was appointed CEO, Keurig seems to have attained growth and profitability in addition to an acquisitive appetite, Cramer noted.
The “Mad Money” host predicted that the Dr Pepper deal will be the first of Gamgort’s many deals, and one that couldn’t possibly work without his magic touch.
“If Gamgort weren’t involved, candidly, I wouldn’t be interested at all,” Cramer said. “But he is, so I want everything to do with it. Yep, he’s that good, and he’ll use this new company to create the same kind of vehicle and value he did at Pinnacle. Let others run away. I want to run toward Keurig Dr. Pepper, just like last time.”