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Fortress Investment Group becomes the first publicly traded hedge fund in America, but the big beneficiary from that offering will be
(SHLD - Get Report), Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show Thursday.
Sears, a stock Cramer owns for his
Action Alerts PLUS charitable trust
, is more than just a retailer -- it's an investment business, he said. And the "mastermind" behind Sears, Chairman Eddie Lampert, "is one of the best money managers in history," Cramer said.
Right now there are no publicly traded hedge funds in the U.S. marketplace so there's no way to measure how much the investment side of Sears' business is worth, Cramer explained. "There's no yardstick to measure it against."
Generally, if Wall Street doesn't have comparable stocks, investors will not buy the stock because they don't know what it is worth if they don't have any similar businesses with which to compare it, he explained.
Because people can't value Sears' investment business, they treat it like a retailer, Cramer continued. But now that Fortress is
ready to come public
, market players will be able to see what Fortress trades for and stick that multiple in the earnings Lampert generates at Sears, he said. Cramer believes that once Sears has a comparable, more people will invest in it.
"Fortress' multiple, which will probably be 17 times earnings, tells us what we should pay for Sears' investment business," he said.
When people compare Sears and Fortress, they'll see the former is cheap, Cramer added. On a conservative level, he believes Sears should be worth $237 a share. Sears closed at $180.81 Thursday.
Also, since the company could do a lot more to raise cash for Lampert to manage, Sears could have even better returns, Cramer said.
While some feel the Fortress yardstick could also be used with
(GS - Get Report)
, which Cramer also owns for Action Alerts PLUS, he said he can't go along with that because he feels Goldman Sachs is more than a hedge fund.