Sirius XM Radio (SIRI): After last year's article, I had several open and honest discussions with the CFO of Sirius. I promised that I would be open-minded about Sirius should the company prove to turn things around. Sirius has gone from generating losses to break even and might post a profit next year. The balance sheet is pretty much in the same condition as it was a year ago.
As I feared, the renewing of Howard Stern's contract is an issue that Sirius must contend with, which it is doing now. More work needs to be done, and I want to see a more extensive business model because I also fear that Sirius could wind up being a transitory technology. The stock has been an outstanding performer in the last year, rising nearly 130%. For now, Sirius remains in purgatory.
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Jamba Juice (JMBA): Jamba Juice continues to generate losses, just not as much as it did in 2009. That is no saving grace as far as I am concerned. Investors willing to speculate on the stock last year got over a 40% return. I still think that Jamba Juice is going to have a tough road to survival.Class of 2010 I herby confer upon the following companies the distinction of being the newest inductees to my Worst-Run Companies list: Yahoo! (YHOO): Jerry Yang had the opportunity to sell Yahoo! to Microsoft (MSFT) for a nice premium a few years ago, but his ego got in the way of shareholder's best interests. In January 2009, the company brought in Carol Bartz to try to turn it around. Despite her cheerleading and promises, she has not delivered. Now it appears that the company may be sold to a private equity firm or consortium of private and public investors. The real value in Yahoo!, despite all of its excellent content, is in its investment in Alibaba, a Chinese ecommerce company. Yahoo! is failing to grow the monetization of its own content at a level consistent with its competitors. The company has also missed the explosive growth in the smartphone/mobile telecom market, which I consider a big misstep. Whether it is under Wang or Bartz, Yahoo! is a poorly run company. Welcome to the list. >>Who Owns Yahoo!?: Carl Icahn Boeing (BA): I was very temped to put Boeing on my inaugural list in 2006. I hesitated and waited. Perhaps, I thought, the 787 project would put the company over the top. Instead, that project has become one of worst-managed industrial projects of all time. Repeatedly, first delivery of the 787 is constantly being delayed. I'll believe management's promises regarding the delivery schedule when I see the plane actually delivered. >>Also: Cramer's Always-a-Bull-Market-Somewhere Stocks Boeing, which has had several other management blunders in the past, qualifies for this list based on two of my above criteria: ineffective management and strategic mistakes. Because the company is part of the commercial aircraft duopoly, it may be a decent investment in the future, but since 2006, the stock has gone on a round trip to nowhere. The same can be said for other defense contractors, such as General Dynamics (GD) and Lockheed Martin (LMT). On second thought, maybe this is just a worst-run industry. >To see these stocks in action, visit the Worst-Run Companies portfolio on Stockpickr. -- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.
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