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11 Worst-Run Companies of 2011

Hewlett-Packard (HPQ): This company spent billions of dollars on disastrous, poorly timed or overpriced acquisitions -- including Palm, 3PAR and Autonomy -- in just the last year. Hewlett-Packard has developed a bipolar strategy when it comes to its TouchPad tablet strategy. In August 2010, longtime and successful CEO Mark Hurd resigned over, shall we say, personal matters. He was replaced by Leo Apotheker, a software expert and former CEO of SAP (SAP) to head up this hardware firm. Apotheker, after blundering the TouchPad strategy, decided to spin off the company's personal computer division. He lasted a few days short of a year in his role and was replaced by former eBay (EBAY) CEO Meg Whitman. Whitman reversed the decision on the PC spinoff. Perhaps she can save this $58 billion company, which has seen its stock price slashed by a third in the past year. Until then, Hewlett-Packard, because of its dysfunctional history, will be categorized as a worst-run company.

Again, not everyone agrees with me. HP, one of the top five Dow stocks in David Tepper's portfolio, shows up on recent lists of the 10 Dow Stocks With Lowest P/E Ratios and 5 Stocks for Bargain Hunters.

Sprint Nextel (S): If I deemed Sprint a second banana, I would be all too generous. You have to go back to 2006 since the company last turned a profit. Losses are expected for 2011 and 2012 as well. In an ever-expanding world of mobile telecommunications, Sprint Nextel does not offer products and services that can compete with those of Verizon (VZ) and AT&T (T), which are likely to be a virtual national duopoly whether or not AT&T completes its acquisition of T-Mobile. Sprint Nextel's stock has declined 35% in the past year, and I do not see it going higher anytime soon unless management can perform a miracle.

To see these stocks in action, check out the 11 Worst-Managed Companies of 2011 portfolio.

-- Written by Scott Rothbort in Millburn, N.J.


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At the time of publication, Rothbort was long MCD, PNRA and VZ, although positions can change at any time.

Scott Rothbort has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is the Founder and President of LakeView Asset Management, a registered investment advisor specializing in customized separate account management for high net worth individuals. In addition, he is the founder of, an educational social networking site; and, publisher of The LakeView Restaurant & Food Chain Report. Rothbort is also a Term Professor of Finance at Seton Hall University's Stillman School of Business, where he teaches courses in finance and economics. He is the Chief Market Strategist for The Stillman School of Business and the co-supervisor of the Center for Securities Trading and Analysis.

Mr. Rothbort is a regular contributor to's RealMoney Silver website and has frequently appeared as a professional guest on Bloomberg Radio, Bloomberg Television, Fox Business Network, CNBC Television, TV and local television. As an expert in the field of derivatives and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), he frequently speaks at industry conferences. He is an ETF advisory board member for the Information Management Network, a global organizer of institutional finance and investment conferences. In addition, he is widely quoted in interviews in the printed press and on the internet.

Mr. Rothbort founded LakeView Asset Management in 2002. Prior to that, since 1991, he worked at Merrill Lynch, where he held a wide variety of senior-level management positions, including Business Director for the Global Equity Derivative Department, Global Director for Equity Swaps Trading and Risk Management, and Director for secured funding and collateral management for the Global Capital Markets Group and Corporate Treasury. Prior to working at Merrill Lynch, within the financial services industry, he worked for County Nat West Securities and Morgan Stanley, where he had international assignments in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London. He began his career working at Price Waterhouse from 1982 to 1984.

Mr. Rothbort received an M.B.A., majoring in Finance and International Business from the Stern School of Business, New York University, in 1992, and a B.Sc. in Economics, majoring in Accounting, from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, in 1982. He is also a graduate of the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Mr. Rothbort is married to Layni Horowitz Rothbort, a real estate attorney, and together they have five children.
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