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The SiriusXM Lesson: Thriving Stocks Left for Dead During the Crisis

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Here's an overlooked lesson courtesy of the financial crash and subsequent corporate "handouts": a well telegraphed M&A narrative triggered by a company's need for desperation financing can produce a winning stock bet. No, we aren't talking about Warren Buffett making hay in shares of GE and Goldman Sachs, or even Uncle Sam turning a profit on TARP checks.

As investors prepare for a post-Labor Day final market stretch of 2012, it's worth reflecting on what three of the biggest stock turnaround stories since the worst of the financial crisis -- SiriusXM (SIRI - Get Report), Dollar Thrifty Automotive (DTG) and General Growth Properties (GGP - Get Report) -- have in common.

In late August, Hertz's (HTZ - Get Report) $2.3 billion acquisition of Dollar Thrifty capped a multi-year takeover battle -- -- at one point during the worst of the financial crisis, Dollar was offered $2 per share in a takeover -- while SiriusXM and General Growth may be multi-billion dollar takeovers that will cement impressive returns from a crisis-time nadir. Following Dollar Thrifty's acquisition, investors are increasingly focusing on similar long-prepared takeovers of SiriusXM and General Growth as a way to lock in economic recovery trade gains.

After each company neared all-time lows around $1 a share during the crisis, M&A speculation has followed a linear progression, also matched by earnings rebounds and balance sheet fixes that fueled share prices, and provided a floor in share values distinct from shareholder M&A hopes.

Market expectations have been on the money about an impending push by John Malone's Liberty Media (LMCA - Get Report) to take control of SiriusXM as a driver of the satellite radio giant's stock. Meanwhile, activist investor Bill Ackman, the head of Pershing Square Capital Management, is pushing for a proposed takeover of mall operator General Growth by Simon Property Group (SPG - Get Report), in a $20 billion-plus deal that would be one of the largest U.S. acquisitions since the crisis.

In all three cases, following a well telegraphed M&A narrative has been a winning proposition for ordinary investors. Dollar Thrifty shares are up nearly 25% in 2012 on its Hertz takeout, while Sirius and General Growth are up nearly 40% on the year. All three companies are at or near post-crisis highs and many multiples above 2009 lows.

Here's the details on three financial crisis "bailouts" that resulted in big post-crisis gains for shareholders, and where the shares stand now as they come full circle from crisis lows.

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SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
GGP $28.43 0.46%
HTZ $21.10 1.50%
LMCA $38.11 0.21%
SPG $183.75 0.11%
SIRI $3.90 -0.76%

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DOW 18,250.77 -34.97 -0.19%
S&P 500 2,130.75 -0.07 -0.00%
NASDAQ 5,099.8510 +9.0570 0.18%

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