Or how about John Malone? At Europe's bottom he only spent $23 billion to buy Virgin Media (VMED). This one's pretty amusing. Everyone's always talking about going global, but when "going global" finally gets cheap, Malone is the only one who steps up. He's not afraid to make a mistake. He seizes the moment. I wonder what he would have had to pay if he had started the bidding now.
Or how about Sandy Cutler at Eaton (ETN)? Cutler knew that the economy could be in a period of lower growth, so what does he do? He goes and buys a principal competitor during a period when the antitrust department is pro-trust, or at least pro-trust in CEOs' ability to create entities that can be much more tough with their customers. Eaton and Cooper will make 2.5 times more money than Eaton and Cooper would collectively make otherwise.
Or how about Jeffrey Sprecher, the CEO of IntercontinentalExchange (ICE)? You ask anyone in the U.S. about the New York Stock Exchange and they will say it is the pinnacle of capitalism. You ask them about Intercontinental and they will tell you it is a hotel. But Sprecher had a vision, and now he will be running the largest exchange in the world.
Then there's Rich Kinder at Kinder Morgan (KMP). Rich bought not one, but two companies: El Paso for pipe and Copano for oil and gas. He paid about $24 billion to get both. They were immediately additive.Buffett, Malone, Cutler, Sprecher, Kinder. They weren't afraid. They were bold. The door's now closing and all I can say is that, once again, the smartest guys acted. The others? They just sat on their hands when things were cheap, worried about everything instead of being bold and actually changing the fortunes of their company to the positive. At the time of publication, Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, was long ETN and KMP.