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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- It's not too late to place your bets on which food stock will be next to catch a takeover bid, Jim Cramer told his Mad Money viewers Thursday. Cramer said in the quest for growth, the acquisition buying frenzy is only just beginning.
You'd have to go back to the 1980s to find a wave of consolidation to rival the one we're seeing now, Cramer said, as evidenced by the bidding war brewing for Hillshire Brands (HSH), which is itself set to acquire Pinnacle Foods (PF). But with many food companies starved for growth, the only way to satisfy shareholders is to make a deal.
Cramer said the current round of consolidation is also stemming from consolidation in the supermarket stocks. With fewer players out there, food companies need to bulk up in order to ensure their shelf space.So who could be next? Cramer said it's anyone's guess. But Campbell's Soup (CPB) and Kellogg's (K) could be targets and companies like General Mills (GIS) are probably in the hunt. But it's not just the food companies that are starved for growth. Cramer said that Clorox (CLX) and Procter & Gamble (PG) could also catch the merger mania and companies like Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and Kimberly Clark (KMB) could also be in the running.
Executive Decision: Cheryl BachelderFor his "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer spoke with Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (PLKI), which soared today over 14% after the company reported a penny-a-share earnings beat and raised full-year guidance. Shares of Popeyes are up 80% since Cramer first got behind the restaurant chain in August 2012. Bachelder credited Popeyes' strong quarter to great promotions, innovation and value, all of which helped customers overcome a difficult winter to visit the restaurants more often. She said the company's new chicken waffle tenders were especially popular. Turning to the company's remodeling and rebranding efforts, Bachelder said 65% of the company's 2,250 locations have now been remodeled and that percentage should jump to 80% by year's end. Sales continue to be very strong at the remodeled locations.
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