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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) - Get Report and Kellogg's (K) - Get Report could be targets and companies like General Mills (GIS) - Get Report are probably in the hunt.
But it's not just the food companies that are starved for growth. Cramer said that Clorox (CLX) - Get Report and Procter & Gamble (PG) - Get Report could also catch the merger mania and companies like Colgate-Palmolive (CL) - Get Report and Kimberly Clark (KMB) - Get Report could also be in the running.
Executive Decision: Cheryl Bachelder
For 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.
When asked about international growth, Bachelder touted Popeyes' six locations in Vietnam. She said it has been very exciting to see the brand translate overseas and she's very encouraged by the progress so far.
Cramer said he continues to be a big fan of Popeyes.
With all of the recent tech IPOs, are we headed for another dot-com bubble? Cramer took a stroll down memory lane to compare Y2K to today to see what can be learned.
Cramer said that back in 2000 there was a huge rush to go public. The so-called "first mover advantage" sent companies into the market not only before they had profits, but before they even had sizable revenue or sustainable business plans.
There were 261 initial public offerings in 2000, with a median valuation on 32 times trailing sales and median revenue of a paltry $12 million. "Garbage," Cramer characterized the lot. But compare that to 2013 where there were only 43 IPOs with median valuation of just five times sales and median revenue of $106 million. That's a lot better.
Cramer said that software-as-a-service is a legitimate business model and he's not worried about that group, but the recent crop of ecommerce stocks -- think Marketo (MKTO) , RocketFuel (FUEL) and The Rubicon Project (RUBI) - Get Report -- may not be done going lower.
Back in 2000, Razorfish, a Web graphics company, was all the rage. The company debuted at $16 a share in April 1999 and soared to $80 in just a few months. The company was taken private in 2003 for a mere $1.70 a share. Cramer said today's ecommerce stocks face many of the same problems as Razorfish, mainly high costs, sizable competition and the nagging possibility that their technology may not even be necessary in a few years time.
Cramer said that's why it's not to late to sell these ecommerce names. They may never recover.
Executive Decision: Joe Papa
In his second "Executive Decision" segment, Cramer sat down with Joe Papa, chairman, president and CEO of Perrigo (PRGO) - Get Report, the private-label drug maker that's had a tough 2014 as a weak cold and flu season coupled with a manufacturing problem developing a Mucinex competitor slowed sales.
Papa said Perrigo opted to stop manufacturing its Mucinex clone after some of oyd raw materials were found not to be up to the standards expected. He said it's a high-priority problem the company is committed to fixing.
However, Papa noted the overall megatrend of prescription drugs moving over the counter is very much intact and Perrigo made $190 million from new product sales, which offset much of the Mucinex losses. He said the popular Nexium just went over-the-counter, and Perrigo will be ready when its exclusivity ends in three years' time.
Perrigo has also embraced ecommerce and social media as a way to get the word out that Perrigo's products are identical to its branded counterparts only at much lower price points.
Cramer said with the stock already beaten down, Perrigo remains attractive.
In the Lightning Round, Cramer was bullish on Starbucks (SBUX) - Get Report, Triquint Semiconductor (TQNT) , Skyworks Solutions (SWKS) - Get Report, Trinity Industries (TRN) - Get Report and TransCanada (TRP) - Get Report.
No Huddle Offense
In his "No Huddle Offense" segment, Cramer sounded off against the scrutiny surrounding Apple (AAPL) - Get Report, a stock Cramer owns for his charitable trust, Action Alerts PLUS, and its recent acquisition of Beats Electronics.
Cramer said it's hard to complain about a stock that's up 42% over the past 12 months. CEO Tim Cook has done a remarkable job addressing all of the concerns of his detractors.
Cook has addressed slowing iPhone sales with two new terrific models, the company stormed into China in a big way, it's aggressively buying back stock and returning capital to shareholders and now Cook has addressed the slowing iTunes business with a great acquisition, the largest the company has ever made.
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-- Written by Scott Rutt in Washington, D.C.
To email Scott about this article, click here: Scott Rutt
At the time of publication, Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS had a position in AAPL.