I am hearing that Coke (KO) - Get Coca-Cola Company Report will buy Quaker Oats (OAT) at $73 a share. I am hearing that Ashland (ASH) - Get Ashland Global Holdings, Inc. Report will buy Nalco (NLC) for $45 a share. I am hearing that Lucent (LU) will buy 3Com (COMS) .
A friend of mine says that
Johnson & Johnson
wants to buy
for $93 a share.
, $63, maybe as soon as this weekend.
OK, I see, that's how you do it. You just make stuff up. Every one of those is total poppycock. For all I know, someone simply bought calls on these stocks beforehand and then made up the stories. Some of it will be denied. Some of it will be true. Takeovers do occur.
What matters is that everybody who bought the calls beforehand makes out like a bandit, and some of the people who read the rumors do quite all right, depending upon whether someone from
picks up the rumor and runs with it.
Everybody else, and the marketplace itself, loses. Therefore we all lose.
For years, I have railed against this kind of takeover journalism as irresponsible. Guess it doesn't matter. It's the way of the future, again, and everybody is playing it.
There is a Chinese wall between me and
. I can't go over to 2 Rector St., where it is located, and say, "Let's call Nalco and see if this isn't all made up." Or, "Let's check with Coke to see if Quaker is true." I can't even suggest specific stock stories, period.
But I am asking
, to demand that the reporters and editors of
work to expose this garbage for what it is. I think
should go out of its way to debunk this stuff before it costs people too much money. I am asking Dave Kansas at
email@example.com to set up a Truth Serum column, which would do its best to put these lies to rest before they lose you money.
should be the place we can go to find out whether any of this stuff pans out, whether it be in
, or, I hope, in
. If you agree with me, please write in and demand that we set up Truth Serum so we can help our members avoid losing money on bogus rumors that millions of dollars are about to be lost on.
We need Truth Serum now to protect ourselves, as it is quite obvious that we are at the very early stage of this "bag 'em, gun 'em and liquidate 'em into the suckers'" game. I don't think I would trust anyone but
to stop it. But
could be the one place that shows you how little money you can really make playing the bogus takeover rumor. It can expose it for what it really is: a fraudulent suckers' game.
James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund was long Lucent and TheStreet.com. His fund often buys and sells securities that are the subject of his columns, both before and after the columns are published, and the positions that his fund takes may change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. Cramer's writings provide insights into the dynamics of money management and are not a solicitation for transactions. While he cannot provide investment advice or recommendations, he invites you to comment on his column at