Publish date:

JJC Abandons His Qwest

When good companies do stupid things, the trader bails.
Author:

I just threw in the towel on Qwest (QWST) . Enough is enough. Can't take it any more. I have been riding this one high since Jim Seymour first turned me on to it, one of a half dozen huge winners that Seymour has pointed me toward in his must-read column. At his prompting, I caught more than a double and I am thrilled with Seymour.

However, I am not thrilled with Qwest. First of all, I am a trader. Therefore I am never stupid enough to bid against myself, as Qwest did. I come up with a price I am willing to pay and I then don't say, "Hey, let me up my bid" after I have said that's all I want to pay.

Second, I think this move, as well as the earlier bids, shows tremendous contempt for the shareholders. Maybe the Qwest management club thinks this is a private company with some bozo tagalongs like me that they can shaft all they want. Fine. But I am voting with my feet. Let someone else play the role of the bozo tagalong.

Finally -- and this is the main reason why I am throwing in the towel --

U S West

(USW)

shouldn't even be the darn object of a takeover bid. It just ain't worth it.

Global Crossing

(GBLX)

shouldn't have made the starting bid in the first place, and Qwest certainly shouldn't have gotten involved after. I thought these companies were smarter than this.

Oh, sure, U S West has some DSL lines, blah, blah, blah. But give me a break. U S West is such a crummy company. I don't want to own it. I want to beat it. I was hoping Qwest would let Global blow itself up by doing this merger. Now Global is getting Qwest to commit financial suicide with its topper bid.

Maybe if the target were

Bell Atlantic

(BEL)

, with its huge mass, we could have something worth hocking a company to the gills for. That would be a transforming merger worth betting the company on. But not U S West, a second-rate Baby Bell from day one. Jeeeshhh!

If I were Global, I would walk away from this fiasco so fast Jack Grubman's head would spin.

Both bids are lunacy, something dreamed up in order to generate huge fees and pump up already outsized egos. I don't know which bid is more valuable, but I am quite sure that Qwest gets the nod for the more stupid of the two.

What a shame.

Random musings:

I see, the new trick with these rumored acquisitions is not just getting the takeover right. We now get the price down, too! So

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report

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is allegedly bidding $48 for

Beyond.com

(BYND) - Get Beyond Meat, Inc. Report

. That price specificity is simply irresistible to most traders.

I sure hope that

Business Week

gets into that price specificity. Can you imagine how many shares

Kmart

(KM)

insiders could have unloaded if

BW

had simply said it was going to be a $23 bid from

Safeway

(SWY)

instead of that nebulous bid talk.

Memo to journalists/rumormongers: If analysts can dream up ridiculous target prices, you can certainly come up with some decent bid prices.

Garrett Van Wagoner Alert.

This fun-loving small-cap manager loves to hype his tiniest, thinnest names on air. Today he is on

CNBC

. Be careful out there.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of TheStreet.com. At time of publication, his fund had no positions in any stocks mentioned. 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

jjcletters@thestreet.com.