Cramer discovers the perils of operating on instinct with the latest PairGain 'news.'
Publish date:

I bit.

It's just one line in an otherwise terrific Realized Gains and Losses page from

Cramer Berkowitz

, but I'll never forget the hoax: 30,000 Pair, -$26,877.

That's what you get for flying on instinct. I hadn't seen the story. I just heard the word on

: a



bid. And I took stock.

A few minutes later, I'm listening to

David Faber


Jeff Berkowitz's

spacious office and I see PAIR on the TV. I tell Jeff to make it louder, and sure enough, what I saw made me poorer.

"It's a hoax! It's a !@#$%^& hoax!" I screamed after Faber broke the story. "Kick out the PairGain."

Cyberdupe. Me. The guy who loves cyberspace. I cut my teeth on the

Motley Fool

. I helped set up


Marty Peretz

. And I had been had.

So, of course, I kicked it out. What the heck did I know about PairGain other than it was in talks to be acquired? What was I supposed to do, find out about its book value? How are its orders? I couldn't believe I could buy something in line that had news like this. It didn't seem possible.

It wasn't.

Don't worry, Mike -- it's not your fault. I am not going to blame you. I am sure somebody's lawyer will. I am waiting for some ambulance-chasers to say, Let's sue for Cramer's $26K, and we'll get a huge fee while he gets 45 bucks. An open-and-shut case.

What a world.

Random musings:

For more proof that you can't speculate on takeovers, look at


(HUM) - Get Report

and then see my last

story on it. ... Get me into this latest dead-tree co-venture -- and fast!

The Wall Street Journal


The Financial Times

are getting together to open a daily in Russia. Hoo-hah!

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of At time of publication, his fund was long Humana, although positions can 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