Saying Never at Reynolds

Reacting to Alcoa's latest offer to buy Reynolds Metals, Cramer reflects on the collective plight of commodities companies in the '90s.
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We're down to just two aluminum companies. Overnight. That's what happens when you have no price inflation. These proud companies just keep giving up.

This time it's

Reynolds Metals

(RLM) - Get Report

. That old Richmond, Va., contingent just couldn't do it. The company recognized that it had no pricing power, and that if it couldn't get it in this environment -- with the economy moving so fast -- it never would.

Think about this amazing collective surrender.

Asarco

gives up on copper.

Union Camp

gives up on paper.

Union Carbide

(UK)

gives up on chemicals. And now Reynolds Metals gives up on aluminum. Commodities companies, even ones that fought off all sorts of raiders in the '80s, can't fight these prices.

I've got a couple of concerns here. First, with all of these mergers, will pricing finally happen, if only because competition is turning toward oligopoly? And second, does it matter? Can we make any money off of these combined entities?

The jury is still out.

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.