Toying With a Buy Idea

Cramer revisits his previously negative opinion on Mattel.
Publish date:

Got an idea at the rehearsal for


Fox News

last night that makes so much sense I want to share it right now:


(MAT) - Get Report

. The guest for our rehearsal was Bob Olstein, whom you might have seen as a co-host on


"Squawk Box." (For those of you who are baseball fans out there, he looks like a tanned and rested

Gary Carter.)

When Olstein first mentioned it, my eyes rolled over. Mattel? I mean, give me a break. This company keeps screwing up and screwing up and screwing up.

But Olstein is one of my heroes. He's been beating the market consistently for some 30 years now, with plenty of big short-side wins.

He beats the market by looking for value and by shorting fraud. He is a no-nonsense guy who spots chicanery faster than even

Herb Greenberg

. He is a no-Net guy with plenty of wins. I love that guy.

That's why I attacked him. You come to us with Mattel, after all you've taught us about bad accounting? I would think you would be short the darn thing.

And his answer is what makes me want to buy Mattel. He said he had been short it for years. Had a big hit. But now the problems are over. He's covered for a big gain and gone long. The accounting is straight, the books are clean, the hits have been taken.

How about Jill Barad, the CEO, who has led the company into the abyss? Olstein says he is no fan but that you can't wait for her to depart, since the stock could jump 7 if she is ousted.



franchise is intact, the company generates $500 million in free cash flow and, after listening to Olstein, I realized that not even Barad could screw that up.

Oh yeah, how about its abysmal growth? Olstein's got the answer (as he did for

General Motors

(GM) - Get Report

, another of his faves): Growth is overowned and overloved. You have to buy a stock when the pessimists have set the price.

Right now that price is 25. Seems right to me.

James J. Cramer is manager of a hedge fund and co-founder of 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