Andy Serwer Commentary:
Street Life by Andy Serwer Column archive
A ripe stock, a pricey stock, and a good laugh
Think about picking Del Monte, shake your head on Wendy's price tag, and just laugh at

NEW YORK (Fortune) - Happy Friday folks ...

DEL MONTE: Yes the company you know so well: College Inn, Del Monte, Starkist, and Contadina brands. It was founded back in 1891 as a cannery serving California's burgeoning fruit and veggie business ...(Del Monte means 'of the mountain' in Spanish.) Long trusted American name...then in 1979 RJR bought it. After that came years of turmoil and owners and dealmakers: KKR, Merrill Lynch and Texas Pacific all played roles. Since 2000, the stock, DLM (Research), has not been a big winner. Canned goods are not exactly cutting edge and the stock may be down a bit this morning as CSFB is downgrading it. Still I say give this one a look. It's been experimenting with new packaging and selectively making acquisitions. And of course it has a great brand too.

WENDY'S: When you say burger wars, you're usually talking about McDonald's versus Burger King or Wendy's or some such. But how about the big burger chains versus activist investors? McDonald's has been dogged by Bill Ackman of Pershing Square. While Wendy's has been attacked by Nelson Peltz, a man with a long history in food and beverages. Now Wendy's has capitulated it seems. It will put three Peltz people on its board, go ahead with its divestiture of donut chain Tim Hortons (I'm NOT a big fan of its fare), and look to do a deal with its Baja Fresh Mexican eateries. (Remember how McDonald's recently unleashed Chipotle Mexican Grill? Amazing parallels.) Interesting this whole activist deal with Wendy's. Stock (Research) is up 125 percent over the past five years while the market's been flat. What more do you want? Expensive stock though. I like the company and strategy, but too pricey for me.....

OVERSTOCK: You know about this one? CEO Patrick Byrne is a bit of a nut job. Attacks short-sellers and journalists. Rants about Sith Lords, cocaine abuse etc. Says journos are in cahoots with shorts. Now his chairman, who happens to be his Dad, respected insurance exec Jack Bryne, says he may step down. Says his son has a "jihad" against his enemies. What took so long? Just watch this one (Research) and have fun. 'kay?

Loose Change: How cynical is that comment by Google (Research) that it is going to be a $100 billion company? It only has $6 bil in sales, no? Said just to make stock go up after weakness this week? You make the call ....The ultimate in political correctness: You know Ugli fruit? (Look like large mutant grapefruits...) Well Whole Foods has taken to calling them Unique fruit. Who complained?.....Which do you prefer: "Addams Family" or "Munsters"? "I Dream of Jeannie" or "Bewitched"? "Dukes of Hazzard" or "Starsky and Hutch"? Email me and lemme know!...Great weekend!


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