Montgomery Burns must be happy.
We once learned that The Simpsons‘ Mr. Burns was a proud shareholder in Transatlantic Zeppelin, Amalgamated Spats, U.S. Hay, Confederated Slave Holdings and that “up-and-coming” Baltimore Opera Hat Company.
Needless to say, it’s not unfathomable to think an increasingly irrelevant American Greetings (NYSE:AM) would also have a spot in Burns’ portfolio — and a $580 million buyout offer from its CEO, representing a roughly 20% premium, would rate nothing less than “exxxxxcellent.”
Of course, the stock market is full of outdated, exceedingly niche or just plain “villainous” real-world companies that likely would’ve landed on Burns’ radar. Here’s a quick look at five of them:
As we mentioned before, American Greetings (NYSE:AM) — the greeting card company founded by a Polish immigrant in 1906 — has languished for a decade, fighting a losing battle to stay relevant in the digital age.
In the world of e-cards, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and LOLCats, the future ain’t exactly bright for printed-on-paper, delivered-by-snail-mail greeting cards.
AM’s sales have slumped 17% over the last decade, and though the stock has seen something of a renaissance in 2012, the company’s $17 share price is well off its halcyon $40-$50 days in 1998.
Speaking of snail-mail, Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI) has been the proud leader in postage meters and, uh, franking machines for 90 years.
Everyone’s familiar with the myriad woes of the U.S. Postal Service — which are more or less similar to American Greetings’. E-billing, e-cards … you name it … going paperless hasn’t been kind to PBI, which puts it just behind the 8-ball enough for Monty.
Even after adding in dividends, the stock has lost about 30% during the past 10 years.
Darling International‘s (NYSE:DAR) business sounds like something straight out of the “Treehouse of Horror.”
Darling collects grease from restaurants and the nasty bits left over at the nation’s slaughterhouses — the stuff that doesn’t even make its way into hot dogs — and turns it into animal feed and tallow.
It’s a Dickensian business, but DAR shares are up about 1,500% over the last 10 years.
Hey, even Mr. Burns wouldn’t get them all wrong.
Corrections Corporation of America
Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE:CXW) is another distasteful enterprise that has done very well by investors.
The nation’s biggest publicly traded operator of prisons has generated a total return of more than 600% over the last decade — thanks largely to a combination of cash-strapped states and the U.S. having the largest prison population in the world.
Nuts, screws, bolts, pins, anchors, rods and washers? If you need to fasten it, Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST) has it.
This is a Mr. Burns pick because we figure he’d be fascinated by all this cutting-edge “fastening” technology.
The stock has more than held firm over the last decade, too, generating a total return of more than 500%, which would have helped pad Burns’ $1.3 billion net worth.
As of this writing, Dan Burrows did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.