5 Stocks Mr. Burns Would Own

by Dan Burrows | September 28, 2012 6:30 am

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[1]) would also have a spot in Burns’ portfolio — and a $580 million buyout offer from its CEO[2], 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Of course, the stock market is full of outdated, exceedingly niche or just plain “villainous” real-world companies that likely would’ve landed on Burns’ radar.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:

American Greetings

American Greetings (NYSE:AM)As we mentioned before, American Greetings (NYSE:AM[1]) — 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[3]) 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.

Pitney Bowes

Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI)Speaking of snail-mail, Pitney Bowes (NYSE:PBI[4]) has been the proud leader in postage meters and, uh, franking machines[5] for 90 years.

Everyone’s familiar with the myriad woes of the U.S. Postal Service[6] — 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

Darling International LogoDarling International‘s (NYSE:DAR[7]) 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)Corrections Corporation of America (NYSE:CXW[8]) 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.


Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST)Nuts, screws, bolts, pins, anchors, rods and washers? If you need to fasten it, Fastenal (NASDAQ:FAST[9]) 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[10].

As of this writing, Dan Burrows did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

  1. AM: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=AM
  2. a $580 million buyout offer from its CEO: http://investorplace.com/2012/09/founding-family-offers-to-buyout-american-greetings/
  3. FB: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FB
  4. PBI: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=PBI
  5. franking machines: http://www.pitneybowes.co.uk/Equipment/GMS/franking-machines/index.shtml
  6. myriad woes of the U.S. Postal Service: http://investorplace.com/2012/08/who-would-want-the-post-office/
  7. DAR: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=DAR
  8. CXW: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=CXW
  9. FAST: http://studio-5.financialcontent.com/investplace/quote?Symbol=FAST
  10. Burns’ $1.3 billion net worth: http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/13/richest-fictional-characters-opinions-wealth_slide_13.html

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