Should TheStreet part ways with Jim Cramer?
Thomas Niel on Seeking Alpha writes that financial news site TheStreet.com should consider distancing itself from Jim Cramer when his contract expires this year.
Niel writes, “At much higher valuations, TheStreet attracted the attention of two activist investors (Cannell Capital and Spear Point Capital). Despite very interesting campaigns (which entailed some hilarious letters to management), their efforts have been slow to move the needle. Cannell Capital took a more colorful, aggressive approach, calling out Jim Cramer on taking millions in compensation from TheStreet without delivering much value. Spear Point took a more constructive approach, and it appears to be working, albeit slowly; according to the most recent conference call, a shareholder resolution to declassify the board and have annual elections will be presented at the next annual shareholder meeting (June 8th). This is a move in the right direction, and will increase the chance of a new, more shareholder-friendly slate of directors.
“TheStreet’s current strategy is to grow all of its business units, including further investment in TheStreet’s advertising-supported businesses. I believe a focus on the lower-hanging fruit that is the business to business unit is the better area to focus time and resources. TheStreet will never become a juggernaut like CNBC. Despite advances in online video, TheStreet is better off either selling or rationalizing the costs of the declining ad-supported websites and subscription services. Disassociating from Jim Cramer may also be a good call long term: Mad Money’s ratings peaked in 2008, and Cramer’s fan base is not growing. Adding in the fact the Jim Cramer cannot actively promote TheStreet.com on his show further reduces the value he provides the company. While Jim Cramer is the co-founder of TheStreet, he does not control the company; Cramer owns 2.891 million shares, or around 8.2% of the company.”
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