The world is a complicated place. And that generally works out just fine for Fool analyst Jim Royal, who is more than happy to capitalize when the market can't quite make sense of a confusing situation. Today, Jim offers up four tickers worth watching for the moment when the average investor dumps shares because following the company makes his head hurt.
As Jim wrote recently, "These situations can be superficially complicated, but it's this transactional complexity that often creates value for agile investors." Whether they're old-fashioned spinoffs or more intricate deals, Jim generally feels there's a beautiful clarity in the convoluted for patient investors.
The wild Frontier
First up is Frontier Communications (NYSE: FTR ) , which ran through a lengthy and convoluted transaction with Verizon (NYSE: VZ ) beginning in 2009 and wrapping up more than a year later. You can click here for the details, but the deal included a massive number of access lines, a tripling of the size of the company, several billion in debt, and hundreds of millions of new shares.
Yes, it was a bit of a mess before the share price rallied, but one Jim refers to as "entirely predictable." Today, the stock trades about 20% higher than it did last fall, but Jim still sees opportunity here, especially because it pays a healthy dividend. The current yield is a robust 7.9%, outpacing most of its closest competitors.
The cost of drugs
Anyone who's an avid biotech investor already knows that Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY ) is buying Genzyme (Nasdaq: GENZ ) . But if were simply a matter of Sanofi seeing turnaround potential for the drug-maker, Jim would probably leave that in the "too easy" pile. Instead, he's intrigued by what are known as contingent value rights, tradable ownership rights on drugs in the pipeline that become more valuable the better the drug does.
Investors who own shares of Genzyme when the deal closes will receive one contingent value right (CVR) that will be worth as much as $14 if all the conditions come through (click here for the details). The market's currently valuing each CVR at just a buck. Even if the drugs in question only hit a couple milestones in terms of manufacturing and sales, Jim's thinking $4 is attainable. He's waiting for the deal to go through and investors to start scratching their heads, then buying when they decide it's easier to cash out.
Exploring a new structure
Finally, Jim's very intrigued by two oil companies that have recently decided to overhaul their structure by unlocking the exploration sides of their business. Williams Companies (NYSE: WMB ) and Marathon Oil (NYSE: MRO ) both saw their share prices jump in the wake of the news, but Jim feels there's a lot to like, even at elevated prices.
As analyst Brian Pacampara wrote about Marathon's bump:
The move is intended to free Marathon's promising upstream operations from its highly volatile, less-profitable, and capital-intensive downstream business, so it's no surprise that Mr. Market is applauding the decision.... Marathon Oil and the soon-to-be-public refining business, Marathon Petroleum, are both worth keeping a close eye on. For a number of reasons, both parents and their spin-off spawn traditionally trounce the market for several years following the split.
Perhaps that's a little simple for Jim's normal tastes, but that doesn't dampen his enthusiasm. "If you think oil prices are going to go up, this move gives you more direct exposure. Both of these companies could provide very nice opportunities from here."
Nothing complicated about that.
Click the links to add any of these stocks to your watchlist, a free and fabulous tool from the Fool: add Frontier Communications to My Watchlist; add Sanofi-Aventis to My Watchlist; add Williams Companies to My Watchlist; add Marathon Oil to My Watchlist.
If you're looking for some simpler companies to watch, David and Tom Gardner have put together a special report with six companies they think you should keep an eye on. Once you create your personalized version of My Watchlist, you'll have immediate access to our free report, "Six Stocks to Watch From David and Tom Gardner." It's waiting for you when you begin building your own watchlist. Click here to get started now.