Invest Like John Derek

As far as cinematic careers go, John Derek won't go down as one of Hollywood's greatest. However, we do remember him for his wives. He married Ursula Andress, Linda Evans, and Bo Derek just before they each became box-office bombshells.

Can you be the John Derek of investing? Maybe you don't have a penchant for blondes. You may not even have a penchant for women. That's not the point. John Derek was able to spot opportunities early, and wound up on bended knee before the paparazzi arrived.

Find a looker. Catapult it to stardom. Cash in and move on. It may not seem like a noble pursuit for a serial monogamist like John Derek, but it's an approach that may serve you quite well in the stock market. If you want proof, just consider yesterday's news that Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW  ) had agreed to buy Click Commerce (Nasdaq: CKCM  ) in an all-cash deal.

Click, you're it
Click Commerce's announced buyout came at a 27% premium to its closing price heading into the holiday weekend. Later this month, Illinois Tool Works will allow investors to tender their shares for $22.75 a pop. Assuming the deal goes through -- it's a friendly deal that will most likely win most shareholders' approval -- the companies expect to complete the merger before the end of the year. At that point, if you still haven't tendered your shares, you'll still get the same $22.75 buyout price.

What does Click Commerce have to do with one of John Derek's celebrated wives? For one thing, it, too, had stunning good looks when David Gardner recommended the promising stock to Rule Breakers newsletter service subscribers last summer.

Click Commerce was leading the way in helping companies get up to speed in using radio frequency identification technology (or RFID) to improve inventory control. Home Depot (NYSE: HD  ) was an early customer; Click Commerce enabled the hardware superstore chain's suppliers to make the transition to RFID tracking.

Click Commerce's existence as a stand-alone entity will end in a few months. Because it's an all-cash transaction, investors won't even get a piece of the new company. They can always buy into Illinois Tool Works, but it's a corporate behemoth whose 700 different operating companies generated $12.8 billion in sales last year. Click Commerce will be a small fish in that tank.

This is the point where John Derek would move on to the next potential beauty. Investors can't be blamed if they follow suit.

Click Commerce knows Bo
One of the greatest advantages of Rule Breaker investing is that you're buying attractive growth stocks early in their trajectory toward potential greatness. Some will soar. Plenty will falter. Yet along the way, tweeners like Click Commerce will also prove too tempting for larger rivals to resist acquiring. If you were a mature blue chip, you'd probably also be prowling for upstarts in your industry. Transforming a potential threat into an opportune asset is just good business.

Therefore, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that Click Commerce isn't the first monthly newsletter pick to announce plans to merge with a larger player. Even though the Rule Breakers newsletter has been around for just two years, this is the third notable buyout. Last year, Liberty Media (Nasdaq: LBTYA  ) agreed to acquire Provide Commerce. Archipelago Holdings also teamed up with the New York Stock Exchange to form NYSE Group (NYSE: NYX  ) .

Liberty Media and NYSE Group were purchased at healthy premiums to their original recommendation prices. Unfortunately, Click Commerce took a different path. It was picked at $24.75 last summer and fell all the way down to the low teens before bouncing back. The volatility comes with the territory of John Derek investing, where even a potential 10 can have a bad hair day.

More than just buyouts
Naturally, one should never buy into a company solely in pursuit of a buyout. Ideally, the stock will continue to grow unchecked until it becomes its chosen sector's juggernaut. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) is a perfect example.

Four of last year's newsletter recommendations have gone on to double today. In retrospect, it would just seem cruel if a larger medical technology specialist had bought out Intuitive Surgical (Nasdaq: ISRG  ) halfway through its current impressive run; the surgical-robotics firecracker is now resting 118% higher than when David first singled it out in spring 2005.

In that sense, it bears pointing out that John Derek stayed with Bo Derek for the final 24 years of his life. Yes, aggressive growth-stock investing can and should also be a long-term solution to beating the market. The buyouts along the way will help free up some cash to invest in new opportunities, but that's just gravy in the pursuit of grander long-term gains.

Intuitive Surgical, Click Commerce, and NYSE Group are all activeRule Breakersrecommendations. If you want to learn more about this aggressive and opportunistic style of investing, you're welcome to 30 free days to see if it's right for you.

Home Depot is an Inside Value pick.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a fan of John Derek investing, though in real life he chose to marry one -- and only one -- brunette. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of theRule Breakersnewsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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