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And the Stock Madness 2007 Winner Is...

After three weeks of intense competition, we finally have our Stock Madness 2007 Champion.

In the final analysis, Chesapeake Energy (NYSE: CHK  ) took home this year's honors, after surviving a quarterfinal scare against Altria (NYSE: MO  ) , putting away Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) in the semifinals, and topping Sasol (NYSE: SSL  ) in the final round.

In the end, the tag-team effort from Motley Fool Inside Value advisor Philip Durell and analyst Rich Smith proved to be too much for the other stocks in the field.

So what made Chesapeake the best stock in this year's tournament? As Rich Smith put it in the final round, Chesapeake:

  • Sells for approximately $0.60 per dollar of intrinsic value.
  • Holds 9 trillion cubic feet-equivalent of proven natural gas reserves, with nearly twice that amount of as-yet unproven reserves.
  • Has spent billions of dollars buying up high-quality natural gas assets.
  • Is now poised to monetize those investments, creating profits for its current and new investors.

Sasol's run to the finals was also remarkable, having defeated much larger concerns Exxon Mobil (NYSE: XOM  ) in the first round and Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO  ) in round two.

Sasol advocates Motley Fool Global Gains advisor Bill Mann and analyst Joe Magyer based their investment thesis on the following (among other things):

  • In 2006, Sasol pulled in roughly $2 billion in net income from continuing operations on roughly $10 billion in revenues.
  • The company, which operates in 30 countries and recently opened offices in China and India, sees its patented gas-to-liquid (GTL) and coal-to-liquid (CTL) technologies as a potentially huge driver of long-term growth.
  • The CTL technology, in particular, could catch on in the U.S., given our vast coal deposits, growing desire for energy independence, and sustained high energy prices.
  • Sasol has been in talks with at least two governors of coal-rich U.S. states, who have expressed an interest in Sasol's patented CTL technologies. Should the technology gain traction in the U.S., Sasol's shareholders would likely be richly rewarded.

In the NCAA basketball tournament, once it's over, it's over. But here, you can still make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community. Simply click here to see what other investors are saying about the stocks you follow, and put your two cents in as well.

See you next March for Stock Madness 2008!

Chesapeake Energy is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Sasol is a Global Gains choice.

Make your 27-second video stock pitch for the chance to win $5,000. Click here for more information.

Todd Wenning is currently ranked 151 out of nearly 25,500 rated investors on CAPS. See his CAPS portfolio here. He does not own shares of any company mentioned. The Fool has a disclosure policy.

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