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This Wall Street Cinderella Story Left Meme Stocks in the Dust Friday

By Dan Caplinger - Updated Jul 9, 2021 at 11:38AM

Key Points

  • Meme stocks have gotten a lot of attention.
  • But this under-the-radar stock completed a Cinderella-like comeback
  • Investors should pay attention to fundamental business prospects over hyped-up stories.

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The stock market climbed sharply, and one company in particular got a Hollywood ending to its comeback.

Stock investors regained their confidence on Friday, reacting positively to the notion that the market will be able to sustain strong growth even in the face of conflicting data on price pressures and macroeconomic conditions. Just after 11 a.m. EDT today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI 1.27%) was up 369 points to 34,791. The S&P 500 (^GSPC 1.73%) had gained 36 points to 4,356, and the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC 2.09%) picked up 91 points to 14,651.

Countless companies go through challenges that threaten their very existence, and many of them simply disappear, never to be seen again. But occasionally, a comeback story turns out to have a happy ending. That's what happened Friday for investors in Stamps.com (STMP), who've had to endure gut-wrenching declines but found themselves with a big payoff.

Person on couch celebrating with money on his lap.

Image source: Getty Images.

Mailing it in

Shares of Stamps.com soared 64% on Friday morning as investors reacted to the latest good news from the business services company. The move came in response to the latest in a growing trend of companies deciding to go private with the help of private equity and hedge fund investors.

Stamps.com got an offer from well-known investment firm Thoma Bravo to take the company private. The deal puts a value of $6.6 billion on Stamps.com, with its terms offering shareholders $330 per share in cash for their stock.

The buyout bid potentially marks the end of what has been one of the biggest roller coaster rides in stock market history. Stamps.com started out during the internet boom of the late 1990s, and its stock soared along with just about every other dot-com company as investors got excited about its online postage business. It plunged in the ensuing tech bust along with most internet stocks, but it persisted with its business strategy and eventually became an exclusive partner of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in its efforts to digitize postage.

The stock surged to all-time highs by 2017 and kept climbing, but in early 2019, Stamps.com again plunged. The company's announcement that it was terminating its exclusive partnership with the USPS seemed to be a fatal blow to its namesake core business. The stock lost almost 90% of its value in just a matter of months.

Bouncing back

But CEO Ken McBride didn't share investors' pessimism. He believed that the move was necessary because of the future direction of parcel deliveries. The USPS wasn't giving Stamps.com's customers the service quality they deserved, the CEO said, so the company chose to move in new directions. That included a partnership with United Parcel Service (UPS 0.98%) and efforts to diversify toward a wider range of business services for clients looking to take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.

The stock started climbing again, and the rise of e-commerce volume during the pandemic helped support Stamps.com's business even further. By July 2020, its share price was back at all-time highs.

What's next?

Stamps.com is optimistic about its ability to move forward with its strategic vision as a privately held company. McBride said that Thoma Bravo's support will help it keep innovating and pursuing growth opportunities globally.

Unfortunately, shareholders won't get an opportunity to participate in any further success Stamps.com finds. Nevertheless, the Cinderella story goes to show just how lucrative it can be to find resilient businesses that tap into fundamental growth opportunities and make good on their vision to provide valuable goods and services to their customers. Compare that to the stories behind most meme stocks, and Stamps.com simply puts them to shame.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Stamps.com. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

Stamps.com Inc. Stock Quote
Stamps.com Inc.
STMP
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return) Stock Quote
Dow Jones Industrial Average (Price Return)
^DJI
$33,761.05 (1.27%) $424.38
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD) Stock Quote
S&P 500 Index - Price Return (USD)
^GSPC
$4,280.15 (1.73%) $72.88
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return) Stock Quote
NASDAQ Composite Index (Price Return)
^IXIC
$13,047.19 (2.09%) $267.27
United Parcel Service, Inc. Stock Quote
United Parcel Service, Inc.
UPS
$204.89 (0.98%) $1.98

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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