"I don't look to jump over seven-foot bars: I look around for one-foot bars that I can step over." 
-- Warren Buffett       

If you're in the market for those one-foot bars Buffett loves, I've got a good starting point: companies where the net amount of cash on hand represents a significant portion of the share price. On a few rare occasions, you're being handed the actual business operations for free -- or at least, close to it.

Using the wisdom of our 135,000-investor-strong Motley Fool CAPS community, I went on a hunt for companies that could fit "scraped-off-the-pavement" criteria. Specifically, I looked for:

  • No long-term debt.
  • A high level of total cash in relation to current share price.

Pretty straightforward. Among others, I came across these five:


Market Cap

Recent Price

Total Cash
per Share

2009 EPS Estimates

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Expeditors International (NASDAQ:EXPD)

$7.2 billion





Guess? (NYSE:GES)

$2.6 billion





Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS)

$1.4 billion





Deckers Outdoor (NASDAQ:DECK)

$835 million





CF Industries (NYSE:CF)

$3.8 billion





Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance as of June 8, 2009.  EPS = earnings per share.

One-hit wonder? Destined for blunder?
Remember Crocs (NASDAQ:CROX)? The "next Nike (NYSE:NKE)" went from superhero to irrelevant hack in a matter of months -- at least from a shareholder point of view. In hindsight, the reason is fairly obvious: It was reliant on a single product that was extraordinarily prone to trend death. This happens all the time. Pogs and pet rocks used to be cool too, you know.

Crocs is an interesting story to study when thinking about Deckers Outdoor. While slightly diversified, Deckers relies on UGGs -- a fury boot you probably can't relate to unless you're a girl between the ages of 14 and 19 -- for a huge chunk of revenue and just about all of its profit.

Such situations usually result in binary outcomes: They either explode into greatness, or go out of business. Here, I won't even attempt to guess whether UGGs are a worthwhile phenomenon to chase. I sincerely believe no one truly knows.

CAPS member MKNII, nevertheless, wrote an opinion last summer that sums up the bullish argument for long-term UGGs success:

The product provides a substantial customer value through superior quality, comfort and image that drives sales. Additionally, I feel competion is relatively limited in this market, because few competitors compete on this level. Niche like product loyalty yet with large and growing market. As far as limited product line and diversification, I feel one or two top notch, original designs and their brand will overrun skepticism. Potential growth and staying power, with strong financials and consistent growth make it long term player.

But what makes Deckers interesting is the pristine quality of its balance sheet. Its $230 million in cash and short-term investments equates to more than one-quarter of its market cap. In other words, more than $17 of this company's $64 share price is composed of cold, hard cash, and it doesn't have a nickel of debt.

Shares currently trade at under 9 times forward earnings estimates -- pretty cheap by any measure. But that valuation gets even more alluring; back out the $17-per-share mountain of cash, and the multiple drops to something around 6 times forward earnings.

True, some of this seemingly nutty valuation could be the product of overly optimistic forecasts, hesitations surrounding a bludgeoned consumer and, as mentioned, alarm surrounding one-hit-wonder status. Some portion of these fears is indeed justified. But I can't help but wonder if they truly rationalize such a paltry valuation.

Your turn to chime in
Have your own take on Deckers Outdoor? More than 135,000 investors use CAPS to share ideas and swap opinions. Click here to check it out and speak your mind. It's 100% free to participate.

Related Foolishness:                                                                    

Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.