These three companies just didn't live up to Mr. Market's expectations last week. Sometimes an earnings stumble is a signal to sell, but digging in the dirt is also a good way to find turnaround candidates while they're getting beaten down.

Today, we have one company with a dual personality, another with five voices in its head, and a third that is trying to figure out what to do with the one identity it's got.

Not so happy together
Solar power panels and fiber optic communications equipment sounds like an odd coupling, even to Emcore (Nasdaq: EMKR). The company reported heavier losses than expected on lower revenues, but management had a perfectly reasonable explanation. Delayed delivery of new solar cell manufacturing equipment pushed away the benefits of that upgrade by a few weeks and into the next quarter, but there isn't supposed to be any significant damage done to the year's results.

Emcore is buying Intel's optical telecommunications operations for $85 million. This seems to be in line with the company's plans to split into two separate companies. In fact, CEO Reuben Richards stated that "the progress in each of our business segments continues to point towards the path of separating EMCORE into two separate companies." The way I see it, that move would in turn prepare the components for buyouts of their own. JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU) probably wouldn't mind picking up some fresh intellectual property and a small-scale manufacturing base, once you remove the solar panels. And First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR), headquartered in Phoenix, would be a natural fit for Albuquerque-based Emcore's solar assets.

There haven't been any announcements to that effect, but it makes too much sense not to happen in these surprisingly acquisition-happy times. Whatever happened to that corporate credit crunch?

Always the fifth wheel
The little online conglomerate that could, a.k.a. IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), just couldn't last Wednesday. Instead of the expected $0.55 EPS, the company reported a $1.31 loss per share. It's a complicated situation that includes legal battles with Liberty Media over a plan to split IAC into five distinct companies, high taxes, and (uh-oh ...) a badly wounded LendingTree mortgage-referral operation.

Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz thinks the five-way split makes sense, and can't wait to see it happen. Me, I think it's a lot like rearranging the deck chairs on the Exxon Valdez. You don't keep a sinking ship afloat by cutting it into pieces. I would much rather hitch my wagon to any one of the three big boys, once the flirtations among them subside.

That's one spicy burger
Wendy's (NYSE: WEN) often gets treated like the redheaded stepchild of the fast-food industry. Last week, the third-largest burger wrangler reported earnings just below Wall Street expectations but on the high side of management guidance.

CEO Kerrii Anderson said, "We executed our strategic plan, implemented many initiatives to drive the business and made tough decisions to position Wendy's for future growth." It appears that Wendy's is looking for prospective buyers. In the meantime, there's a fresh advertising campaign designed to put the iconic red-haired girl to work for her paycheck under the slogan "Waaay Better."

Wendy's stock is 29% cheaper today than it was a year ago, despite seriously improved fundamentals and rising valuations of archrivals Burger King and McDonald's (NYSE: MCD). That trend makes no sense to me, particularly since there probably will be a merger in the not-too-distant future, with all the price premiums a buyout usually entails. And remember, there's plenty of merger lust in the air right now. Maybe Mr. Market is seeing serious flaws in this company that I'm missing. I'll keep an eye on this little lady until the next report, to see if she starts making sense.

Hot tamales!
Some of these underperformers are victims of larger circumstances, while others might have only themselves to blame. It's up to you to decide which down-on-their-luck companies should be able to pull themselves up by the bootstraps, and which ones are stuck in the mud for real.

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Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in the companies discussed this week. It's his birthday today, so it's OK to have some cake and eat it, too. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy, and you can see his current holdings for yourself.