"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 that Buffett loves, I've got a good staring 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 130,000-investor-strong Motley Fool CAPS community, I went on a hunt for companies fitting this "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)

Apollo Group (NASDAQ:APOL)

$9.1 billion





Autodesk (NASDAQ:ADSK)

$4.7 billion





Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS)

$7.2 billion





The Gap (NYSE:GPS)

$11.9 billion





TheStreet.com (NASDAQ:TSCM)

$58 million





Data from Motley Fool CAPS and Yahoo! Finance, as of May 28, 2009.  

Begging for booyahs
We Fools keep a watchful eye on TheStreet.com. Why? One, we're pretty sure everyone is a closet Jim Cramer fan, even if they agree that Jon Stewart owns a small part of his soul. Two, we're in the same industry -- online financial publishing -- so we naturally keep tabs on one another.

And while everyone knows that the publishing world -- especially where it's reliant on advertising -- is in a world of hurt, TheStreet.com's stock price is in a world of wonder. As TMFDitty wrote last fall:

Is business lousy for financial services? Yes. Is the online ad market going down the tubes? Also yes. ButTheStreet.com has ample free cash flow, and sizeable cash reserves. If management manages to achieve the 20% growth that Wall Street postulates for it, the stock is undervalued by a good 50%. Time to start outperforming again, Mr. Cramer.

Since then, both the industry and the stock have gotten progressively worse. So much worse, in fact, that shares now trade at about their net-current value. In other words, the market is valuing the business for a big, fat, giant … we'll call it nothing.

Mind you, the company is losing money. But as TMFDitty points out, its cash-flow picture is quite a bit better. In the most recent quarter, TheStreet.com generated $4.7 million in free cash flow. On a recent conference call, CFO Eric Ashman declared that cost containment efforts would lead the company to its goal of "targeting a free cash flow neutral or better result for the full year." While hardly impressive, that isn't the kind of performance you need to be overly cautious about when analyzing these kinds of net-net investments.

The upside potential is what happens when advertising rates creep back up again. Shares of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) are seeing a slow and steady recovery in anticipation of this happening. And even a slight recovery could well be beneficial for TheStreet.com. With an enterprise value of essentially zero, shares could become incredibly attractive if the company can revert to even a smidgen of its former self, when it consistently cranked out a few million bucks of net income every quarter.

Your turn to chime in
Have your own take on TheStreet.com? More than 130,000 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.

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Fool contributor Morgan Housel doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers selection. Electronic Arts is a Stock Advisor pick. The Fool owns shares of Autodesk and has a disclosure policy.