Buying Stocks Below Their Cash Value

Do you think a return of 56% over a period of less than two years is pretty good? How about 115%? Those are the actual returns of stocks that you could have bought less than two years ago that were selling for less than the cash per share.

What is cash per share?

In simple terms, cash per share is the amount of cash the company has sitting in the banks divided by the number of shares. So if the company has little or no debt, and you can buy the stock below the amount of cash per share, you are getting a bargain. If the company went out of business today and all the inventory and equipment and all other assets were totally worthless, you would still make a profit because the cash you would receive for each share would exceed the price you paid.

Real Life Examples of Stocks that were Selling Below Cash

Let's get back to those real life examples mentioned in the first paragraph of this article. MEI Pharma (MEIP) is an oncology company focused on the clinical development of therapeutics to treat cancer. Back in November of 2015, the stock was selling for 1.64, yet it had cash per share of 1.70, providing a discount to investors of 3.5% to the cash. Since that time, the stock has risen to 2.57, a gain of 56.71%. Not a bad investment for less than a couple years. Then there is Support.com (SPRT), a provider of cloud-based software and services. In November 2015, it was trading at 1.09, with cash per share of 1.25, a 12.8% discount to cash. The stock is now trading for 2.35, a spectacular gain of 115.6%.

But what about companies that have a reverse split?

This is a great question. Let's look at bebe (BEBE), the women's clothing company, over the same time frame as the previously mentioned stocks. It was trading at a 22.6% discount to cash. Back then, the stock was trading at 0.41 per share, but the company had a 10 for 1 reverse split in December of 2016.

What this meant was that for every 10 shares that you own prior to the split, you would now only have one share. So the effective cost basis of the original purchase price would be 4.10. The stock is now at 5.48, giving investors a 33.66% return. (To clarify this, assume you buy 1,000 shares at 41 cents, for a total cost of $410. The reverse split takes place, you now only have 100 shares at 5.48 or $548 total value, a gain of over 33%.)

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I have come up with a list of almost two dozen companies that are currently trading below their cash per share, and have little or no debt. If you are interested in getting this list, just subscribe ...

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