Dec. 14 - Three potential company comebacks for 2013 are Hewlett-Packard, Facebook and Weight Watchers. Carmen Roberts reports.
Hewlett Packard is among those who stumbled badly. Not only did PCs take a backseat to tablets, but HP's previous CEO bought software maker Autonomy for more than $11 billion and later took an $8.8 billion write down. Since then, HP has laid out a recovery plan that could make it a comeback in 2013, according to James Awad, chairman of the wealth management firm, Plimsoll Mark Capital. SOUNDBITE: JAMES AWAD, CHAIRMAN, PLIMSOLL MARK CAPITAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They've got a new management. Meg Whitman is highly respected. They have got leading market share positions in PCs, in printers and servers and associated software. They have a tremendous installed base. They are very well known and respected in the marketplace. The company generates excess cash flow, sits on a lot of cash; has a new five-year plan that seems to make a lot of sense." Even with the beginnings of a comeback in 2013, HP's plan says it may take until 2014 before the company can make a full recovery. Another possible comeback is the social media giant Facebook, that got battered after its IPO in May. Even though Facebook has rebounded somewhat, investors want to see if it can conquer mobile. Dan Niles, Chief Investment Officer for AlphaOne Capital Partners, tells Reuters that Facebook is his favorite idea for 2013. Now that Facebook has announced its mobile strategy, Niles feels the company can get back to its IPO level of $38 a share in the next year or two. A third possibility for a comeback is Weight Watchers. After some management and technology missteps in 2012, the 50-year-old company is reshaping its image and programs, according to Peter Wahlstrom, director of equity research at Morningstar. SOUNDBITE: PETER WAHLSTROM, DIRECTOR OF EQUITY RESEARCH, MORNINGSTAR (ENGLISH) SAYING: "They have a new product or program enhancement that launches, soft launch this month and really goes into effect in January 2013. Then they also have a marketing campaign that is targeted around Jennifer Hudson once again, but also Jessica Simpson, heading into 2013." Wahlstrom says Weight Watchers has a compelling business model that can address the problem of obesity in the U.S. and around the world.