Identifying a company with a lot’s of cash stash and the ability to generate more is a great start. But the cash doesn’t do the shareholders any good unless management makes smart investment with it, or returns it to its owners via dividends or share buybacks. management talent and intentions are crucial. Sometimes there is just too much cash to ignore, even if it is under the control of folks who won’t invest it or distribute it. In those cases activist investors often take large stakes and pressure managers to “unlock the value” in the company; failing that, they try to replace those managers. One way or another, it there’s enough money in the cash register, somebody will find a way to get it out.
Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.