by William Baldwin

Much in vogue are

businesses with “moats”—the resistance to competitio­n that comes, for example, from technology or a winner-take-all network. But guess what has been as hot on Wall Street

as Alphabet? Laundry. Cintas, which rents and cleans uniforms, has seen its shares climb 14-fold from their recession low 11 years ago.

Cintas is now richly priced, with

an enterprise value (debt plus market value of common, minus cash) equal to 4.5

times revenue. More affordable is UniFirst, which is in the same line of work and has an enterprise value only two times revenue. Sometimes

the mundane makes you more money than the

magnificen­t. William Baldwin is ForbesÕ Investment Strategies columnist.

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