The following video is part of our "Motley Fool Conversations" series, in which consumer-goods editor and analyst Austin Smith and energy editor Joel South discuss topics around the investing world.
In today's edition, Austin and Joel discuss two companies that are being crushed by their debt levels: Caesars Entertainment and Rite-Aid. Austin believes Caesars is one of the worst plays in gaming right now and that the company went public only to cash out major shareholders from a few years ago. Austin looks at Rite-Aid's debt, which it inherited with the untimely acquisition of Brooks Pharmacy a few years ago, and is disappointed. He sees the looming Express Scripts-Medco Health merger as bad news for retail pharmacies. If Rite-Aid had an otherwise stronger balance sheet, it could partner with or be acquired by Walgreen in a move to counter the pharmacy benefit management giant. But with this level of debt, Austin doesn't see that as a legitimate consideration anymore.
Debt is a scary thing on a balance sheet and needs to be managed with care. The good news is that our Top Stock for 2012 is a retailer with a much healthier debt burden, and a superior business model. You can learn more about this potential multibagger by clicking here now.