A Slimmer, Sexier Akamai

I'm not much for fad diets. But I love it when one of my favorite stocks sheds a few unsightly pounds. Take Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM  ) , for example. Last week the company announced its intention to retire all $56.6 million of its 5.5% convertible notes.

According to this press release, the redemption will take place Sept. 7. Bondholders will be paid 101.571% of face value of the notes, plus interest owed. My estimates suggest the total cost to retire the debt will be between $59 million and $61 million. That's at least 45% of the net cash and investments Akamai held as of itssecond-quarter report.

But, believe me, this deal is worth it. A check of Akamai's 10-K annual filing shows the company paid more than $10 million in interest in 2004 and $18 million in 2003. That could drop to less than $5 million this year and to $2 million or lower next year, with the redemption of the 5.5% notes. That's a major structural improvement in the business that should have lasting effects.

Allow me to explain: After the redemption is complete, Akamai will have $200 million in notes remaining on its balance sheet. This debt can be converted into stock at $15.45 per stub. Bondholders may choose to convert at maturity, or any time the stock trades for $18.54 or better a share and stays there for 20 days during any 30-day trading period. Of course, there's a chance the conversion won't happen, but I think you'd get better odds on Seabiscuit winning next year's Kentucky Derby than you would betting against shareholders converting these puppies.

Got that? We're talking about a slimmer, richer, effectively debt-free Akamai that is about to have more cash available to fund further growth. When it comes to stocks, that's about as sexy as it gets.

Related Akamai Foolishness:

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Fool contributorTim Beyersonly breaks the rules in his portfolio. Wimp. Tim owns shares of Akamai. You can find out what else is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Fool profile, which ishere. The Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.


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