Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.
What: Shares of Valvoline products manufacturer Ashland
So what: Typically, when a buyout is announced, it's the stock of the target company that surges. That's not the case with Ashland today, as its stock is reacting to the announced acquisition of privately held International Specialty Products. Ashland plans to pay $3.2 billion in cash for ISP, which focuses on specialty chemicals in industries such as personal care, pharmaceuticals, and energy.
Now what: Strategically, the deal seems like a good one. ISP will give Ashland a strong foothold in faster-growing end markets while continuing the company's quest to refine its focus to specialty chemicals. According to data from Bloomberg, the price looks a bit high at 8.9 times EBITDA versus 7.3 for similar transactions (Berkshire Hathaway
As for Ashland itself, it looks like a bargain next to its acquisition, with an EBITDA multiple of 5.5 and a market cap not too far above book value.
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Fool contributor Matt Koppenheffer owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, but does not have a financial interest in any of the other companies mentioned. You can check out what Matt is keeping an eye on by visiting his CAPS portfolio, or you can follow Matt on Twitter @KoppTheFool or Facebook. The Fool’s disclosure policy prefers dividends over a sharp stick in the eye.