Who's next on the auction block? That's the question following Home Depot's
While the statement contains the usual verbiage about the proceeds being used for debt repayment, general corporate purposes, weekend jai alai tournaments, etc., it's pretty tough to imagine that any IOUs issued under this statement would be used for anything but an acquisition or two.
After all -- as I noted last week -- Home Depot is already swimming in cash flow. It generates more than enough of the green stuff to fund its own extensive growth, as well as buy back shares and pay a (somewhat dinky) dividend. Moreover, its Mexico strategy, along with other initiatives, proves that the company is not afraid to pay up for some extra top-line growth, especially with faster-growing competitor Lowe's
That's why there was speculation (again) late last week that Big Orange would be making a run at Kingfisher PLC, a $12.7 billion global home-improvement outfit based in the U.K. Kingfisher already operates across Europe, and has 35 stores in China, a country where Home Depot is hoping to expand. Though weekend reports -- based on the usual, unidentified sources -- claimed a deal was in the works, Kingfisher said a recent meeting of the capi di capi was routine and did not involve takeover talks. Uh huh.
Of course, since Home Depot would need a bit more than $5 billion to get the deal done, we might also guess that this is just a case of striking while the iron is hot. When debt is cheap, there's no reason not to take advantage, especially when the firm's return on capital stands near 20%. In any case, there's little here for shareholders to fear. With the firm's existing debt at just $2.1 billion and annual cash flow from operations of nearly $7 billion, Home Depot will have little trouble staying out of hock.
For related Foolishness:
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- Last quarter was good to both Lowe's and Home Depot.
Seth Jayson is in the market for a 90-degree tubing elbow, so it's time for a trip to Home Depot. At the time of publication, he had no positions in any firm mentioned. View his stock holdings and Fool profile here. Fool rules are here.