Almost every merger and buyout on Wall Street is sold with the idea that it will somehow help the acquiring/surviving company grow faster than it could have on its own. Sometimes that works out -- a new product is brought into a good distribution system or a newly acquired company brings new customers with it. In the case of Monday's announced deal between Lincoln National
In this $7.5 billion deal, Lincoln and Jefferson-Pilot are merging together and combining their life insurance, annuity, disability, and retirement plan operations. Jefferson-Pilot shareholders will have a 39% stake in the new company and are getting a 9% premium to Friday's close in a combination of stock and cash.
In a nutshell, this is a deal between two companies that have been growth-challenged of late. While Lincoln's earnings have grown faster than Jefferson-Pilot's over the past few years, neither of them has managed a double-digit clip. What's more, I don't see any obvious ways in which the combination is going to accelerate operating revenue. Rather, there should be cost savings from the deal. The companies pointed to significant overlap in so-called "non-distribution-related functions," and earnings will grow basically by reaping the operating savings that come from combining two companies' costs into one.
That said, the deal should also add some stability to Lincoln's earnings. The company gets much of its operating revenue from variable annuities, and its earnings can be meaningfully affected by volatility in the equity market. So even if Jefferson-Pilot doesn't turn out to add much growth, you could argue that it will improve the quality of those slow-growing earnings.
I can't honestly say that either of these stocks was on my radar beforehand, and this deal won't really change that. If I were going to invest in a life insurance company, I'd probably be more interested in the likes of ING Groep
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).