Not because I own the stock (I don't), or even because I'm naturally curious about all the stocks recommended by Inside Value (although its record of beating the market 10% to 7% since inception certainly deserves interest). No, the real reason I want to see Accenture's report tomorrow is because back in November, the company revealed an interesting little transaction -- and I want to see what the company has to say about it. (More on this in a moment).
Analysts are likely feeling nervous that Accenture may once again whoop their consensus estimates -- it's done so in three of the past four quarters, beating estimates by an average of a penny a quarter. This time around, Accenture is "supposed" to report $0.34 per share, a less-than-10% increase over its fiscal Q1 2005 number, despite a revenue rise expected to amount to an even 10%. (To this Fool, that looks like a situation tailor-made for another earnings beating.)
Not that Fools care much about the quarter-to-quarter performance of any of the stocks we follow. It's fun, sure, in the same way that watching your football team score a single touchdown is fun, but in the end, it's who wins at the end of the game that counts. In Accenture's case, the company did something back in November that could go a long way toward making this a winning investment.
At least I think it did. In an exercise of remarkably laconic writing, full of numbers but almost totally devoid of explanation, Accenture informed the SEC that on Nov. 15, one of its indirect subsidiaries, Accenture Finance (Gibraltar) Ltd, "purchased 10,465,117 shares of Accenture Ltd Class A common shares at a price of $21.50 per share, or approximately $225,000,000 in aggregate." Accenture went on to clarify that the sellers in this transaction were "certain former Accenture partners residing outside the United States," but said nothing more.
Sound shady? An indirectly owned offshore subsidiary of an offshore-based U.S. company buying its parents' shares from offshore-based insiders? It did to me, too -- until I looked up and saw that Accenture shares trade for upwards of $29 per stub today. After doing some digging, I learned that even back when the transaction closed, Accenture's subsidiary was getting about a 20% discount on the shares, in comparison to their then-current market price of $26.50.
Now, there could certainly be more to this story than I've discovered so far. But at first glance, it really does look like Accenture has, indirectly or not, bought back a good 1.8% worth of its share count -- and at a remarkably good price. Tomorrow, I'm just hoping to learn a few more details.
For more Foolish thoughts on Accenture, read:
- Accenture Shares the Wealth
- Accenture Cranks Out Cash
- Fool by Numbers: Accenture Q3 2005
- Accenture-ating the Positive
Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in Accenture.