Acquired in 2019, Dun & Bradstreet provided commercial data, analytics and insight on businesses used primarily for risk management decisions and sales and marketing.
A company creates wealth for its long-term shareholders in 2 main ways - through dividend payments and through the accumulation of retained earnings. This graph shows the accumulation of per-share equity of long-term shareholders (green bars), which consists of the retained earnings plus all capital invested in the company, and the cumulative dividends the company has paid over time per share of its stock (blue bars).
In the words of Warren Buffett: "We're looking for... businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt."
Return on equity is a key metric of financial performance, indicating a company's ability to generate earnings using shareholder capital. Over time, ROE is one of the major determinants of the rate at which a company creates shareholder wealth. The average ROE for large U.S. companies is 12%, and many investors use it as a threshold for attractive investments.
Companies can boost ROE by increasing leverage, which reduces the safety of the investment. Therefore, it is useful to look at the return on assets (ROA), which measures a company's earning power regardless of its capital structure. A widening gap between ROE and ROA may be a warning sign that should be thoroughly investigated.
Earnings per share is a popular metric used to value a company (using P/E ratio); growth in EPS is often used to judge company growth potential. However, many investors believe that EPS is an inferior metric to ROE, because it ignores the amount of capital the company used to generate earnings.
Free cash flow shows how much cash a company generates from operations, above and beyond what is required to maintain or expand its productive assets. This cash can be returned to investors, or spent by management on growing the company or paying back its debts.
Balance sheets of many companies contain intangible assets such as goodwill, trademarks, patents, etc. Many investors consider intangibles more difficult to value than physical assets. If intangible assets had been valued incorrectly, they must be impaired, resulting in a loss charged against shareholder equity. This chart demonstrates the potential loss to shareholder equity from such impairments.
Companies often use debt financing to increase their return on equity. However, as the amount of debt financing increases relative to the amount of equity financing, the company becomes more sensitive to down turns and other negative events. As a result, many investors use the ratio of debt to equity as a measure of a company's financial risk, and avoid companies that have this ratio above 1.
This chart shows shareholder equity as a percentage of total assets, allowing investors to judge the overall leverage. Companies with a higher proportion of equity can be viewed as safer investments. This metric is particularly important for highly leveraged institutions, such as banks, where it must be at least 4% according to government regulations.
The ratio of current assets to current liabilities is known as the current ratio. This metric is a quick measure of the company's ability to pay its short-term obligations. A current ratio below 1 is a warning sign that should be investigated, especially for companies that cannot count on adequate cash flow from operations.
This chart shows the cumulative dilution of investor ownership in a company over time. Dilution reduces an investor's participation in the future earnings. Dilution increases when a company issues new shares, and decreases when a company buys its shares back. Many investors avoid companies with large chronic dilution.
analysis provides insight into factors affecting the Return On Equity of a company.
The DuPont equation decomposes ROE as follows:
ROE = (Net margin) * (Asset turnover) * (Asset to equity ratio)
Net margin indicates operating efficiency, Asset turnover measures the total asset use efficiency, and the Asset to equity ratio is a measure of financial leverage.
The dividend payout ratio tells investors what percentage of earnings a company returns to shareholders, and what percentage it retains and reinvests. This ratio represents a major capital allocation decision by the company, and can be used to judge management rationality. Rational management should pay out all earnings that cannot be productively reinvested. Therefore, a low dividend payout ratio for a profitable company with a low growth potential may be a warning sign.
Many investors use the P/B ratio as a quick way of judging company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - specifically seek out companies with low P/B ratios. However, investors should be careful not to make investment decisions on this metric alone, without considering a company's earning and growth potential, since a low P/B ratio can be a sign of a bleak future for the business.
P/E ratio is a popular way of making a quick judgment of a company valuation. Value investors - followers of Graham and Dodd - often seek solid companies with low P/E ratios as investment opportunities. However, P/E ratio represents an oversimplified approach to business valuation, and can often lead to incorrect investment decisions.
On August 31, 2010, we acquired a 100% equity interest in Dun and Bradstreet Australia Holdings Limited (D&B Australia) for a net cash outlay of $204.5 million, subject to a working capital adjustment, primarily with international cash on hand. Related to this acquisition, we entered into a hedge to protect the translation of the Australian Dollar-denominated purchase price into U.S. Dollars and realized a net derivative gain of $3.4 million in Other Income (Expense)Net in our consolidated statement of operations. D&B Australia was a member of the D&B Worldwide Network and is the leading credit and information service provider in Australia and New Zealand. The acquisition of D&B Australia represents a strong fit with our international strategy and allows us to participate directly in a geographic region that has increasing importance for our global customers. D&B Australia is a leader in commercial risk and receivables management and owns and operates an emerging high growth consumer credit service. Through these businesses, D&B Australia is able to efficiently collect high quality data on most businesses within Australia and New Zealand. The results of D&B Australia have been included in our consolidated financial statements since the date of acquisition. The acquisition was valued at $209.5 million, including a working capital adjustment of $1.6 million. Transaction costs of $3.2 million were included in operating expenses in the consolidated statement of operations. The acquisition was accounted for as a purchase transaction, and accordingly, the assets and liabilities of the acquired entity were recorded at their estimated fair values at the date of acquisition.
On May 12, 2015, we acquired a 100% equity interest in DBCC. DBCC provides business credit building and credibility solutions. The companys headquarters is in Los Angeles, CA, with offices throughout the United States. As a result of this acquisition, we formed a new business, Dun & Bradstreet Emerging Businesses, a combination of DBCCs technology and data solutions with Dun & Bradstreets small and mid-sized operations. The new business has been established to expand our capabilities to deliver more sophisticated solutions to the diverse needs of emerging business customers. The results of DBCC have been included in our consolidated financial statements since the date of acquisition. The acquisition was accounted for in accordance with ASC 805, Business Combinations. Total consideration included an initial cash payment of $320.0 million, at the closing of the transaction, and an earnout of up to $30.0 million based on the achievement of sales, EBITDA, operating expense and operating income targets through December 31, 2018. In connection with this potential earnout payment, we recorded total contingent consideration liability of $11.2 million initially, representing the estimated fair value of the contingent consideration we expected to pay (see further discussion within this Note). Of the $320.0 million initial cash payment, a part of the merger consideration was placed in escrow to indemnify the Company against a portion of the losses, if any, arising out of certain class action litigation matters and for other customary matters, subject to caps and other conditions. As of the acquisition date, discovery in the cases was ongoing, and the Company was investigating the allegations. We therefore did not have sufficient information upon which to determine that a loss in connection with these litigations was probable, reasonably possible or estimable, and thus no reserve was established nor was a range of loss disclosed. Hence no associated indemnification asset was recognized on the acquisition date. As a result of the acquisition, DBCCs previous claim under its pending legal action against us was discontinued with prejudice. We also effectively terminated other preexisting contractual arrangements with DBCC. We have initially determined these preexisting relationships were settled at market value on the acquisition date and therefore no settlement gain or loss was recognized. Transaction costs of $6.9 million were included in operating expenses in the consolidated statement of operations and comprehensive income (loss). The acquisition was accounted for as a purchase transaction, and accordingly, the assets and liabilities of the acquired entity were recorded at their estimated fair values at the date of the acquisition.
Investor Group Led by CC Capital, Cannae Holdings, Bilcar, Black Knight and Thomas H. Lee Partners Completes Acquisition of Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet shareholders received $145.00 in cash for each share of common stock they own, in a transaction valued at $6.9 billion including the assumption of $1.5 billion of Dun & Bradstreets net debt and net pension obligations.