Acquired by Amazon in 2017, Whole Foods operated natural and organic foods supermarkets in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.
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.
In August 1996, the Company acquired all of the outstanding stock of Fresh Fields Market, Inc., which operated twenty-two natural foods supermarkets, in exchange for approximately 4,750,000 shares of newly issued Company stock. The acquisition was accounted for using the pooling of interests method.
In September 1997, the Company acquired the outstanding stock of Amrion, Inc., a producer and marketer of nutriceuticals and nutritional supplements, for approximately 4.7 million shares of newly issued Company stock. The acquisition was accounted for using the pooling-of-interests method.
On August 28, 2007, we completed the acquisition of Wild Oats Markets, Inc., in a cash tender offer of $18.50 per share, or approximately $565 million plus the assumption of approximately $148 million in existing debt. At the time of our acquisition, Wild Oats had 109 stores in 23 states and British Columbia, Canada operating under four banners: Wild Oats Marketplace (nationwide), Henry's Farmers Market (in Southern California), Sun Harvest (in Texas), and Capers Community Market (in British Columbia). On September 30, 2007, we completed the sale of all 27 Henry's Farmers Market and eight Sun Harvest store locations and a related Riverside, CA distribution center to a wholly owned subsidiary of Smart & Final, Inc., a Los Angeles-based food retailer, for approximately $165 million.
During the first quarter of fiscal year 2009, the Company issued 425,000 shares of Series A 8% Redeemable, Convertible Exchangeable Participating Preferred Stock, $0.01 par value per share to affiliates of Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., for approximately $413.1 million... On October 23, 2009 the Company announced its intention to call all 425,000 outstanding shares of the Series A Preferred Stock for redemption on November 27, 2009 in accordance with the terms governing such Series A Preferred Stock. On November 26, 2009 the holders converted all 425,000 outstanding shares of the Series A Preferred Stock. The Series A Preferred Stock was converted to common stock based on the quotient of (i) the liquidation preference plus accrued dividends and (ii) 1,000, multiplied by the conversion rate of 68.9655. At the conversion date, the liquidation preference of the Series A Preferred Stock of $425 million and accrued dividends of approximately $5.2 million, converted into approximately 29.7 million shares of common stock of the Company.
Amazon closed its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods Market on August 28, 2017.