Wednesday, August 13, 2008

H&R Block Offloads Problem Child. Who Got the Better of the Deal?

H&R Block (HRB) off loaded their financial advisors business to Ameriprise Financial (AMP). H&R needed to make the deal so as to generate much needed cash and monetize substantial amounts of goodwill. Everyone is looking at the deal from H&R point of view with particular emphasis on balance sheet implications. What concerns me is the lack of any comment on the following points.

1. What impact on earning can H&R shareholders expect once the unit has been disposed. We know it sounds like a good deal but how good is it?

2. What valuation was used and therefore how good or bad is it for Ameriprise. Just read this quote from Reuters “H&R Block Financial Advisors employs more than 900 financial advisers, has 376,000 client accounts, and has about $30 billion of assets under management. The transaction is expected to close in four to six months, and Ameriprise expects it to add to earnings per share in early 2010. Ameriprise expects to have 13,000 advisers after the transaction." You may be sure that, that kind of fuzzy thinking did not work when the deal was being worked on.

So why should investors be asked to just accept with comment?