Not sure I understand the negative response to my previous post. Was simply trying to point out that they have taken calculated risks in the past…obviously not on this scale though. At any rate, I think the lack of coverage and awareness of the whole Nathan's story, while good in the early days because it allowed a bargain stock buy, has turned harmful in recent years. The p/e far lagged the market p/e for similar growth stories, and there is now little scrutiny aside from individuals posting here. Was there a takeover offer? Did we miss out on a $110 buyout? I would speculate the answer is yes. All being said, I think shareholders deserve a little more of an explanation and transparency.
Interesting that you bring up SMG. They took a big lawsuit hit, I think $5 or $6 million by breaking the contract with SMG. They may have expected this to happen ahead of time. It is now obvious that the lawsuit "hit" turned out to be a very good business decision since they have recouped their losses and earned a lot more as a result of the new Morrell deal. Obviously the costs involved with the recent borrowing are going to be much larger, but there is a precedence for this type of action by management.
Only explanation I can think of is If they are expecting 15% to 20% annual growth over the next 3 to 5 years. If this is the case, maybe they generate $6 per share in EPS excluding the debt cost 5 years from now. Within that time frame they figure they will payoff or refinance the debt, and they pocket the $25 dividend. Just seems like hurried move to fend off a takeover and preserve access to potential long term gains. This is the only scenario that makes sense to me. Any other explanation involves shooting themselves in the foot, or opening themselves up for huge legal liability. In the short run, the earnings are gonna get whacked hard, and who knows whether Mr. Market is smart enough to look beyond.