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Stocks D / Disney

URL:  http://boards.fool.com/generally-speaking-id-rather-see-debt-levels-30593690.aspx

Subject:  Re: Idea on Marvel/Pixar Date:  3/17/2013  3:24 AM
Author:  esxokm Number:  48488 of 49467

Generally speaking, I'd rather see debt levels lower. I know what you're getting at, but this raises another question: should Disney borrow money and pay investors a special dividend? Debt is generally cheap these days, so why not do that? Although it wouldn't affect capital investment in a necessarily beneficial manner, it would reward shareholders -- including management -- for investing in the company and working at the company. You could argue that Disney's future cash flows can service that as well.

While debt is not a problem now, what if it becomes so in the future? The environment might change where we might have to borrow more money in the future at higher rates. What if, for some unknown reason, we had to borrow the exact same amount of debt we have now at higher rates? In the end, it's simply a case of flexibility. I agree that the debt now isn't adversely affecting the company, but I'd have to assume lower is always better.

The net interest expense according to the Q4 report I just checked at the investors site is $369 million. Here's the comment attached to it:

**The increase in net interest expense for the year was primarily due to higher average debt balances, partially offset by lower effective interest rates.**

Not a big deal. But, $369 million represents a lot of potential content that could have been made. It also represents a potentially higher dividend.

Personally, I would feel better if the company had a much lower level of debt. Yet I agree that debt is part of business. I definitely would love the company to identify some assets that could be sold off to get rid of debt. Not sure what that would be at this point, although I recently mentioned the Touchstone library in another post.

I guess I'm just trying to maximize opportunities and shareholder value.
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