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Author: TMFTardior Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 711  
Subject: Re: Buffett buying YUM?? Date: 2/12/2000 6:53 PM
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Hey Brian,

I think that your thinking is right on. Tricon had to make this kind of move, and, provided that it is well-executed, it may well turn out to benefit the shareholders. If they successfully retain the more profitable units and sell the less for a reasonable price, they'll emerge lean, mean, and not too far in-between.

But what will be the level of their revenues at that point? How fast will they grow? How much debt will they retain at the end of this divestiture? They still have $2 billion plus in LT debt (probably; it was $2.5 when we last heard), and the divestiture they have left won't finish it off, if the past payoff rate continues. How will they pay off the rest? Will their foreign ventures find acceptance in the various markets? They seem to have so far, but will it continue? Have we been seeing a temporary bump because they're exotic?

You're a better man than I if you can answer these questions and estimate the company's likely growth going forward. That uncertainty is why investors have shied away, and probably will continue to do so until the situation stabilizes.

Management seems to have a good grasp of the situation, so there is hope. I would feel better about it, however, if they would talk forthrightly about the company's problems rather than celebrating high operating earnings. I want to know that they know how delicate their position is. I want to hear their vision of the future, after the divestiture.

That's why I was disappointed by the earnings announcement, and why I insisted upon laying out clearly the situation as I saw it. At least, I think we can agree, it has inspired folks on this board to take a hard look at the company. If your conclusion is that management has its rudder pointed in the right direction, great. You'll be the big winners here, when the turnaround comes. Me, I'm going to sit on the sidelines a while longer, until I have a clearer idea of where this company is going.

Fool on!
BrianZ
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