Your thoughts on Leucadia's sale of its full stake in Mueller Industries? Do they have something up their sleeve or are they expecting financial armageddon? Very interesting question. I haven't a clue. These guys play it pretty close to the vest.But that won't stop me from musing. Mungo "never at a loss for an opinion" Fitch.They have made comments in recent times about their fears, the desireto strengthen the balance sheet, and the lack of opportunities especiallygiven the fact that they can't borrow at low rates.So my speculation is that it's primarily a strengthening of the balance sheet,and perhaps secondarily ensuring that there is a bit of spare capacity if a great deal should come along.My wild guess is that it's not to fund a deal that's imminent, but I have nogood reasoning for that. Indeed, the fact of the very small-profit exiton the Mueller deal suggests a desire for capital now, not later.I further speculate that the next deal they do will be (unusually for them)something that earns money on a regular basis, is the sort of business that is very much off everyone's radar, and extremely inflation resistant.In other words, something very much like the National Beef deal in those particular ways, but perhaps entirely different in all other ways.They are very worried about inflation. Though I think that fear is very much misplaced for the next 5+ years, if they can find thingsthat are nice little earners (they generally aim for 15% pretax) andalso happen to be inflation resistant, so much the better.Jim
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