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You bring up a very good point. Most of these calculations for cash flow assume at least a steady trend in the numbers if not stable numbers. For the income statement, this is usually not an issue given the accounting rules applied. However, the cash flow statement can have unusual bumps due to timing of expenditures.

I always like to look at the trends (ideally over years) of both purchase of property/plant/equipment and depreciation. (Sometimes you have to dig around a bit in the SEC filings to find the depreciation numbers.)
In the example you gave, we probably would have seen a fairly steady depreciation expense over time indicating the one-time purchase (cash-flow) was just that, one-time, and not a fundamental shift in business or cash flows.
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