Abbott or GE - who is smarter?

I am not a buyer of Abbott Labs(ABT) at this price, as the margin of safety has been depleted by the latest stock appreciation.  But I like its latest transaction with General Electric (NYSE GE). Abbott proved to be a shrewd buyer and seller.  It played Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Guidant (GDT) and Boston Scientific (BSX) masterfully and positioned themselves to be the “stealth” winner any way that the JNJ/Guidant or Boston Scientific/Guidant acquisition turned.

Diagnostic segment that Abbott is selling to GE for $8.5 billion generates revenues of $2.5 billion and has a 10% EBIT margin, putting a multiple of 34 times operating profits – that’s a nice fat premium – very smart on Abbott’s part.  In GE’s defense, it could probably drive some costs out of this business once it combines it with the rest of its medical business.

Vitaliy Katsenelson

I am the CEO at IMA, which is anything but your average investment firm. (Why? Get our company brochure here, or simply visit our website).

In a brief moment of senility, Forbes magazine called me “the new Benjamin Graham.”

I’ve written two books on investing, which were published by John Wiley & Sons and have been translated into eight languages. (I’m working on a third - you can read a chapter from it, titled “The 6 Commandments of Value Investing” here).

And if you prefer listening, audio versions of my articles are published weekly at investor.fm.

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