Friday, December 14, 2007

AMD loses $2B, good news for shareholders?

Did you see that thing about AMD writing down a couple billion on ATI acquisition?

People are acting like it's bad news, but I think it's actually almost completely positive for AMD.

Before the write-down, AMD was required to depreciate the goodwill over many years. The depreciation reduces income, which reduces taxes, so that's cashflow positive, but makes the Net income look smaller (bad publicity). So now...

By "writing down" goodwill instead of depreciating it:
- They get to take the huge tax deduction up front for the loss, so they probably won't pay any taxes for several years, which will boost their net
- It's a devaluation of an asset instead of an expense, so they will improve their reported net (because no depreciation will be subtracted from income)

So I think this is going to be good for them in a real cash flow way (no taxes in the near future) and in a fake enhancing of reported Net Income way. Everyone knew AMD paid a premium. You can't buy a healthy tech company without a big premium, so I don't think the write down itself revealed anything material people didn't already know. Now they'll have higher income (reported) and lower taxes. A nice combo.

Not that I'm going long AMD!

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