Curious minds have pondered the meaning of the Great Tax Reform Act of 2017, properly known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The debate has centered on whether repatriation or employee salaries or buybacks or dividend increases or debt repayment or capital investment. Until Walmart, announcements have centered on bonuses or hiring pledges. Not wages. Not anything, really, that is a truly lasting benefit to the working stiff.
And this week is no different. In a nod to the roughly 50% of population that own stock, Thursday, DST Systems announced they were being acquired by SS&C Technologies Holdings in an all cash deal valued at $84 per share. While M&A activity is not an unexpected byproduct of the tax bill, there were two noteworthy items in the release. The first being SSNC’s deal financing being a combination of debt and equity. Current SSNC shareholders will be facing some level of dilution. The second item is that the “significant leverage” will be attenuated through “cost synergies to stem from data center consolidation and reductions in corporate overhead”. This sounds like code words for force and facility reduction. Are there that many data centers on the company books?
Not being a SSNC shareholder (current or apparently future) appears to be a blessing in this merger. As a DST shareholder I will be happy to tender my shares (and vote my proxy in favor of) the deal. My only regrets are two: 1) Kansas City (for which I have a fondness) losing another company’s headquarters , and 2) that I didn’t own more shares.
My shares were purchased in four tranches with an average (post split) basis of $62.71. Total gain will be $21.29 per share or 25.3% total gain (annualized average gain would be about 11.7% depending on when it closes). Not too shabby a return and a good start towards equaling last years’ results. The merger is expected to close in the third quarter.
The only other negative is the (new) tax impact with these gains likely locking me into the higher bracket I was attempting to avoid. My philosophical observation being unless you’re extremely wealthy, the best way to avoid taxes is to make no money. A theory to which I don’t subscribe!