Is J&J figuring on more foreign acquisitions?

The head-scratching over the structure of Johnson & Johnson's $21.3 billion deal for devicemaker Synthes continues. When news of a possible deal first broke, analysts figured J&J would use most of the $28 billion in cash it has overseas to buy the Swiss company. But instead, J&J is paying 65 percent of the deal price in stock, as the New York Times points out.

People are asking why, and the NYT conjectures that J&J is keeping its powder dry for more overseas deals. After buying Synthes, J&J would still have billions upon billions in its overseas war chest. So, the company may be on the lookout for other foreign buys.

There are other reasons. J&J may be angling to protect its credit rating by using shares to help fund the deal. The company takes great pride in its top-shelf credit rating. Or Hansjörg Wyss, who owns a major chunk of Synthes, may prefer stock to cash for estate-planning purposes. After all, he is older the normal retirement age.

- read the NYT piece

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