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Feels Lousy, Sounds Frightening, but It's a Buying Opportunity

Stocks in this article: LUKJEF

Its land based contract oil and gas drilling operations means LUK's holdings provide drilling services through 26 drilling rigs to independent oil and natural gas exploration and production companies in the mid-continent region of the U.S. That's an ongoing contractual source of revenue.

On top of all that, it agreed to purchase the rest of the shares of Jefferies Group (JEF) that it doesn't already own. Now LUK will completely control a multi-billion dollar financial firm that operates as a securities and investment banking company in the Americas, Europe, and Asia.

The question might be asked, "Who'll be controlling who?" Even if the question doesn't make a lot of sense, it's interesting to note that JEF's Chairman and CEO Richard B. Handler will become the CEO of Leucadia after the deal closes in the first quarter of 2013. LUK CEO Ian Cummings will retire.

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real money portfolio for his charitable trust- enjoy advance notice of every trade, full access to the portfolio, and deep coverage of the latest economic events and market movements.

Handler, who currently owns nearly 15 million shares of JEF, benefited immediately from LUK's buyout since the shares of JEF popped around 14%. In all fairness to Handler, JEF's shares had fallen nearly 30% from its 52-week high of $19.82, so he's just getting closer to even.

JEF is a profitable company with an almost 16% operating margin trailing 12 months and its revenue increased an impressive 60% as of their last quarter. They report earnings Dec.18. LUK is buying a financial services company that's selling right around book value and has more than $82 a share in cash.

The best way to learn more about Leucadia National is to drill down in its very simple, unremarkable web site. They're an opportunistic company that is currently selling below book value. Last quarter they figured out a way to report year-over-year revenue growth of an unbelievable 995%. I'm sure there's a delightful explanation.

The chart illustrates LUK's share price over the past 5 years. It includes a comparison to the company's price-to-book value ratio which is well below 1. LUK Price / Book Value Chart LUK Price / Book Value data by YCharts

LUK's share price is down more than 30% from its 52-week high of $29.79, and trades closer to its 52-week low. It pays shareholders a relatively small 25 cents a share annual dividend, a payout ratio of only 12%. Clearly it was saving its $1.16 billion in total cash for the JEF deal.

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