TEXT - S&P comments on AutoZone

Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:55pm EST

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Dec 13 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it does not expect Memphis-based AutoZone Inc.'s (BBB/Stable/--) recent signing of a definitive agreement to purchase AutoAnything, an online auto parts retailer, to have an effect on our ratings or outlook. We expect AutoZone could increase leverage to fund the purchase, and credit ratios may be slightly weaker than we previously forecast during the first half of 2013. However, given the company's steady profit growth and strong cash flow generation, we believe these slight differences would be short lived. We do not expect the transaction to have a material impact on the company's profitability in the near term, but the acquisition gives AutoZone a larger presence in the online auto parts retail space, which is still a relatively small, but rapidly growing part of the overall industry.

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