CVS: Aetna Acquisition - Desperation or Prudent Acquisition

Noah Kiedrowski - Contributor - Biotech


CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS) is going all in with a $69 billion acquisition of Aetna Inc. (NYSE:AET) to form a colossus bumper-to-bumper healthcare company. This new CVS will combine its existing pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) and retail pharmacies with the second largest diversified healthcare company via the proposed Aetna acquisition. This is a hefty price tag yet may be necessary to compete in the increasingly competitive healthcare space in the face of drug pricing pressures. The $69 billion acquisition will not come cheap and require issuing debt and diluting the share base as this will be funded via a combination of stock and cash. CVS has been in a downward spiral since its all-time highs of $112 in 2015 to lows of $67 in 2017, translating into wiping out 40% of its market cap. Several headwinds have negatively impacted its growth, and the changing marketplace conditions have plagued the stock. Exacerbating this downward movement, Amazon (AMZN) has entered the fray and has resulted in another leg down for the stock. The latter half of 2015 through 2017, the political backdrop was a major headwind for the entire pharmaceutical supply chain from drug manufacturers to pharmacies/pharmacy benefit managers (i.e., CVS and Walgreens (WBA)) and the drug wholesalers in-between (i.e. McKesson (MCK), Cardinal Health (CAH) and AmerisourceBergen (ABC)). Lastly, Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and behind the scenes moves in the healthcare space has incited rumors that Amazon is looking to gain entry into the pharmacy space via leveraging the Whole Foods physical footprint. The Amazon threat has become a formidable challenger in this space as it has in the past with other industries with its first real pivot after acquiring Whole Foods with major plans in entering the pharmacy space. I believe CVS will undergo short-term stock pressure but long-term appreciation as this move was a defensive yet necessary acquisition moving into the future.

CVS Health/Aetna

Aetna Acquisition

The Aetna acquisition creates the first through-in-through healthcare company, combining CVS's pharmacies and PBM platform with Aetna's insurance business. Per the agreed terms, Aetna stockholders will receive $207 per share, $145 in cash and $62 in stock. Collectively, the acquisition is valued at $78 billion.

"This combination brings together the expertise of two great companies to remake the consumer healthcare experience." "With the analytics of Aetna and CVS Health's human touch, we will create a healthcare platform built around individuals." CVS President and CEO Larry Merlo said in a statement. Continue reading "CVS: Aetna Acquisition - Desperation or Prudent Acquisition"

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Hasbro - Major Tailwinds Ahead

Noah Kiedrowski - Contributor - Biotech


It’s been an eventful couple of months for Hasbro Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS), the third largest toy maker in the world with Toys R Us filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy and a rumored acquisition of rival toymaker Mattel Inc. (NASDAQ:MAT) all while the stock has been trading erratically in the backdrop with 10% swings in the stock price. As a result of the Toys R Us bankruptcy filing, Hasbro had to lower its guidance through the holiday season, and as a result, shares initially tumbled 9% on the news. Recently, Hasbro had witnessed a huge sell-off from its 52-week high of $116 to $88 or a 24% slide after reporting its most recent quarterly results with lowered guidance due to the Toys R Us bankruptcy filing. Hasbro develops toys for many of the multi-billion dollar movie franchises such as Marvel Universe, Star Wars, Disney Princesses, Frozen, Transformers and Jurassic World. Hasbro has many catalysts in the near term with major movie franchises coming into the fray with upcoming Disney releases: Thor: Ragnarok and Star Wars: The Last Jedi to round out 2017. It's noteworthy to point out that Thor: Ragnarok has topped $675 million thus far at the international box office and closing in on the $750 million mark in theatrical release rising to the 10th highest grossing movie in 2017. In 2018, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars Han Solo spinoff and Ant-Man and The Wasp to highlight a few major movies. Taking into account Hasbro’s growth, the potential acquisition of Mattel, Q4 2017-Q2 2018 catalysts, trading at a P/E of ~20, boasting a 2.4% yield and initiatives within Hasbro Studios to propel growth further presents a compelling buy after this recent sell-off below $100 per share. Continue reading "Hasbro - Major Tailwinds Ahead"

Disney's Pivot - Future Autonomy and Growth

Noah Kiedrowski - Contributor - Biotech


The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) just reported its full-year FY2017 numbers with its Q4 numbers falling short of analysts’ estimates, missing on both EPS and revenue coming in at $1.07 (missing by $0.08) and $12.78 billion (missing by $560 million), respectively. On an annual basis, EPS marginally decreased to $5.69 for FY2017 from $5.72 for FY2016. All financial metrics insignificantly decreased year-over-year with a slight increase in free cash flow. All operating segments insignificantly decreased year-over-year as well. However, Parks and Resorts were a bright spot for FY2017. Now with FY2017 in the books, FY2018 is off to a great start with strongholds in streaming (Hulu, BAMTech, Sling offerings), future inroads into other streaming initiatives with a Disney branded service to directly compete with Netflix (NFLX) and an ESPN streaming offering slated for release in 2018 and finally a record-breaking movie release with Thor: Ragnarok already surpassing $212 million domestically and $650 million worldwide on its way to possibly breaking the prestigious 1 billion dollar mark only after two weeks in release. I feel too much of an emphasis is being placed on ESPN as it weighs less on overall profits. Disney is evolving to address the deteriorating Media Networks business segment with initiatives put forth previously and doubling down during its recent conference call. Investors appear to be looking past this ESPN issue finally as seen in the price action of Disney stock after releasing a lukewarm earnings announcement. Disney has one of its biggest movie slates for FY2018 and a potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets to further drive growth. Disney offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity considering the growth, pipeline, Media Networks remediation plan, diversity of its portfolio, share repurchase program and dividend growth.

Disney’s New Growth Pivot - Streaming

ESPN remained at the forefront of investors’ minds, serving as the root cause of this streaming initiative as profits and revenue from the Media Networks division have stalled out over the past few years. Simply put, Disney is going all-in on a Disney branded streaming service come 2019. As investors digest the earnings report and fixate on the eroding Media Networks division, I think Disney is offering a long-term buying opportunity near ~$100 per share. This has been seen by the price movement in Disney stock post-earnings which saw a ~3% move to the upside despite the disappointing earnings announcement. Although ESPN makes up a disproportionate amount of the company’s revenue and income, all of its other franchises are posting robust growth hence Disney will be relying less on its ESPN franchise over the coming years. Disney’s perpetual stock slump and the roller coaster ride over the last two years has almost entirely been attributable to the decrease in ESPN subscribers and subsequent revenue slowdown at its Media Networks division. Continue reading "Disney's Pivot - Future Autonomy and Growth"

Facebook Continues Double-Digit Growth - $200 Soon?

Noah Kiedrowski - Contributor - Biotech


Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) recently announced Q3 FY2017 earnings and once again delivered phenomenal growth numbers across the business with beats on both top and bottom lines with revenue of $10.33 billion and EPS of $1.59 translating into beats of $490 million and $0.31, respectively. Total revenue and net income were up 47% and 79%, respectively. Previously, I authored an article and put forth my thesis that Facebook was the preferred FANG stock, collectively comprised of Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Netflix (NFLX) and Google (GOOG), considering its growth and valuation relative to its FANG cohort. The Q2 FY2017 earnings reinforced this thesis. Facebook had been on an uptrend heading into earnings and broke through the $182 level.

The stock declined after the earnings call due to talk that the company will increase expenses to beef up its security workforce to combat “abuse on our platforms, ” and as a result, the stock sold off a bit to settle at $179 the next day. The stock has had a tremendous run YTD and is up 55.5%. These numbers may seem staggering, and some may contend that buying at these levels would be cashing the stock. Even at these levels and YTD appreciation, factoring in Facebook’s projected growth with technology comparators such as Google, Netflix, and Amazon, collectively known as the FANG stocks, Facebook is far superior with a lower risk profile. Facebook’s projected growth is more significant than Google’s yet has a P/E ratio that’s in-line with Google’s and a fraction of Amazon’s and Netflix’s. I feel that Facebook represents value even after this massive run and I maintain my long thesis. Continue reading "Facebook Continues Double-Digit Growth - $200 Soon?"