CVS: Amazon Capitulates - Too Cheap To Ignore?

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech - CVS


Introduction

CVS Health Corporation (NYSE:CVS) recently touched down to a 52-week low of ~$60 per share which is a drastic decline from its all-time high of $112 in 2015 translating into a nearly 50% slide in its shape price. Its P/E ratio is in sub-10 territory against an S&P 500 average of 24, suggesting CVS is roughly 60% cheaper than the average stock. Its decline has unfolded in the face several headwinds that have negatively impacted its growth, and the changing marketplace conditions have plagued the stock. Starting in the latter half of 2015 and still unfortunately persisting, the political backdrop was a significant 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)). As an extension of the political climate, the drug pricing debate has not subsided and continues to be a hot-button issue weighing on the overarching sector. In an effort to address these headwinds and restore growth CVS has made a bold $69 billion acquisition of Aetna (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. This is a bold and hefty price tag to pay yet may be necessary to compete in the increasingly competitive healthcare space in the face of drug pricing pressures. CVS is making a defensive yet essential acquisition moving into the future. As CVS transitions and realigns its business to adapt to the changing healthcare space along with Amazon’s (AMZN) competitive threat diminishing, I feel the stock is too cheap to ignore at these levels. Initiating a position near ~$60-$65 may be a substantial long-term investment for long-term value and appreciation.

Amazon’s Healthcare Capitulation

Amazon has officially entered the retail space via the Whole Foods acquisition. It had been rumored for months that Amazon was gearing up to gain entry in the potentially lucrative $560 billion prescription drug space by leveraging the Whole Foods storefronts. The speculation was rooted in Amazon’s ramped up hiring and talent acquisition to build an internal pharmacy benefits manager for its own employees. This internal effort was viewed as a proof-of-concept for the broader drug supply chain effort. Amazon has a health team that’s focused on both hardware and software projects, like developing health applications for the Echo and Dash Wand. Its cloud service, Amazon Web Services, continues to dominate the health, life sciences, and technology market as well. Amazon still has the potential with its technology and reach to disrupt the current marketplace however as of now Amazon has decided to not pursue this business in the near future. Continue reading "CVS: Amazon Capitulates - Too Cheap To Ignore?"

CVS: Aetna Acquisition - Desperation or Prudent Acquisition

Noah Kiedrowski - INO.com Contributor - Biotech


Introduction

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"