What: Shares of Alere (NYSE:ALR), a provider of point-of-care and in-home medical diagnostic tests, surged as much as 12% during Friday's afternoon trading session. The culprit behind the move appears to be positive commentary from global investment banking firm Canaccord Genuity.
So what: As a bit of a refresher, it was announced at the beginning of February that Abbott Laboratories (NYSE:ABT) was going to buy Alere for $5.8 billion in an all-cash deal. The deal valued Alere at $56 per share, or a 51% premium to the company's valuation based on its prior-day close. Point-of-care testing is one of the fastest-growing segments within diagnostics, and the purchase was expected to broaden Abbott's product portfolio, and be immediately accretive to its earnings.
However, less than four weeks after announcing the buyout, Alere wound up delaying the filing of its annual report for fiscal 2015. It noted, at the time, that it was analyzing how revenue from Africa and China was being recognized, and trying to determine if there would be any ramifications to its previously reported results if it found something amiss. This delay in filing its results caused Abbott to request a termination of its deal to buy Alere, which Alere's board of directors promptly rejected.
On Thursday, July 14, Alere announced that it would have to revise its fiscal 2013, 2014, and 2015 earnings after conducting its analysis, but that it doesn't expect the changes to be material. It still hasn't filed its annual report, but the company did issue preliminary results for 2015 and the first-quarter of 2016.
Following the release of this information, Canaccord Genuity covering analyst Mark Massaro upgraded Alere to buy from hold, and announced in a note that he and his investment firm felt increasingly confident that the buyout would now go through.
Now what: Trying to play the arbitrage game is always a bit of a risk, because there's always the chance a deal could fall through. However, over the long term, Alere looks to be set up for steady growth given the rise of personalized medicine, and the growing ease-of-access to point-of-care and in-home diagnostics. Wall Street reflects this growth by forecasting that its full-year earnings will grow from the $1.90 it reported in 2014 -- which could be adjusted nominally per its announcement -- to an estimated $3.27 by 2018. All the while, revenue is expected to grow by the mid-single digits.
Assuming there are no more crippling surprises to come on the earnings-revision front, Alere should be in pretty good shape over the long term, and would thusly be priced quite attractively, even after today's romp higher, whether or not the buyout goes through.
Sean Williams has no material interest in any companies mentioned in this article. You can follow him on CAPS under the screen name TMFUltraLong, and check him out on Twitter, where he goes by the handle @TMFUltraLong.
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