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Teladoc: Buy the Dip?

By Anders Bylund – Updated Aug 12, 2020 at 2:05PM

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The e-health expert's stock is on sale right now, for all the wrong reasons.

E-health expert Teladoc (TDOC -1.31%) is hanging out in Wall Street's bargain bin right now -- relatively speaking. The stock is trading 27% below its 52-week and all-time highs, and the dip was triggered by Teladoc's decision to merge with sector peer Livongo (LVGO).

I think that this price cut is a wide-open invitation to start or expand a position in Teladoc. In fact, I had been looking for exactly this kind of opportunity to get into this stock myself. Here's why.

A red charting arrow rises on top of coin stacks of increasing height. A doctor sits in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

What Teladoc does and how Livongo will help

Let me back up here for a second. I was actually looking for an excuse to buy shares of Teladoc or Livongo when the two companies announced their merger. The business combination only made my own decision much easier, because I don't have to choose between two fantastic growth stocks in the booming digital health services market anymore. If all goes well, Livongo and Teladoc will become a single entity in the fourth quarter so the long-term effects of picking one over the other should be minimal.

The two companies serve very different functions in the online health sector. Teladoc helps doctors connect with patients via voice calls, video meetings, or text-only chat. These virtual doctor visits are often linked to your health insurance plan, and costs for meetings concerning everyday issues such as rashes or flu symptoms are often free of charge to the patient. The company has more than 3,000 board-certified physicians and nurses on staff to handle these calls.

Livongo specializes in monitoring services and health coaching for diabetes patients and other chronic conditions. The planned merger will give Teladoc deeper expertise in this particular niche, while Livongo expands its reach to a much larger customer base. It's a match made in heaven, involving two rapidly growing health services whose functions are complementary to each other.

Plan B: Buy Livongo if you prefer

Both stocks fell on the merger announcement. Livongo's investors fear that they will miss out on the hypergrowth that a smaller business can provide. Teladoc shareholders are worried about the $18.5 billion buyout price, although the cash-plus-stock deal structure leaves the price tag open for interpretation. Personally, I expect these modest price drops to be short-lived bumps in the road. Either one of these stocks will probably continue to beat the market for years to come, and they will only do it better together.

You could certainly enter this two-headed healthcare beast through Livongo shares instead. That stock is trading 23% below its own all-time highs. Both companies have pulverized the broader market during the COVID-19 health crisis, which almost seems tailored to these remote health checkup ideas. Teladoc is up 120% year to date and Livongo has gained 360%, including the negative market reaction to the merger itself.

TDOC Chart

TDOC data by YCharts

Yes, buy the dip

Long story short, this is exactly the type of dip I was hoping for to open up a position in a leading e-health specialist. I'm really getting two for the price of one, and there's a significant discount baked into the entry price.

You and I could also have found similar starting prices by getting into Teladoc in June or Livongo two weeks ago, but I didn't do that and my time machine is in for repairs (they said it would take "forever"). So I took this bargain-bin deal last week, and you should join me today.

Editor's note: This article has been corrected. Teladoc is up 120% year to date.

Anders Bylund owns shares of Teladoc Health. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Livongo Health Inc and Teladoc Health. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Stocks Mentioned

Teladoc Health Stock Quote
Teladoc Health
$25.70 (-1.31%) $0.34
Livongo Health Inc Stock Quote
Livongo Health Inc

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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