Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 1.11%) is in the midst of a transition. The company is spinning off its consumer health business next year, allowing the remaining entity to focus more on growth initiatives. For investors, that can make the dividend stock an attractive investment since its consumer health business was never a fast-growing segment of its operations.
One way the business can accelerate its plans for growth is via acquisitions, and Johnson & Johnson has been busy on that front of late.
J&J is in talks to acquire Horizon Therapeutics
Horizon Therapeutics Public (HZNP), a healthcare business that makes medicines to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, issued a press release on Nov. 29 stating that it is in "preliminary discussions" regarding a potential acquisition of its business. It lists multiple potential acquirers, including Amgen, Sanofi, and Janssen (a company that's part of Johnson & Johnson).
The press release was brief, but it did give a deadline of Jan. 10 for when the companies need to announce their intentions and whether they will be making an offer or not.
Horizon has generated $3.7 billion in revenue over the trailing 12 months and earned a profit of $574 million, for a net profit margin of 16%. Top-selling drug Tepezza, which treats thyroid eye disease, has already generated sales totaling $1.5 billion this year. During the past year, the company has also reported free cash flow of $1.3 billion. Today, Horizon has a market capitalization of over $22 billion with its valuation jumping on news of the potential deal.
J&J is already coming off a recently announced deal
The news of Johnson & Johnson potentially being involved in an acquisition of Horizon comes less than a month after the healthcare giant announced plans to buy heart-pump maker Abiomed. At $16.6 billion, that is already a sizable acquisition for Johnson & Johnson to strengthen and diversify its medtech segment.
Abiomed is a bit smaller, with its sales totaling $1.1 billion over the past four quarters. But Johnson & Johnson noted that the potential could be significant since the acquisition would create opportunities to expand by product, indication, and geography.
Could it pursue more deals?
Whether Johnson & Johnson acquires Horizon or not, it appears evident that the company is on the lookout for ways to accelerate its long-term potential. There are concerns -- with top-selling psoriasis drug Stelara losing exclusivity in the U.S. next year -- that the company might not have enough growth catalysts out there to attract investors.
But with Johnson & Johnson accumulating $17.7 billion in free cash flow over the trailing 12 months and the company's cash and marketable securities totaling $34.1 billion as of Oct. 2, it has the resources to make some large deals.
Acquisitions can help create new opportunities and add to a company's bottom line. With Horizon and Abiomed, Johnson & Johnson isn't just settling on companies that can drive growth; it's focusing on businesses that are profitable and can immediately add to its bottom line.
Is Johnson & Johnson stock a buy?
Johnson & Johnson's stock trades at 25 times its trailing earnings, which is a bit expensive compared to the healthcare sector average of 23.
But with some promising growth ahead and the company having plenty of cash to get bigger and more diverse, J&J has the potential to be a solid long-term buy. Plus, it pays a dividend that yields 2.5%, better than the S&P 500 average of 1.7%. For risk-averse investors, this can be a safe stock to add to your portfolio right now.