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Why MedAssets, Inc. Shares Spiked Higher

By Sean Williams - Feb 27, 2014 at 12:47PM

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MedAssets shares soar after the company tops Wall Street's estimates again. Should investors buy this latest beat or is there more to these figures than meets the eye?

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of MedAssets (NASDAQ: MDAS), a cloud-based provider of clinical resource management and revenue cycle management solutions for the health-care industry, spiked higher by as much as 15% after reporting its fourth-quarter earnings results after the bell last night.

So what: For the quarter, MedAssets reported a relatively tame 4% increase in revenue to $170.5 million, highlighted by a 7% increase in its clinical resource management segment and a 1% decline in its revenue cycle management segment. Adjusted income for the quarter came in at $0.30 per share, handily reversing a year-ago loss. By comparison, Wall Street expected a $0.28-per-share profit on just $165.7 million in revenue. Looking toward 2014, MedAssets is forecasting revenue growth of 2.9%-4.9%, with adjusted EPS of $1.33-$1.43, or 0.8%-8.3% growth. Both figures are in line with the current consensus estimate. To boot, MedAssets' board also authorized the repurchase of $75 million of its own shares over the next 12 months.

Now what: Compared to Wall Street's expectations, this was a pretty stable quarter, but as a shareholder, you have to be at least a bit concerned, I believe, at this lack of top- and bottom-line growth. The rollout of Obamacare has caused a number of clinical segments, including hospitals and biopharmaceutical companies that contract out their research, to tighten their belts. One way these sectors can reduce spending is by utilizing MedAssets solutions to improve operating efficiency. Apparently, that's not happening at the moment and it's a bit confusing -- almost as confusing as why the company would buy back shares when it could instead initiate a dividend. MedAssets still appears fairly inexpensive on a forward P/E basis, but I'd suggest it's fully valued here with growth middling in the low-to-mid-single digits.

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