Envision Healthcare could be sold

Envision rises amid report of private equity interest

Envision Healthcare could be sold. See Stockwinners.com for more

Shares of Envision Healthcare (EVHC) are on the rise following a report by Bloomberg claiming the company has attracted buyout interest from private equity investors.

The hospital based physician group, which activist Starboard Value has targeted, had previously announced that it was exploring options to enhance shareholder value.

Meanwhile, Baird analyst Whit Mayo told investors that Envision could be worth in the area of $40 per share in a leveraged buyout, which is an estimated value that his peer at Keybanc also sees as possible.

PRIVATE EQUITY INTEREST

According to a report by Bloomberg, Envision has attracted buyout interest from firms including Carlyle Group (CG) and Onex Corp.

The two are among companies that may bid for Envision alone or as part of a group, the report added.

The health-services provider has been under pressure from activist investor Starboard Value, who revealed a stake in Envision in October and recommended the company as an attractive takeover target, Bloomberg noted.

LBO ‘DOABLE’

In a research note to investors published prior to the release of Bloomberg’s report, Baird‘s Mayo noted that he would guess that about three to four hedge funds now collectively own about 20% of Envision Healthcare, with “potentially more in the shadows,” and that a leveraged buyout is “very doable” if one believes there is an investment case for industry volumes.

If there is a case seen for structural changes in volumes, cash collections and/or physician rate, Mayo sees the potential for “very acceptable returns” on a theoretical leveraged buyout in the $40 per share area, he contended.

#Mayo pointed out that he thinks the upside risk of a leveraged buyout is being “underappreciated,” and reiterated an Outperform rating and $35 price target on the shares.

Meanwhile, KeyBanc analyst Jason #Gurda told investors in a research note of his own that he also believes a private equity buyer could reasonably bid “in the low $40s” for Envision in a leveraged buyout.

The analyst noted that he was not surprised to hear of reports that there is private equity interest in the company as in the past there has been a considerable level of private equity investment in both of Envision’s business segments – physician services and ambulatory surgical centers. Gurda reiterated an Overweight rating on the stock, while raising his price target on the shares to $40 from $37.

PRICE ACTION

In Tuesday’s trading, shares of Envision have jumped about 7% to $27.66. Year-to-date, however, the stock is still down over 56%.


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Target reports on Wednesday

What to watch in Target’s earnings report

target

Target (TGT) is scheduled to report results of its third fiscal quarter before the market open on Wednesday, November 15, with a conference call scheduled for 8:00 am EDT.

What to watch for:

1. COMPETITION WITH ONLINE RETAILERS

Retailers like Target have been hurt by an in online shopping on sites like Amazon (AMZN) rather than at brick-and-mortar stores. Analysts and investors will be listening for Target executives to comment on Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

Earlier this month, Reuters said Target and other retailers are using legal rights in real estate agreements to limit the initiatives of Amazon’s Whole Foods Market in malls, adding that the retailers have legal rights that enable them to limit Amazon’s Whole Foods activity near their location and bans on Amazon lockers and delivery operations near Target stores in Illinois and Florida have already been established. Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger told investors that her firm’s latest apparel survey lends support to her belief that Amazon is quickly gaining traction at the expense of department stores and certain specialty retailers.

Target Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell said that the retail environment is “crowded” and the environment will continue to be challenging.

2. GUIDANCE

Following better than expected second quarter results, Target forecast third quarter adjusted EPS of 75c-95c and said both Q3 and Q4 comp growth will be within the range the company experienced in Q1 and Q2. The company expects FY17 comp sales growth to be around flat, plus or minus 1%.

Target again raised its FY17 adjusted EPS view to $4.34-$4.54 from $3.80-$4.20.

3. HOLIDAY SEASON UPDATE

Target recently announced plans for the holiday season, including free shipping and gifts under $15.

The company is also allowing customers to receive their orders in several ways, including visiting one of its 1,800 stores, ordering online for delivery from Target.com, using Order Pickup or using Target Restock.

Last month Target said it planned to hire about 100,000 team members across the country for the upcoming holiday season, up from the 70,000 employees it hired last year, and said it would hire 4,500 team members at the company’s distribution and fulfillment centers to replenish products to stores and fulfill digital sales throughout the season. Earlier this month, Target announced its nationwide expansion on Google Express (GOOG, GOOGL), including voice- activated shopping, as well as the addition of Target REDcard as a payment option in 2018.

4. STORE REMODELS, CLOSURES

Target is expanding its plans to remodel supercenters and open smaller stores in cities. Target will remodel over 55% of its current stores by year end 2020.

CEO Brian Cornell said sales have increased 2%-4% at recently remodeled stores.

In addition to the 110 stores remodeled in 2017, Target plans to fully renovate more than 325 in 2018, 350 in 2019 and 325 in 2020.

CNBC said Target is planning to close about a dozen underperforming stores in Michigan, Florida, Illinois, and Texas, with those locations closing in February of 2018.

“We have a rigorous process in place to evaluate the performance of every store on an annual basis, closing or relocating underperforming locations as needed,” a spokesperson said, adding that “Typically, a store is closed as a result of seeing several years of decreasing profitability.”

TGT last traded at $59.78. The issue has a 52-weeks trading range of $48.56 – $79.33.


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Buffalo Wildwing soars on takeover offer

Buffalo Wild Wings receives $2.3 billion offer

Buffalo-Wild-Wings gets $2.3 billion offer. See Stockwinners.com for details

Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) are sharply higher following a Wall Street Journal report saying that private-equity firm Roark Capital Group has made a bid for the company.

According to the report, Roark offered to pay “more than $150 a share,” or more than $2.3 billion, for Buffalo Wild Wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings has faced some trouble over the last year, as the company struggles with high wing costs and declining sales at stores open for at least 15 months.

Activist investors at Marcato Capital Management won several board seats during the summer and are pushing the company to franchise more of its restaurants and improve its technology.

ANALYST  COMMENTS

#Mizuho analyst Jeremy Scott wrote to clients that “we can only speculate as to whether or not this bid was solicited.” But he also thinks the company’s board is likely taking the offer seriously. “We anticipate that the activist refranchising initiative may have faced growing resistance both internally and externally,” he adds.

Wells Fargo analyst Jeff Farmer has “conviction in a potential Roark acquisition,” due to the company’s financial struggles as of late and its “leadership void” — CEO Sally Smith announced her resignation on the same day that Marcato won its board seats.

He thinks that there is “modest opportunity for a competing bid” but isn’t sure if one will come around. On one hand, investors might feel that a $150/share bid undervalues the company. But interested bidders might not want to pay much more for Buffalo Wild Wings given falling traffic and weak financials at the chain.

Credit Suisse analyst Jason West says he views the offer as a modest surprise given the latter’s negative same store sales and margins trends in recent years. The analyst reiterates a Neutral rating on Buffalo Wild Wings’ shares.

Maxim analyst Stephen Anderson notes yesterday’s press speculation of a bid for Buffalo Wild Wings from Roark Capital, saying that while the $150/share price is “plausible”, there is potential for a competing bid given the company-specific initiatives to cut expenses and an improving food cost climate.

Anderson says that despite the industry headwinds and the pending exit of CEO Sally Smith, the company is laying the groundwork for a return to SSS growth, margin expansion, and increased shareholder returns.

The analyst also says the recent decline in spot wing costs, already down 15% since summer end, will add to EPS next year. Anderson keeps his Buy rating and $160 price target on Buffalo Wild Wings.

Stifel analyst Chris O’Cull said he thinks Roark could be a credible buyer given its success with several restaurant investments, including Wingstop, and that BWW could be a willing seller given Marcato’s involvement and the company’s recent struggles defining a clear vision for improving shareholder value. O’Cull has a Hold rating and $115 price target on Buffalo Wild Wings shares.

BWLD closed at $117.25. It last traded at $148.40.


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Loxo Oncology to receive $400 million

Loxo Oncology, Bayer enter into an exclusive global collaboration

Loxo Oncology to present at upcoming lung cancer conference. See Stockwinners.com for details

Bayer (BAYRY) announced that the company has entered into an exclusive global collaboration with Loxo Oncology (LOXO) for the development and commercialization of larotrectinib (LOXO-101) and LOXO-195.

Both compounds are being investigated in global studies for the treatment of patients with cancers harboring tropomyosin receptor kinase gene fusions, which are genetic alterations across a wide range of tumors resulting in uncontrolled TRK signaling and tumor growth.

Under the terms of the agreement, Loxo Oncology will receive an upfront payment of $400M and is eligible for $450M in milestone payments upon larotrectinib regulatory approvals and first commercial sale events in certain major markets and an additional $200M in milestones payments upon LOXO-195 regulatory approvals and first commercial sale events in certain major markets.

Bayer and Loxo Oncology will jointly develop the two products, larotrectinib and LOXO-195, and share development costs on a 50/50 basis.

Bayer will lead ex-U.S. regulatory activities, and worldwide commercial activities. In the U.S., where Bayer and Loxo Oncology will co-promote the products, the parties will share commercial costs and profits on a 50/50 basis.

Loxo Oncology will remain responsible for the filing in the U.S. Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology tiered double-digit percentage royalties on future net sales outside of the U.S., and U.S. and ex-U.S. sales milestones totaling $500M.

Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology a $25M milestone upon achieving a certain U.S. net sales threshold. Outside of the U.S., where Bayer will commercialize, Bayer will pay Loxo Oncology tiered, double-digit royalties on net sales, and sales milestones totaling $475M. Bayer will book revenues worldwide.

Loxo Oncology was advised by Fenwick and West in the transaction.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

In a clinical trial presented in June by Loxo, larotrectinib demonstrated a 76% objective response rate in patients with cancers that contained the TRK fusions but originated in different parts of the body.

In those studies 12% saw their tumors entirely disappear while 64% saw theirs tumors partially shrink. David Hyman, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said at the time that “We believe [these data] demonstrate that larotrectinib is profoundly effective in a durable manner in patients with TRK fusion cancers.”

Loxo expects to submit an NDA to the FDA for the larotrectinib program in late 2017 or early 2018, with the potential for an FDA decision by mid-2018. As the only selective pan-TRK inhibitor currently in clinical development, larotrectinib could “potentially be the first novel targeted therapy that’s developed and eventually used in a ‘tumor-agnostic’ manner,” Hyman said.

TRK fusions occur in between 1,500 and 5,000 cancer patients per year, or about 1%-3% of cancer cases.

PRICE ACTION

Though Loxo Oncology initially jumped, the stock is now down about 5.4% to $78.75 after pre-market trading was resumed.

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