Comcast tops Fox offer for Sky

Comcast tops Fox offer for Sky with $31B acquisition proposal 

Comcast tops Fox offer for Sky. Stockwinners.com
Comcast tops Fox offer for Sky

Comcast (CMCSA) announced a possible offer which it says is a “superior cash proposal” to acquire Sky (SKYAY).

Comcast’s announcement of a superior cash proposal of GBP 12.50 per share represents a 16% increase in value over the existing 21st Century Fox offer (FOXA) for Sky.

Comcast’s superior cash proposal implies an equity value of $31B for Sky.

“A combination would bring attractive financial benefits to Comcast shareholders, and is expected to be accretive to Comcast’s free cash flow per share in year one…The acquisition would enhance the entertainment, distribution, and technology leadership of Comcast, and importantly expand Comcast’s international footprint to more effectively compete in the rapidly changing and intensely competitive entertainment and communications landscape.

The combined business would create compelling opportunities for growth and innovation,” Comcast said in a statement.

“We think Sky is an outstanding company. It has 23 million customers and leading positions in the UK, Italy, and Germany. Sky has been a consistent innovator in its use of technology to deliver a fantastic viewing experience and has a proud record of investment in news and programming. It has great people and a very strong and capable management team.

Comcast intends to use Sky as a platform for growth in Europe. We already have a strong presence in London through our NBCUniversal international operations, and we intend to maintain Sky’s UK headquarters. Adding Sky to the Comcast family of businesses will increase our international revenues from 9% to 25% of Company revenues,” said Brian Roberts, CEO of Comcast.

SKYAYA closed at $61.60.


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Broadcom lowers its offer for Qualcomm

Broadcom adjusts offer for Qualcomm to $79.00 per Qualcomm share 

Broadcom proposes to buy Qualcomm for $79 per share.  

Broadcom (AVGO) reaffirms its commitment to acquiring Qualcomm (QCOM), and is adjusting its offer following the Qualcomm board’s decision to transfer $4.10 per Qualcomm share (or $6.2B of value) from Qualcomm stockholders to NXP (NXPI) stockholders.

Broadcom is prepared to acquire Qualcomm for $79 per Qualcomm share, consisting of $57 in cash and $22 in Broadcom shares (premised on Qualcomm’s revised agreement to acquire NXP at $127.50 per NXP share).

In addition, Broadcom’s proposed merger agreement for Qualcomm would provide for an automatic increase of $3 in cash per Qualcomm share, or a total of $82 per Qualcomm share, consisting of $60 in cash and $22 in Broadcom shares, in the event that Qualcomm is unable to complete the NXP (NXPI) acquisition.

Broadcom’s proposed merger agreement otherwise remains unchanged, including the $8 billion regulatory reverse termination fee and 6% per annum (net of dividends) ticking fee accruing from and after the 12-month anniversary of the date of the merger agreement.

Broadcom believes that a responsible Qualcomm board could have preserved value by following ISS’s clear recommendation to work with Broadcom on the NXP transaction and negotiate the sale of Qualcomm to Broadcom.

Instead Qualcomm’s board acted against the best interests of its stockholders by unilaterally transferring excessive value to NXP’s activist stockholders.

Despite this direct value transfer, Broadcom remains committed to delivering a value-maximizing offer to Qualcomm stockholders.

Broadcom remains confident that Qualcomm’s stockholders will continue to support its proposal to acquire Qualcomm, and looks forward to concluding a transaction with this Qualcomm board of directors, or the newly elected Qualcomm board following its annual meeting on March 6, 2018.

Broadcom continues to urge Qualcomm stockholders to vote the entire BLUE proxy card “FOR” ALL SIX Broadcom nominees to show support for the Broadcom proposal.


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Vertex reports positive acute pain control data

Vertex’s Phase 2 study of NaV1.8 inhibitor VX-150 meets primary endpoint

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Vertex reports positive Phase 2 results

Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) announced positive results of a Phase 2 study of the NaV1.8 inhibitor VX-150 in patients with acute pain following bunionectomy surgery.

Treatment with VX-150 showed statistically significant relief of acute pain compared to placebo, as determined by the time-weighted Sum of the Pain Intensity Difference over the first 24 hours of treatment, a standard measure of acute pain relief.

The study also included a standard-of-care reference arm of the commonly prescribed opioid medicine hydrocodone+acetaminophen to support the evaluation of a potential treatment effect for VX-150.

VX-150 was generally well tolerated, and there were no discontinuations for adverse events in any arm of the study.

This Phase 2 study is the second positive proof-of-concept study for VX-150 and provides further validation for the use of a NaV1.8 inhibitor for the treatment of pain.

A third Phase 2 study of VX-150 is currently ongoing in neuropathic pain with data expected in early 2019.

Vertex also recently initiated a Phase 1 study of a second NaV1.8 inhibitor, VX-128, in healthy volunteers.

The data announced were from a Phase 2 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that evaluated two days of treatment with VX-150, hydrocodone+acetaminophen or placebo in 243 patients with acute pain following bunionectomy surgery. 82 patients received placebo, 80 patients received VX-150 and 81 patients received hydrocodone+acetaminophen.

Hydrocodone+acetaminophen was included as a standard-of-care reference arm to enable better evaluation of a potential treatment effect for VX-150.

The reference arm was not included to make statistical comparisons to VX-150. VX-150 was dosed orally as 1500 mg for the first dose, followed by 750 mg every 12 hours over the 48-hour treatment period.

The primary endpoint of the study was the time-weighted Sum of the Pain Intensity Difference over the first 24 hours of treatment, as recorded on a Numeric Pain Rating Scale, for those treated with VX-150 compared to placebo.

Increases in SPID24 values represent improvements in pain relief. Secondary endpoints included safety and tolerability assessments as well as other efficacy measurements, including SPID over the first 48 hours of treatment for those treated with VX-150 compared to placebo.

Additional pre-specified analyses of other endpoints included SPID24 and SPID48 for hydrocodone+acetaminophen compared to placebo. The study met its primary endpoint, showing a statistically significant improvement in SPID24 for those treated with VX-150 compared to placebo.

The SPID24 values for those treated with VX-150 and placebo were 36.14 and 6.64, respectively. The SPID24 value for hydrocodone+acetaminophen was 40.16. In this study, VX-150 was generally well tolerated. More than 90 percent of patients in each arm of the study completed treatment.

There were no discontinuations due to adverse events and there were no serious adverse events in any arm of the study. The majority of adverse events were mild or moderate.

Adverse events were observed in 35 percent, 31 percent and 37 percent of patients who received placebo, VX-150 or hydrocodone+acetaminophen, respectively.

The most common adverse events were nausea, headache, vomiting and dizziness. Based on these data, Vertex plans to initiate a Phase 1 study of VX-150 using an intravenous formulation for the treatment of acute pain.

This study is planned to begin in the second half of 2018. An additional Phase 2 proof-of-concept study of VX-150 dosed orally is currently ongoing in patients with neuropathic pain caused by small fiber neuropathy.

Vertex expects to obtain data from the study in neuropathic pain in early 2019.

VRTX closed at $154.14.


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Medical suppliers tumble on Amazon fears; ABC in play

Medical suppliers slide as Amazon looms

Walgreens pursues AmerisourceBergen

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Medical suppliers tumble on Amazon fears

Two news reports are moving several names in the medical supply space this morning.

Namely, Amazon (AMZN) is said to be looking to expand its medical supplies business, while Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) has approached AmerisourceBergen (ABC) about a potential takeover.

Walgreens pursues AmerisourceBergen. Stockwinners.com
Walgreens pursues AmerisourceBergen

Shares of Owens & Minor (OMI), McKesson (MCK), and Cardinal Health (CAH) are all slipping following the two Wall Street Journal scoops.

AMAZON RAMPS UP IN MEDICAL SUPPLY

Amazon is seeking to expand its medical supplies business into being a major distributor to hospitals and outpatient clinics, according to The Wall Street Journal. The e-commerce giant is currently running a pilot with a Midwestern hospital system to supply its 150 outpatient facilities, the publication said. Typically, hospitals sign contracts to buy supplies directly from manufacturers or distributors like Owens & Minor, McKesson, Cardinal Health and Medline Industries.

WALGREENS DEAL INTEREST

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal separately reported, citing sources, that Walgreens reached out several weeks ago to Amerisource to discuss the possibility of buying the portion of the company it doesn’t already own. The sources added, though, that there is not an offer on the table.

In a research note to investors, Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut pointed out that while Walgreens acquiring AmerisourceBergen would be EPS-accretive and would allow the former to take advantage of its strong free cash flow and balance sheet, the rationale for such a deal is a bit of a “headscratcher” as both companies already have a joint venture that affords them the strategic value that combining would provide.

Leerink analyst David Larsen told investors in a note of his own that he is surprised that talks of such a large transaction have surfaced so quickly following the Rite Aid (RAD) deal being blocked, but says he has always believed that Walgreens at some point would seek to acquire either Express Scripts (ESRX) or AmerisourceBergen.

His peer at Loop Capital added that a full merger would have similar attributes to that of the vertically integrated pharmacy model that Walgreens operates in the U.K., which lowers product costs and working capital requirements to the benefit of all customers.

Ultimately, analyst Andrew Wolf views this strategic response positively as it would better position a combined company to navigate in the face of industry change and possibly even be a disrupter, he said.

Wells Fargo analyst Peter Costa also commented on The Journal report, saying he believes the acquisition makes sense given the already existing long-term partnership and limited ability to merge laterally.

Further, the analyst argued that a potential combination could help lower costs and wring out synergies in the U.S. drug distribution channel, and better position Walgreens in the face of increasing competitive threat from a possible Amazon entry. However, a merger might risk alienating AmerisourceBergen’s retail pharmacy customers that compete with Walgreens’ pharmacies, he contended.

CNBC’s  REPORT

The recently announced healthcare venture from Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A;BRK.B) and JPMorgan (JPM) is aiming to cut out drug distributors like AmerisourceBergen (ABC), Cardinal Health (CAH) and McKesson (MCK), according to CNBC’s Jim Cramer, citing sources.

PRICE ACTION

In Tuesday’s trading, shares of Amazon have gained over 2% to $1,415, while Walgreens is fractionally higher and AmerisourceBergen shares have jumped 8%. Moving in the opposite direction, Owens & Minor is sliding 8%, McKesson is slipping 2% and Cardinal Health is down 4%.


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Amazon’s move into AI chip pressures Nvidia

Amazon developing AI chip to work on Alexa-powered devices

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Amazon developing AI chip to work on Alexa

Amazon (AMZN) is developing a chip designed for artificial intelligence to work on the Echo and other hardware powered by Alexa, according to The Information, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The chip should allow Alexa-powered devices to respond more quickly to commands, the report added.

The effort makes Amazon the latest major tech company, following Google (GOOG; GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL), to design its own AI chips, which may have major ramifications for chip companies like Intel (INTC) and Nvidia (NVDA), the publication said.

Recently, Nvidia announced major accomplishments in the AI space.

On January 10th, NVIDIA (NVDA) unveiled details of its functional safety architecture for NVIDIA DRIVE, its AI autonomous vehicle platform, which uses redundant and diverse functions to enable vehicles to operate safely, even in the event of faults related to the operator, environment or systems.

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Nvidia lower on Amazon move into AI space

On January 8th, Volkswagen announced it plans to use Nvidia to build AI into new electric microbus  Volkswagen (VLKAY) and NVIDIA (NVDA) shared their vision for how AI and deep learning will shape the development of a new generation of intelligent Volkswagen vehicles using the NVIDIA DRIVE IX platform to create new cockpit experiences and improve safety.

In November, GE Healthcare (GE) and Nvidia (NVDA) announced they will deepen their 10-year partnership to bring the most sophisticated artificial intelligence to GE Healthcare’s 500,000 imaging devices globally and accelerate the speed at which healthcare data can be processed.

Amazon’s move into AI chip for Alexa powered devices could pave the way for Amazon to expand its reach into autonomous driving space

In Monday’s trading, shares of Nvidia have dropped more than 2% to $227. AMZN is up more than 1% to $1355.


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Boeing reports tomorrow

What to watch in Boeing’s earnings report 

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Boeing reports tomorrow

Boeing (BA) is scheduled to report results of its fiscal fourth quarter before the market opens on Wednesday, January 30, with a conference call scheduled for 10:30 am ET.

What to watch for:

1. GUIDANCE:

When Boeing reported its fiscal third quarter results on October 25, 2017, the company increased its fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings per share view to $9.90-$10.10 from $9.80-$10.00, against consensus estimates of $10.04 at that time, and reaffirmed its FY17 revenue expectations of $90.5B-$92.5B, against analyst estimates of $92.15B.

Current consensus estimates sit at $10.21 and $92.55B, respectively. The company also backed its FY17 commercial airplane deliveries view of 760-765.

2. CAPITAL RETURNS:

On December 11, 2017, Boeing announced a new $18B share repurchase program and a 20% increase to its quarterly dividend. The board declared the dividend will increase 20% to $1.71 per share.

The board also replaced the existing share repurchase program with a new $18B authorization. The new dividend will be payable March 2, 2018, to shareholders of record as of February 9, 2018.

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Defense spending increase should help Boeing

The company this year has repurchased $9.2B worth of its shares from the $14B authorization approved in December 2016. The new repurchase program replaces the existing one, bringing the total authorization to $18B.

3. ANTI-DUMPING:

On December 20, 2017, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty and countervailing duty investigations of 100-seat to 150-seat large civil aircraft from Canada.

“This decision is based on a full and unbiased review of the facts in an open and transparent process.” said Secretary Ross.

“The United States is committed to a free, fair, and reciprocal trade and will always stand up for American workers and companies being harmed by unfair imports.”

Commerce determined that exporters from Canada sold 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft in the United States at 79.82% less than fair value.

Commerce also determined that Canada is providing unfair subsidies to its producers of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft at a rate of 212.39%. Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers of 100- to 150-seat large civil aircraft based on the final rates.

Bombardier (BDRBF), the Government of Canada, and Petitioners agreed that the proposed transaction between Bombardier and Airbus (EADSY) does not impact these investigations.

4. EMBRAER

Boeing confirmed takeover talks with Embraer (ERJ) during the quarter. The Brazilian government, which owns a golden share in Embraer, represents a potential hurdle in the deal.

Investors should look for more guidance on this topic when Boeing reports. BA last traded at $337.10.


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Ablynx sold for EUR 3.9 billion

Sanofi acquires Ablynx for EUR 45 per share or EUR 3.9B

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Sanofi acquires Ablynx for EUR 45 per share

Sanofi (SNY) and Ablynx (ABLX) entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi will offer to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares, including shares represented by American Depositary Shares, warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx at a price per Ablynx share of EUR 45 in cash, which represents an aggregate equity value of approximately EUR 3.9B.

The transaction was unanimously approved by both the boards. Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will launch public offers to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares, warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx in cash.

The public offers are expected to be launched by the beginning of Q2.

In accordance with the Belgian requirement of certainty of funds, Sanofi has entered into a bank credit facility, BNP Paribas Fortis acting as the sole credit facility arranger.

Subject to the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2. Sanofi added, “The addition of Ablynx is anticipated to drive meaningful long-term value for Sanofi’s shareholders by enhancing its pipeline and research capabilities. Including R&D expenses, the acquisition is expected to be neutral to Business EPS in 2018 and 2019.”


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Barron’s is bullish on Netflix and Boeing

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue mentions several names: 

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BULLISH MENTIONS:

Boeing not a sell just yet – Boeing  (BA) stock has come quite far, quite fast and the pace has only accelerated in 2018, but such a rapid rise could reflect an overly optimistic outlook for the airplane manufacturer that could be difficult to meet, Ben Levisohn writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Nonetheless, Boeing is not a sell just yet, he argues. While at first glance, betting on Boeing now seems like a risk, the stock can remain extended for a long time, Levisohn adds.

Netflix among likely candidates for an Apple purchase – Especially for tech companies, tax cuts will boost dividends, buybacks, and mergers and acquisitions, but tech usually has a hard time putting vast amounts of cash to work as it requires little R&D to produce huge amounts of revenue, Tiernan Ray writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. For example, Apple (AAPL) does not have many places to invest that will demonstrably boost financial results. Without the excuse that the cash is stuck overseas, pressure may grow for Apple to do something big, with Netflix (NFLX) as the most likely candidate for a purchase, he contends.

Still time to shop Walmart shares as company makes changes – In a follow-up story, Barron’s notes that some Walmart’s experiments, like curbside pickup for groceries, are getting solid results, and points out that late-year shopping was robust and corporate tax cuts have warmed investors to retailers. While high-income taxpayers will get larger cuts amid the new tax reform than low- and middle-income ones, those are more likely to spend the extra money, which bodes wells for Walmart, publication said, adding that Walmart continues making changes, such as paying one-time bonuses and closing 63 underperforming Sam’s Club locations.


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Barron’s is bullish on Pfizer, Amgen and FAANG stocks

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue mentions several names: 

 

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BULLISH    MENTIONS:

FAANG stocks still have room to run – The FAANGs – Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix (NFLX) and Google’s parent Alphabet (GOOG; GOOGL) – “took it on the chin” from critics and investors this past week but despite any woes, it is not time to dump them just yet, Ben Levisohn writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. While concerns could limit gains in the short term, other factors suggest they have more room to run, he adds.

 Franklin may be ‘a bargain’ given potential return of cash – With the new tax law, Franklin Resources is likely to repatriate a significant amount of that cash and may distribute a chunk of it to shareholders, Andrew Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Cash represents some 42% of Franklin’s current share price of $44, and its real estate could be worth another $2-$3 a share, he adds.

 Pfizer, Amgen among ‘good bets’ in pharma/biotech – Pfizer (PFE), Amgen (AMGN), AbbVie (ABBV), Elli Lilly (LLY), Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) have strong prospects, promising product pipelines, and good dividends that should keep growing, Lawrence Strauss writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

Under hostile takeover, Qualcomm tries offense – Qualcomm (QCOM), which is under a hostile takeover by Broadcom (AVGO), announced new radio frequency business, signaling a greater will to fight back and even go to the offense, Tiernan Ray writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Qualcomm’s new business could put pressure on Broadcom and, at the very least, may suggest the latter will have to raise its bid if it hopes to succeed, he adds.

Vivendi music holdings could be worth over $40B – The music business is headed for a growth spurt, as more listeners sign up subscription services such as Spotify, Jack Hough writes in this weekend’s edition of Barron’s. That is good news for rights owners like Vivendi, he adds. With a hand in music, TV and video games, Vivendi (VIVHY) is valued at $37B, but its music holdings alone could be worth more than $40B, thanks to streaming, the report notes.

BEARISH  MENTIONS

Still a long road ahead for self-driving vehicles – Dozens of companies presented driverless technology at the annual Consumer Electronics Show, Jon Swartz writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. But while optimism about the growth of the market comes as consumers appear to become more comfortable with self-driving “robo-taxis,” the technology has not quite arrived, he notes, adding that autonomous cars are pricey and with drivers ready to take the wheel as a safety buffer. Among the players of the crowded road to the self-driving future are Alphabet (GOOG; GOOGL), Tesla (TSLA), BMW (BMWYY), Ford (F), Toyota Motor (TM), General Motors (GM), and Volkswagen (VLKAY), the report notes.


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Volkswagen to use NVIDIA AI into new electric microbus

VW taps Nvidia to build AI into new electric microbus 

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VW taps Nvidia to build AI into new electric microbus

Volkswagen (VLKAY) and NVIDIA (NVDA) shared their vision for how AI and deep learning will shape the development of a new generation of intelligent Volkswagen vehicles using the NVIDIA DRIVE IX platform to create new cockpit experiences and improve safety.

At the kickoff of CES 2018, Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and NVIDIA founder and CEO Jensen Huang discussed on stage how AI is transforming the auto industry and highlighted the new I.D. Buzz, Volkswagen’s rebirth of the iconic VW MicroBus, reimagined in electric car form and infused with AI technology for the cockpit and self-driving.

The VW I.D. Buzz will use DRIVE IX technology to create “Intelligent Co-Pilot” applications, which will include convenience and assistance systems based on processing sensor data from both inside and outside of the car.

The I.D. Buzz is part of the I.D. family with which Volkswagen will launch its electric car campaign and gradually introduce autonomous driving starting in 2020. More than 20 fully electric vehicle models are planned by 2025, as the automaker works toward its goal of becoming the world leader in this area.

These new models are based on the completely new MEB car architecture that is consistently geared toward zero-emission, digital mobility and making use of the electric drive’s overall package benefits.

NVDA closed at $215.40. It last traded at $221.04.


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Biotech stocks to watch in January

Ten biotech names to watch in January 

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In a research note to investors, Jefferies analyst Michael #Yee identified what he sees as ten potential disclosures or announcements that could come in the next two weeks to start 2018.

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Among the names that may see stock-moving events as the new year begins are Celgene (CELG), Biogen (BIIB) and Vertex (VRTX).

TURNING THE PAGE TO 2018

Jefferies’ Yee told investors that “turning the page to 2018 and into a January conference,” he is modestly optimistic that large-cap biotech picks up a bit given the recent pullback, tax reform and low investor expectations.

He reiterated that the big biotech names are working toward a much bigger 2018 product cycle and late-stage data read out period.

Celgene tumbles

Thinking outside of the box, the analyst pointed out that the key upside “wild-card” is whether “big consolidation” actually occurs in the large caps based on pharmaceutical companies buying pharma or “big biotech” companies.

STOCK-MOVING ANNOUNCEMENTS

Other than surprise M&A deals that could swing sentiment in biotech, Jefferies’ Yee sees the potential for at least ten stock-moving announcements within his coverage going into a major industry conference in two weeks.

The analyst told investors that #Celgene is likely to pre-announce results for its fourth quarter and provide new 2018 guidance, though investors should assume that outlook could be conservative.

#Biogen could also disclose color around Spinraza patient numbers and update on aducanumab Alzheimer’s enrollment, he contended.

Yee argued that #Vertex could pre-announce on its fourth quarter but may not provide 2018 Cystic Fibrosis guidance until its ‘661 combo is approved in February. The company could also disclose Phase 3 triple plans and update on Phase 2 data.

Regarding #Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY), the analyst highlighted the company may discuss the path forward for ALN-TTRsc02, update on the ALN-GO1 phase 1 program, or announce a new program in the near-term.

#AveXis (AVXS) may provide FDA meeting updates and next steps post recent regulatory discussions; Intercept Pharmaceuticals (ICPT) may pre-announce fourth quarter Ocaliva sales or announced the initiation of a Phase 3 cirrhosis study, or give color on upcoming FDA label change; and Assembly Biosciences (ASMB) could announce Phase 1b HBV data on viral knockdown, he contended.

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Lastly, Yee pointed out that Axovant Sciences (AXON) may report Phase 2B data for intepiridine in dementia with Lewy bodies and nelotansersin in visual hallucinations, while Acorda Therapeutics (ACOR) is likely to pre-announce 2017 Ampyra net sales and provide 2018 financial guidance, and FibroGen (FGEN) could disclose HRCT imaging IPF data or Phase 2 pancreatic cancer data for pamrevlumab.


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Anika Therapeutics receives FDA clearance for bone void filler

Anika Therapeutics receives FDA 510(k) clearance for HA-based bone void filler

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Anika Therapeutics receives FDA 510(k) clearance for HA-based bone void filler

Anika Therapeutics (ANIK) announced that its HA-based bone void filler received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is indicated for filling bone voids or defects of the skeletal system, which are not intrinsic to the stability of the bone, created during surgery or resulting from traumatic injury.

HA-based bone  stands for therapeutics based on its proprietary hyaluronic acid (“HA”) technology. The bone void filler, which is composed of a synthetic, biocompatible bone graft substitute material, is injected into a void, hardens at body temperature, and is then resorbed and replaced by the growth of new bone during the healing process.

Over one million musculoskeletal procedures performed in the U.S. involve bone void filling, also known as bone grafting,, and such procedures are most commonly required for spinal fusion, trauma, and revision total joint replacement procedures.

While the use of autologous bone or autograft has been the gold standard of treatment for bone grafting, the increased risk of procedural complications has prompted a shift towards alternate treatments, such as synthetic, resorbable bone graft substitute materials.

The company estimates that the current market size for treating tibial plateau fractures, stress fractures around joints, and decompression of necrosed bone to be around $300M.

ANIK closed at $52.44.


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Boston Omaha jumps on Buffett connection

Boston Omaha rises after WSJ profile highlights link to Buffett

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Boston Omaha jumps on Buffett connection

Shares of billboard advertisement seller and surety insurer Boston Omaha (BOMN) are rising following a Friday profile of the company in the Wall Street Journal.

SHARES DOUBLE SINCE LISTING

Shares of Boston Omaha, which is run by co-CEOs Alex Buffet Rozek and Adam Peterson, have more than doubled since listing on the Nasdaq Stock Market in June.

The company, which recently reported third quarter revenue of $2.4M, has a market capitalization of over $447M with today’s advance.

Rozek, who is Warren Buffett’s grandnephew, said the company receives no assistance from Buffett or Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) and does not advertise the link as he wants Boston Omaha’s results to stand on their own.

boston omaha shares jump on Buffett connection. Stockwinners.com
Boston Omaha shares jump on Buffett connection.

“It’s not like there’s this private class that goes on for family members about business,” Rozek said.

“If I wanted to learn, the best thing I could do is pick up an annual report and read the Berkshire annual report like anybody else.”

Buffett, who doesn’t own Boston Omaha stock, said, “I think the world of Alex, but we don’t have anything to do with his decision-making or anything of the sort. He’s got a good mind, a very good mind, and he certainly has good values.”

Boston Omaha, however has shown some similarities to Berkshire, including an acquisition focus on companies with consistent earnings and strong competitive positions, running acquired companies independently and skipping earning calls for an annual meeting.

The company, which does not currently invest in stocks, is 55% owned by Peterson’s Magnolia Group and 12% owned by Rozek’s Boulderado Group and other entities he manages.

PRICE ACTION

Boston Omaha is up 20.1%, or $5.69, to $34.02 in Tuesday’s trading. Including Friday’s advance, the stock is up over 33% over the last two sessions.


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Hubbell to acquire Aclara Technologies for $1.1B

Hubbell to acquire Aclara Technologies for $1.1B

Hubbell to acquire Aclara Technologies for $1.1B. Stockwinners.com
Hubbell to acquire Aclara Technologies for $1.1B

Hubbell (HUBB) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Aclara Technologies, an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners for approximately $1.1B in an all- cash transaction.

Hubbell Incorporated designs, manufactures, and sells electrical and electronic products in the United States and internationally.

The transaction strengthens and broadens Hubbell Power Systems’ competitive position across utility markets.

The acquisition will combine the complementary strengths of Aclara and Hubbell Power Systems, providing the opportunity to integrate Aclara’s strong customer relationships and smart infrastructure solutions into the Hubbell portfolio and accelerate ongoing innovation efforts to address utility customer demand for data and integrated solutions.

Aclara offers a comprehensive suite of solutions, including advanced metering infrastructure, meters and edge devices, software, and installation services.

Aclara reported revenues of $500M and adjusted EBITDA of $90M for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017.

The transaction is expected to be accretive in 2018 to Hubbell’s diluted EPS, excluding intangible amortization and deal related costs, and in 2019 on a GAAP basis.

Further, Hubbell expects to maintain an investment grade rating. Hubbell has obtained fully committed bridge financing from J.P. Morgan Securities, BofA Merrill Lynch, and HSBC Securities.

Hubbell expects its debt-to-adjusted EBITD ratio to be 3.1x at the close of the transaction, and anticipates reducing this ratio over the next few years.

The transaction, which is expected to be completed in 1Q18, is subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including U.S. antitrust clearance.

HUBB closed at $135.23.


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Apple lower on soft iPhone X demand

Apple slides as Taiwanese report raises fears about iPhone X

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Apple lower on weak iPhone X demand

Apple (AAPL) shares are weaker as U.S. investors return from the long holiday weekend after a Taiwanese newspaper report said the tech giant is trimming its first-quarter sales forecast, according to Bloomberg.

Adding to the caution are analysts following suit, reportedly due to worries about demand for the high-end iPhone X.

ANALYSTS, APPLE SAID TO TRIM FORECASTS

Taiwanese newspaper Economic Daily News quoted unidentified supply chain officials as having said that Apple is lowering its first-quarter iPhone sales forecast to 30 million units from 50 million, according to Bloomberg.

It also said Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.’s main iPhone X manufacturing hub in Zhengzhou, China, stopped recruiting workers. The company also known as Foxconn is the sole iPhone X assembler, and also makes the handsets in Shenzhen and Chengdu.

An Apple representative declined to comment on production decisions, the report noted.

Additionally, Bloomberg noted that analysts at New York-based JL Warren Capital and China’s Sinolink Securities have each lowered iPhone X shipment projections for the first quarter of next year.

Apple has been counting on a redesigned 10th anniversary iPhone to boost shipments as its market value advances toward $1 trillion. The Cupertino, California-based company is facing new challenges from Samsung Electronics Co., which is quickly recovering from the Galaxy Note 7’s recall after fires. In the meantime, Chinese brands such as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi are also luring away potential customers in China and other emerging markets such as India.

SUPPLIERS TO WATCH

Suppliers to Apple that may be volatile following Bloomberg’s cautious report regarding signs of slack iPhone X demand include Skyworks (SWKS), Cirrus Logic (CRUS), Broadcom (AVGO), Qorvo (QRVO), Qualcomm (QCOM), STMicroelectronics (STM), Analog Devices (ADI), Knowles (KN) and Micron (MU).

PRICE ACTION

In pre-market trading, Apple shares are down $4.73, or 2.7%, to $170.28.


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