Mallinckrodt Pays $1.6B into Opioid Trust Fund, Avoids Bankruptcy

North Carolina AG announces $1.6B opioid settlement with Mallinckrodt

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced a global settlement framework agreement between state attorneys general, local subdivisions, and the opioid manufacturer Mallinckrodt (MNK), its subsidiaries, and certain other affiliates.

MNK is currently the largest generic opioid manufacturer in the United States.

MNK pays $1.6B to avoid bankruptcy, Stockwinners

In the agreement, MNK agrees to pay $1.6B in cash to a trust that will cover the costs of opioid addiction treatment and related efforts, with the potential for increased payment to the trust.

The agreement in principle has been reached with a court-appointed plaintiffs’ executive committee representing the interests of thousands of plaintiffs in the opioid multidistrict litigation, and is supported by a broad-based group of 47 state and U.S. Territory Attorneys General.

Under the terms of the proposed settlement, which would become effective upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from a contemplated Chapter 11 process, subject to court approval and other conditions: Plaintiffs would receive $1.6B in structured payments, of which $300M would be received upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from the completed Chapter 11 case, $200M would be received on each of the first and second anniversaries of emergence, and $150M would be received on each of the third through eighth anniversaries of emergence.

The substantial majority of those payments are expected to be contributed to a trust which, among other things, would establish an abatement fund to be administered to cover the costs of opioid-addiction treatment and related efforts.

Upon Specialty Generics’ emergence from the contemplated Chapter 11 process, the trust would receive warrants, exercisable at $3.15 per share, to purchase ordinary shares that would represent approximately 19.99% of the company’s fully diluted outstanding shares, including after giving effect to the exercise of the warrants.

To implement the proposed settlement, the company expects that Specialty Generics, which manufactures certain generic opioid products, among other products, will file voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the coming months.

Mallinckrodt and its Specialty Brands-related subsidiaries would not be part of the Chapter 11 filing.

This court-supervised process is expected to lead to the creation of a trust which, among other things, would establish an abatement fund to offset the expense of helping to combat opioid addiction and providing support to communities impacted by opioid abuse.

The court-supervised process is also expected to provide a fair, orderly, efficient and legally binding mechanism to resolve all opioid-related claims against the company, Specialty Generics, and all of Mallinckrodt’s other subsidiaries and related entities. It is expected that Mallinckrodt plc would receive the benefit of a “channeling injunction” that would provide for the release of all opioid-related claims that have been or could have been asserted against Mallinckrodt or its subsidiaries related to Specialty Generics’ manufacture and sale of opioids prior to the time the Specialty Generics Chapter 11 plan becomes effective.

MNK also agrees that its future generic opioid business will be subject to stringent injunctive relief that, among other things, will prevent marketing and ensure systems are in place to prevent drug misuse.

“Confronting the opioid epidemic has been my top priority as North Carolina’s Attorney General,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Families all across our state have been torn apart as far too many of our relatives, friends, and neighbors have become sick with addiction and died. The companies that helped to create and fuel this deadly crisis must help us recover. That is exactly why I led negotiations with Mallinckrodt and fought to bring these needed funds home to North Carolina where they will help people get well.”

MNK is up 63 cents to $4.80.

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Barron’s is bullish on Verizon

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

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BULLISH  MENTIONS

 

Rising sales may lift Mondelez (MDLZ)- There is reason to hope that growth is returning to Mondelez, with sales perking up in its latest quarter, especially in the developing markets, Bill Alpert writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. If the company and its new CEO can deliver sales growth, many analysts think Mondelez’s stock could rise to $50 or more, the report notes.

Wheat prices may rise amid cold December – A “brutal cold snap” in December is likely and could lift winter wheat prices higher than $5 a bushel, a rally that would aid the farm economy that has been hurt by steadily falling wheat prices since mid-2012, Simon Constable writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Among companies that benefit from higher crop prices are fertilizer makers Mosaic (MOS) and Agrium (AGU), the report notes.

Infrastructure stocks should rise if Congress passes legislation – It may be easy to be skeptical about President Donald Trump’s ambitious effort to rebuild aging bridges, roads and other elements of the country’s infrastructures, but there is reason for hope, John Kimelman writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. For investors in a group of about a dozen infrastructure companies such as Vulcan Materials (VMC) and Fluor (FLR), legislation cannot be considered soon enough, he contends. Other companies that may get meaningful boosts include Martin Marietta Materials (MLM), Aecom (ACM), Jacobs Engineering Group (JEC), Granite Construction (GVA), Eagle Materials (EXP), and U.S. Concrete (USCR), Barron’s notes, adding that even equipment companies like Caterpillar (CAT) could benefit.

Tencent still has upside – While Tencent (TCEHY) is up 125% this year, the stock still has lots of upside, Assif Shameen writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

Verizon could return 20% over the next year – A long price war in wireless is easing, which has left Verizon’s (VZ) shares looking cheap, Jack Hough writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. They could return 20%, including a dividend yield of 5%, over the next year, he adds.

BEARISH  MENTIONS

Challenges at HP Enterprise loom large– In a follow-up story, Barron’s says that as HP Enterprise (HPE) CEO Meg Whitman prepares to retire in February, the company no longer “has to shut the lights at night to save money.” However, plenty of challenges remain, notwithstanding Whitman’s moves to reconfigure the business, the report notes. The challenges at HP Enterprise loom large, as cloud-computing leaders Amazon (AMZN), Microsoft (MSFT) and Alphabet’s (GOOGL; GOOG) increasingly buy less HPE gear because they are building their own, the report notes.


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Nektar Therapeutics’ INHALE drug fails

Bayer announces INHALE Phase III clinical study did not meet primary endpoint

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Bayer (BAYRY) announced that INHALE, a global Phase III clinical study program investigating Amikacin Inhale in addition to standard of care in intubated and mechanically ventilated patients with Gram-negative pneumonia, did not demonstrate superiority versus standard of care plus aerosolized placebo.

The primary endpoint, as well as secondary endpoints were similar in both treatment arms, and were therefore not met.

Amikacin Inhale is the development name of an integrated drug-device combination, consisting of a specially formulated Amikacin Inhalation Solution and a proprietary Synchronized Inhalation System with a vibrating mesh nebulizer.

The primary outcome measure was survival at day 28-32. Secondary outcome measures included pneumonia-related mortality through to day 28-32, early clinical response up to day 10, number of days on mechanical ventilation up to day 28-32, and number of intensive care unit days up to day 28-32.

Efficacy and safety analyses from this study will be published in due course. The Amikacin Inhale program is being developed through a collaboration with Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR).

NKTR closed at $49.75. It last traded at $46.50. BAYRY closed at $32.05.


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Barron’s is bullish on GM, China Mobile

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

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BULLISH  MENTIONS

Activision to continue earnings growth from in-game spending – Activision Blizzard (ATVI) started encouraging more in-game spending, getting users to pay for new weapons, new missions, and new virtual outfits within titles they owned and as a result its stock soared since the beginning of the year, Emily Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Smaller competitors have also ramped up recurring spending, with shares of Electronic Arts (EA) and Take-Two Interactive Software (TTWO) also jumping in 2017, she notes. Bary adds game makers should continue to see strong earnings growth from in-game spending.

China Mobile looks cheap, but there may be a catch – China Mobile (CHL) has $60B of net cash, equal to 30% of its market shares, Andrew Bary writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. But many fear the Chinese government, which owns 73% of the company, will divert it to prop up other enterprises, he notes, adding that as a result the company’s shares have performed poorly in the last few years.

Cognizant is returning cash to investors – Cognizant (CTSH) is building a lucrative digital-consulting business, Resham Kapadia writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Meanwhile, the company’s shareholders could see a twofold payoff thanks to activist investor Elliott Management, which took a 4% stake last November, acquired three board seats, and pressed management to prioritize profit-margin expansion, the publication noted, adding that Cognizant will return $3.4B through 2018 via stock buybacks and dividends.

GM (GM) well-placed to make self-driving, battery-powered cars – In a follow-up story, Barron’s says General Motors has become an autonomously driven stock, climbing to $45 on chatter over GM being well-placed to make the self-driving, shared, battery-powered cars of the future. GM remains more than 60% cheaper than the S&P 500, the publication noted, adding that investors should hold out for more upside, and the 3.4% dividend yield.

BP, Royal Dutch Shell dividends look safe – Foreign companies tend to favor paying dividends over buying back stock, Lawrence Strauss writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. BP (BP), Enel, ING Group (ING), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A), TSMC (TSM) and WPP (WPPGY) dividends all look safe, Strauss notes, adding that with the exception of Royal Dutch Shell and BP, they are all expected to pay higher dividends in 2018 than in 2017.

Nvidia stock/options market disconnection an opportunity – While Nvidia (NVDA) is “red hot” in the stock market, it is “lukewarm” in the option market, which creates an “intriguing” opportunity, Steven Sears writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

E-Commerce helping Wal-Mart ‘jump-start stalled revenue – While Wal-Mart (WMT) has played in online shopping since 2000, it got a boost a year ago with its $3.3B acquisition of Jet.com, Jack Hough writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. As an e-Commerce player, Wal-Mart is growing faster than Amazon (AMZN) has in years, and shareholders will benefit, he adds.

BEARISH  MENTIONS

Costco shares still fell despite good quarter– Since Amazon (AMZN) announced its acquisition of Whole Foods, Costco (COST) has been “on the ropes,” Ben Levisohn writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. The retailer shares have dropped 12% since then, even as the company delivers earnings beats and same-store sales increases, he adds.

RH shares fully priced – Combined with July-quarter report, RH‘s shares (formerly known as Restoration Hardware) buyback has lifted its stock 146% this year and “squeezed those unwelcome guests called short sellers,” Bill Alpert writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. But now RH shares look fully priced, and is one of the most richly priced retailers around, he adds.

Gun shares look overvalued – Tragedies involving guns and political pronouncement about gun violence tend to move shares of publicly traded firearms companies, such as Sturm Ruger (RGR), American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) and Vista Outdoor (VSTO), Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. But with prospects dim for stricter gun control, an impetus for long-term sales growth is lacking, he notes, adding that the stocks look overvalued.


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