Healthcare Business

Just How Expensive Is the Pharmacyclics Buyout?

Pharmacyclics Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) has seen its stock surge in the past week as rumors swirl about a potential acquisition. News finally broke late Wednesday that there was an official buyout in the works by AbbVie Inc. (NYSE: ABBV) for $21 billion.

Note that this is AbbVie’s first major deal attempt since last fall, when it attempted a takeover of Shire PLC (NASDAQ: SHPG) for $55 billion.

Some analysts saw this coming and issued calls leading up to the announcement. Others are just reacting to it. 24/7 Wall St. has included information from the Credit Suisse report and tagged a few other calls that have been made.

Credit Suisse detailed that it likes AbbVie’s diversification strategy, which it indicated in its “surprising” $21 billion acquisition of Pharmacyclics and its blood-cancer drug Imbruvica. However, the brokerage firm is bearish on the price.

It is not hard to be bearish on the price, considering Pharmacyclics shares have increased 88.5% year-to-date. Looking back even further, this was just a $10 stock in 2011.

The investment bank calls the deal size “manageable” and possibly “highly accretive” by 2017. But the price, given Pharmacyclics’ 50-50 profit split with Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) on Imbruvica, “seems to imply some degree of success for Imbruvica in other indications where there is limited human clinical data.”

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In the week leading up to the announcement, these analysts made calls when the buyout was only suspected:

  • WallachBeth Capital downgraded shares to Hold from Buy on February 26.
  • Goldman Sachs downgraded Pharmacyclics to Neutral from Buy on February 27.
  • Wedbush downgraded shares to Neutral from Outperform with a price target of $234, up from $225, on March 3.

A couple of analysts weighed in after the announcement:

  • BTIG Research downgraded Pharmacyclics to Neutral from Buy.
  • RBC Capital maintained a Sector Perform rating and raised its price target to $261 from $145.

Shares of Pharmacyclics were up about 10.6% at $254.84 Thursday morning. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $196.95 and a 52-week trading range of $82.51 to $255.52.

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