Can't other companies see this transformation? Are the M&A bankers so inept at being able to sell these kinds of deals to the CEOs of potential acquirers? What are these putative buyers scared of? I can't think of a deal that has brought down the stock of an acquirer, though we have seen many that have done the opposite this year.
I know that many of the top bosses feel stocks have run too much, and that the targets are no longer attractive. But, in each of the above cases, the stocks of the targets had appreciated or the prices had risen in the private markets. What was needed was growth in institutions that were flagging -- as is currently the case with Amgen. Over the years, this company has fallen behind rivals Celgene (CELG), Gilead (GILD) and Biogen (BIIB), all of which have been extremely acquisitive. In some cases, they had been criticized for spending too much on what turned out to be -- as in the case with Gilead and Pharmasset -- a brilliant acquisition.
Let Amgen's lesson be an inspiration to all management teams. It is so clear that, if the acquirer had found the right price, its stock would have risen greatly today. If you don't have growth, you can buy it -- and, as we saw with Conagra, B&G, Tenet and Actavis, the marker will applaud, not boo, your efforts.
Action Alerts PLUS, which Cramer co-manages as a charitable trust, has no positions in the stocks mentioned.
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