The most likely use of proceeds from the sale of WebMD's (WBMD) convertible notes is M&A, thanks to the strength of its stock, Raymond James analyst Nicholas Jansen said in an interview on Thursday.
WebMD, a New York-based health information services company, on Thursday announced the pricing of its private placement of $300 million of 2⅝% convertible notes due 2023.
The notes are convertible into shares of WebMD common stock based on an initial conversion rate of 11.4845 WebMD shares per $1,000 principal amount of notes, translating to an initial conversion price of approximately $87.07 a share.
WebMD said it intends use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, which could include acquisitions, stock buybacks, repurchases of outstanding convertible notes and for working capital.
"Given the amount of proceeds being raised, M&A is probably the most realistic," said Jansen, who has a strong buy rating on WebMD's stock and a price target of $72.
WebMD has not done a deal in a while, Jansen noted. "They've recently been talking about private market valuations starting to ease a little bit," he said. According to the company's website, its most recent purchase was Avado, a developer of cloud-based patient relationship management tools and technologies, in October 2013 for an undisclosed sum.
Meanwhile, a stock buyback "seems a little unlikely given how well the stock has behaved over the last six to 12 months," Jansen said.
WebMD did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
WebMD on Wednesday closed at an all-time high of $66.98. Shares were trading lower on Thursday, as is typically the case when companies do convertible offerings.
In midday trading, WebMD shares were changing hands at $63.01, down nearly 6%.
Earlier this month, WebMD reported first quarter net income $15.7 million, or 36 cents per diluted share. Analysts had expected GAAP earnings per share of 33 cents, according to Bloomberg. In the year-ago period, the company had net income of $10 million, or 25 cents per diluted share. WebMD generated revenue of $158.6 million, up 11% from the same period a year ago. Analysts had forecast revenue of $156.6 million.