The company has never been shy about acquisitions since it was spun off from Tyco International (TYC) six years ago. But management has always found ways to not only make these deals work but, in most cases, to exceed Street expectations in both revenue and profits. I don't believe this deal, as questionable as the timing might be, will be any different.
While this deal won't add any immediate oomph to Covidien's consolidated results, it does, however, extend Covidien's market share in addressable colonoscopy. Not to mention, it presents an immediate area of collaboration since Covidien already has an endomechanical business. With Given's PillCam, which is seen as an improvement to conventional minimally invasive surgery (MIS), and its other devices, Covidien stands to gain share from market leaders Johnson & Johnson and Intuitive Surgical (ISRG).
So despite its high price tag, the acquisition might yield an immediate payoff. There is longer-term potential, too: the MIS market may still grow by at least 60% in the next several years.
All of that said, there are some risks here that management must address, not the least of which is the ongoing weakness in both the contrast products business and radiopharmaceuticals.
Management has done a great job offsetting these deficits with strong performance in areas including active pharmaceutical ingredients. But expectations have now been raised even higher. With the stock having posted such strong year-to-date gains, this new acquisition is certain to put a spotlight on the company's organic growth performance.
Until there is a meaningful sign of a slowdown, Covidien will remain a top favorite for medtech performers in 2014.
At the time of publication, the author held no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.