Shares of AmerisourceBergen (ABC) are jumping 11% to $99.20 on Tuesday morning after reports surfaced suggesting that Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) is interested in buying the drug-distributing company.
Initially, shares of AmerisourceBergen jumped more than 20% in after-hours trading Monday evening, when the news first surfaced. However, the gains are falling as there is no offer currently on the table.
Worth pointing out is that Walgreens already owns a 26% stake in AmerisourceBergen and has a representative on its board of directors. Given this situation, it's perhaps no surprise Walgreens wants to own more.
But does it make sense?
According to Wells Fargo analyst Peter Costa, it does. It makes sense, "given the already existing long-term partnership and limited ability to merge laterally," he reasoned.
Combining the two companies should help lower costs and create additional synergies, while also allowing Walgreens to bulk up for what many believe will be an emerging competitor in Amazon (AMZN) . One downside? Non-Walgreens pharmacies may not want to use AmerisourceBergen as a supplier, given that their competition may soon own the company, Costa acknowledged.
A potential acquisition would be accretive to earnings, but this deal would be a "head scratcher," according to Jefferies analyst Brian Tanquilut. Because of Walgreens stake in AmerisourceBergen, the two already have a joint venture. This already gives strategic value to Walgreens, so it's unclear why the company would need to acquire the rest of AmerisourceBergen.
However, the potential deal could allow Walgreens to expand its U.S. business, Tanquilut says.
Tanquilut has a buy rating and $93 price target on Walgreens. The target implies about 35% upside to current levels, as Walgreens stock is up 0.79% to $69 in early Tuesday trading.
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