Investors clearly do not like Walgreen's (WAG) big push into Europe. But is the Alliance Boots deal really so horrible that it justifies a nearly 10% drop in two days? Walgreen's fundamentals still look strong -- and that's despite its continued stalemate with pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts (ESRX).
Exactly. Walgrreen is probably a great bargain now. Shares trade for less than 10 times fiscal 2013 earnings forecasts. Rival CVS (CVS), by way of comparison, is trading for more than 12 times earnings estimates for next year. Still, I understand why investors are nervous.
There used to be a time when Walgreen was all about organic growth. It eschewed big acquisitions. But in addition to the Alliance Boots deal, Walgreen also bought New York drugstore chain Duane Reade in 2010 and followed that up with the purchase of Drugstore.com last year.
Walgreen isn't the same company that I wrote about 17 years ago for the now defunct Financial World magazine.
I miss old $WAG. Wrote in 1995 "there's ... a greater chance of Dennis Rodman giving up basketball to join a monastery" than $WAG M&A binge.—
Paul R. La Monica (@LaMonicaBuzz) June 20, 2012
I was specifically referring to rumors that Walgreen might want to buy Revco. It didn't. CVS scooped it up instead after Revco's failed merger attempt with Rite-Aid (RAD). And although Rodman did finally retire from the NBA in 2000, it wasn't so he could go live a chaste life and take a vow of silence.
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