Today’s buy for Allergan (AGN) in my long-term 50 Stocks portfolio completes the transition I started when I sold the stock in my 12-18 month Jubak’s Picks portfolio. At the time of that sell, I felt that Allergan was chasing too many opportunities that took away from its dominance in the cosmetic pharmacology sector.
Judging from a deal announced today, however, Allergan still knows where it’s strength lies. Allergan is buying medical technology company ZELTIQ Aesthetics (ZLTQ) for a reported $2.47 billion.
This deal follows on Allergan’s purchase of privately held LifeCell for $2.9 billion. LifeCell brings Allergan, the maker of Botox and Kybella (designed to reduce double-chins), a portfolio of “dermal matrix” products including tissue expanders and other products for the medical aesthetics market.
The purchase of ZELTIQ gives Allergan a company with $354 million in 2016 revenue from its CoolSculpting procedure, a FDA-approved method for gently cooling and eliminating targeted fat cells. Wall Street forecasts the growth potential in that business at 17% to 20% in 2017.
The big deal for Allergan and for investors, however, is Botox, which has been called addictive by social critics. Once a woman (or man) has started to use Botox to prevent the development of wrinkles, she or he is hooked on repeat use since the effect of the Botox injections only lasts for about four to six months. And who wants to give up using Botox and see all those wrinkles develop. Holy Dorian Gray!
With woman starting to use Botox in their 20s, the company has a very stable long-term customer base and, as long as human vanity remains what it is, a constant stream of new users.
Cue Carly Simon’s song “You’re So Vain.” (I bet you think this stock is about you.)
Shares of Allergan are up 17.5% in 2017 as of the close on February 13 and down 12.02% over the last 12 months. The 52-week range jus $184.50 to $301.32. The shares pay a 1.13% dividend. They closed today at $246.76.