Reports: WAG-RAD merger speculation drives RAD stock to four-year high
NEW YORK — Shares of Rite Aid crossed the $2 mark Wednesday afternoon following analyst speculation about the prospects of a takeover by Walgreens, according to published reports.
The New York Times reported that a report by a Credit Suisse analyst about why Walgreens "may" take over Rite Aid pushed the company’s stock up 9.6%, to $2.06, its highest level in four years, though it settled back down to $1.95 later in the afternoon. A Rite Aid spokeswoman told Drug Store News that the company had a policy of not commenting on industry speculation, and the Credit Suisse analyst, Edward Kelly, wrote that while strategically sensible, the deal could be too risky for Walgreens.
It’s not the first time Wall Street analysts have sought to create a buzz about the idea of the country’s largest retail pharmacy chain taking over the third largest. In November, analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group made similar statements, causing Rite Aid’s stock to go up by 7%.
Rite Aid, with just under 4,700 stores, compared with Walgreens’ more than 7,800, has carried a heavy debt load since its 2007 takeover of the Brooks and Eckerd drug store chains and has experienced numerous store closures. Nevertheless, it has sought to create growth through investments such as its Wellness+ loyalty card program, which has grown tremendously since its 2010 launch and generated widespread sales growth, including a 3.1% increase in comps in February. The chain also has been revamping its look with its Wellness store format, having completed 159 remodels as of December. And last month, it moved to refinance its debt with a $481 million bond offering.
On Tuesday's Drug Channels post, I asked: Rite Aid: Smart or Lucky? http://www.drugchannels.net/2012/03/rite-aid-smart-or-lucky.html This looks like another vote for lucky! Adam
NACDS: 100 days until retailers, suppliers convene for 2012 Marketplace Conference
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Association of Chain Drug Stores announced on Wednesday that there are 100 days until the commencement of the NACDS 2012 Marketplace Conference.
The conference, which will be held June 23 to 26 in Denver, Colo., will include educational and business opportunities for key retail decision makers to hold face-to-face meetings with their drug, food, mass and specialty retail suppliers.
“Forging relationships is essential for retailers and suppliers alike, and this year’s NACDS Marketplace Conference will help trading partners come together to do business and make deals,” NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson said. “The four-day NACDS Marketplace Conference is often only the first step to long and prosperous business relationships that help innovative products and long-time consumer staples reach store shelves and enter American homes.”
The event also includes a “Meet the Market” appointment program, which pairs suppliers and manufacturers with retailers for personalized meetings that often lead to ongoing trade floor discussions and business agreements. The one-day “Meet the Market” event, a cornerstone of the conference, has generated more than 8,000 individualized appointments and business opportunities in previous years. The 2012 NACDS Marketplace Conference also will feature educational sessions, including the “Meet the Retailer/How to Do Business With…” seminars where chain retail executives offer effective strategies for suppliers to get their products noticed and to market.
More than 230 retail companies, representing more than 145,000 retail outlets and $500 billion in annual buying power, attend the event. Attendees also include representatives from leading and emerging business that account for more than 90% of the consumer packaged goods industry.
As NACDS gears up for its new trade and business development show in 2013 — the NACDS Total Store Expo — participants in the Marketplace Conference and Pharmacy & Technology Conference will be offered the opportunity to purchase their booth (or booths) for the inaugural NACDS Total Store Expo to jumpstart their planning during the 2012 Marketplace Conference.
“The success of the NACDS Marketplace Conference is not possible without the dedication of retailer and supplier participants and the business and opportunities they bring to the event each year, and we look forward to that same caliber and energy from participants for the NACDS 2013 Total Store Expo. Therefore it’s only appropriate to launch booth sales for the very first Total Store Expo during this year’s Marketplace Conference, giving companies significant lead time to begin their planning,” Anderson added.
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Study: H. pylori may be linked to diabetes risk
NEW YORK — A bacterium found in the stomach may be associated with diabetes, according to a study published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.
Using data from two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, researchers Yu Chen and Martin Glaser of the New York University School of Medicine conducted a cross-sectional analyses of 7,417 participants from NHANES III (ages 18 years and older) and 6,072 participants in NHANES 1999-2000 ages 3 years and older to assess the association between Helicobacter pylori and HbA1C levels. The researchers found that while there was no association between H. pylori and history of self-reported diabetes, they did find that "data [confirmed] expected associations of demographic and lifestyle factors with HbA1C and H. pylori status and suggest a relationship between H. pylori and [body mass index]," noting the association was strongest among obese people.
"The findings indicated a role of H. pylori in impaired glucose tolerance in adults that may be potentiated by higher BMI level … Future studies with accurate information on diagnosis of diabetes are needed to evaluate the association between H. pylori and diabetes," Chen and Glaser concluded.
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