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The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Starbucks Corporation, Tevana Holdings, Inc., Celgene Corporation, Amgen Inc. and Pfizer Inc.

SBUX CELG AMGN PFE

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For Immediate Release

Chicago, IL – November 16, 2012 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Starbucks Corporation (SBUX - Analyst Report), Teavana Holdings, Inc. , Celgene Corporation (CELG - Analyst Report), Amgen Inc. (AMGN - Analyst Report) and Pfizer Inc. (PFE - Analyst Report).

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

Here are highlights from Friday’s Analyst Blog:

Starbucks to Buy Teavana

 

Looking for new growth avenues beyond coffee, Starbucks Corporation (SBUX - Analyst Report) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Atlanta-based Teavana Holdings, Inc. , a specialty retailer of tea for approximately $620 million in cash.

Teavana operates through 300 mall-based stores, which Starbucks plans to expand as well as establish new stand-alone Teavana neighborhood stores domestically as well as internationally. Moreover, Starbucks plans to open tea bars (which will make customized tea beverages) inside these stores, which presently sell only loose-leaf teas and related merchandise.

We believe that the coming together of Starbucks and Teavana provides the former a global opportunity to create a unique retail experience in the $40 billion tea category. Starbucks claims that tea is the world’s second largest beverage category with huge scope for innovation, which it plans to exploit. Management stressed though that the push into tea does not signal a slowdown in its core coffee business.

The acquisition is complementary with Starbucks’ already existing core tea business of Tazo tea. Starbucks sells Tazo tea in stores as well as across foodservice channels. Over time, Starbucks plans to create a two-tiered business where both the Tazo and Teavana branded products will co-exist.

Starbucks is constantly on the lookout for new businesses, which complement its core coffee offerings. Six months ago, Starbucks acquired bakery chain La Boulange and a year back it bought Evolution Fresh juice stores to expand its footprint beyond coffee. Teavana is another step in that direction.

Teavana shareholders will receive $15.50 per share in cash for the merger, which has already been approved by 70% of Teavana shareholders through written consent. Per the agreement, which is expected to complete by calendar year end, Teavana will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Starbucks. The acquisition is expected to add a penny to 2013 earnings.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on Starbucks. However, the stock carries a Zacks #2 Rank (a short-term Hold rating) which implies a short term buy rating. Starbucks is gaining momentum with solid results in fiscal 2012; regular product innovations like the recently launched at-home coffee machine, Verismo; and great strategic deals like La Boulange, Evolution Fresh and now Teavana.

 

Celgene’s Apremilast Encourages

 

Celgene Corporation (CELG - Analyst Report) recently announced encouraging results on its candidate apremilast from a phase III study (PALACE-1: n~500), which evaluated patients suffering from psoriatic arthritis at 20 mg and 30 mg dosages. We note that psoriatic arthritis refers to a painful, chronic inflammatory disease, associated with psoriasis (a skin-related disorder). Results were presented at the annual conference of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Data from the randomized, placebo-controlled, multi-center study revealed that patients treated with apremilast achieved statistically significant and higher ACR20 responses at week 16 compared to those in the placebo arm

We note that apart from the PALACE-1 study, the PALACE program consists of two more phase III studies (PALACE 2 and PALACE 3). We remind investors that Celgene presented encouraging data from the PALACE-2 and PALACE-3 studies in September 2012.

Celgene intends to seek US approval for apremilast in the psoriatic arthritis indication based on data from the PALACE program in the first half of 2013. Celgene is also evaluating apremilast in patients suffering from moderate-to-severe psoriasis, US approval is expected to be sought in the second half of 2013.

Celgene intends to seek EU approval for apremilast in the psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis indications in the second half of 2013. Apremilast, on approval, would compete with drugs such as Amgen/Pfizer’s (AMGN - Analyst Report) /(PFE - Analyst Report) Enbrel in the market for inflammatory diseases. Moreover, Celgene is also evaluating apremilast as a treatment for Behcet's disease.

Our Recommendation

We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Celgene. The stock carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short run.

Today, Zacks is promoting its ''Buy'' stock recommendations. Four daily picks are offered free.

 

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Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Inherent in any investment is the potential for loss. This material is being provided for informational purposes only and nothing herein constitutes investment, legal, accounting or tax advice, or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold a security. No recommendation or advice is being given as to whether any investment is suitable for a particular investor. It should not be assumed that any investments in securities, companies, sectors or markets identified and described were or will be profitable. All information is current as of the date of herein and is subject to change without notice. Any views or opinions expressed may not reflect those of the firm as a whole. Zacks Investment Research does not engage in investment banking, market making or asset management activities of any securities. These returns are from hypothetical portfolios consisting of stocks with Zacks Rank = 1 that were rebalanced monthly with zero transaction costs. These are not the returns of actual portfolios of stocks. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index. Visit http://www.zacks.com/performance for information about the performance numbers displayed in this press release.
 

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