Questcor, LULU, Bazaarvoice: Does Media Drama Obscure Sound Investing?

Questcor, LULU, Bazaarvoice: Does Media Drama Obscure Sound Investing?

Opportunities often come with a degree of ambiguity and it is mostly difficult to tell cheese from chalk. Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:QCOR), Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL), and Bazaarvoice Inc (NASDAQ:BV) are three examples. Here is some sense out of the noise:

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Questcor’s Shares Surged After New Drug Development

Shares of California based specialty biopharmaceutical company Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:QCOR) surged after it announced an agreement with Novartis AG (NYSE:NVS) to develop anti-inflammatory Synacthen and Synacthen Depot in the United States. The deal also allows access to some countries outside the United States, subject to closing conditions. Under the arrangement, Questcor will be responsible for securing regulatory approvals in the U.S. and will pay $135 million to Novartis including $60 million upfront.

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Synacthen is a generic version of the active ingredient in its lead drug Acthar Gel, and the strategic thinking behind the acquisition is that of boosting Acthar sales by a significant margin, albeit at lower prices. Understandably, the move got investors interested in the stock, which had already advanced more than 60 percent in 2013 even before this announcement. Development stage biopharmaceutical stocks can be dangerous value traps but solid plays like Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:QCOR) are among better bets in the industry. Fundamentally, Questcor is almost tax free and trades at a price earnings ratio of 14. This reduces to 9.5 on a forward basis indicating better earnings visibility.

CEO Departure Too Dramatic For Lululemon

Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) shares slipped recently on the twin announcements of the chief executive’s departure and heavy selling by its chairman. As a result, the stock has come crashing down from $82 to $64 in a matter of couple of days. CEO Christine Day led the company since 2008 but had come under fire after a recent ugly showdown with media which involved see-through yoga pants and a subsequent recall. Her impact on the company is unquestionable as its revenues grew sharply from $452.9 million in 2009 to $1.37 billion in 2012 under her leadership and profits rose at an even sharper rate. The recall expectedly had an impact on the bottom-line. Nevertheless, the company posted stellar first quarter results as revenues grew 21 percent to $345.8 million while profits also trended up, albeit slower at 1.4 percent to $47.3 million.

It was revealed afterwards that Chairman Dennis Wilson sold nearly $50 million worth of shares on the same day Christine Day notified the board of her intention to leave. This selling must have had a contributing effect on the stock’s downward pressure. The recent fall in the stock appears to be excessive and a bounce back can be expected for this debt free company. At a forward price earnings ratio of 25, the stock may not appeal to value investors but it is a good opportunity for aggressive buyers who were chasing it a few weeks back at even higher valuations.

Bazaarvoice’s Stock Buzzing

Bazaarvoice Inc (NASDAQ:BV) is another stock that is buzzing these days after reporting 37.8 percent sales growth in the quarter ended April 30, 2013. For the full year, this software-as-a-service company posted a 51 percent jump in sales to $160.3 million. Although the bottom-line is still in red ink, it came in better than expected in the latest quarter. To fuel its growth, the company acquired PowerReviews in June last year and followed it with the acquisition of Longboard Media in November.

Despite these positives, its shares trade at a 53 percent discount to its 52 week high levels and at the valuations seen at the start of the year. The reason for this undervaluation is a review by the Department of Justice in acquisition of PowerReviews and a management reshuffle. When looked at rationally, these factors are nothing more than operational challenges and are largely behind the company. Going forward, the company can be expected to continue reporting surging revenues and better operational performance.

Overall, these developments are positive for the companies although some may initially come across as out and out negative. Questcor Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ:QCOR) looks like a solid play even at current prices, while Lululemon Athletica Inc (NASDAQ:LULU) (TSE:LLL) and Bazaarvoice Inc (NASDAQ:BV) appear fit for aggressive players.

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