The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Safeway, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Obagi Medical Products, Allergan and Avanir

  The Zacks Analyst Blog Highlights: Safeway, Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Obagi
            Medical Products, Allergan and Avanir Pharmaceuticals

PR Newswire

CHICAGO, April 10, 2013

CHICAGO, April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --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 Safeway (NYSE:SWY), Valeant
Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:VRX), Obagi Medical Products, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMPI),
Allergan, Inc. (NYSE::AGN) and Avanir Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq:AVNR).

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Here are highlights from Tuesday's Analyst Blog:

Safeway's Blackhawk Settles IPO Price

Safeway's (NYSE:SWY) majority-owned subsidiary Blackhawk Network Holdings
disclosed that it has altered the registration statement for its initial
public offering (IPO) with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company
now expects to raise up to $220 million from the IPO.

Last month, Blackhawk announced a registration statement filing for the highly
anticipated IPO of a minority stake. However, the company did not disclose the
number of shares and the price range for the offering at the time.

The company has now priced 10 million shares at an estimated offering price of
$20 to $22 per share. The IPO will comprise solely of shares by current
stockholders, including Safeway. The underwriters have an option to purchase
another 1.5 million shares.

Blackhawk provides prepaid products and payment services to consumers through
a network of retail store locations in the U.S. and 18 other nations.
Additionally, Blackhawk provides card production services, a secondary market
for prepaid cards and has recently introduced digital wallet services.
Blackhawk also has gift card businesses in U.K. and Australia.

Investors have been looking forward to the IPO ever since Safeway revealed its
plan to spin off Blackhawk into a public company in Sep 2012. Given the
revival of growth trends and the recent bullish run of the stock, the timing
of the announcement is apt. While Safeway has been on a strong uptrend, the
stock is likely to appear more valuable on the back of the announcement.

The spin-off of its Blackhawk subsidiary reflects solid future growth plans
for Safeway. Following the public offering, we expect the company to sharpen
focus on its mainstream retail operations and improve its competitive position
against peers. Safeway is expected to launch a Wellness initiative in the
second quarter of 2013 to tap growth opportunities in the fast growing
healthcare market in the U.S.

Valeant: The Sole Suitor for Obagi

Valeant Pharmaceuticals' (NYSE:VRX) proposed acquisition of Obagi Medical
Products, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMPI) received a boost with Merz Pharma Group opting
out of the race to purchase Obagi. Merz's decision ended the bidding war
between Valeant and itself.

Merz Pharma's decision came in wake of an increased acquisition offer from
Valeant Pharmaceuticals. We note that on Apr 2, 2013, Merz Pharma offered to
acquire Obagi for $22 per share in cash after Valeant proposed to acquire
Obagi for $19.75 per share on Mar 19, 2013. Subsequently, Valeant upped its
offer price to $24.00.

The increased offer price represented a 56% premium to Obagi's closing share
price on Mar 19, 2013 compared to 28% premium offered earlier. The amended
agreement was unanimously approved by Obagi's board.

We note that Obagi develops markets and sells products, which prevent or
improve the most common and visible skin disorders.

With leading dermatology brands such as Obagi Nu-Derm, Condition & Enhance,
Obagi-C Rx, ELASTIDerm and CLENZIDerm in its portfolio, Obagi has grown its
revenues from $35.6 million in 2001 to $120.7 million in 2012.

Valeant also has a strong presence in the dermatology field. We believe that
Valeant's acquisition of Obagi, on materializing, would further strengthen
Valeant's dermatology portfolio and pave way for new growth opportunities.

We note that acquisition activity has been quite strong in recent times in the
dermatological segment. In Dec 2012, Valeant acquired the entire outstanding
common stock of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation for approximately $2.6
billion.

The erstwhile Medicis Pharma focused on the development and marketing of
products for the treatment of dermatological and aesthetic conditions in the
US.

Meanwhile, Allergan, Inc. (NYSE::AGN) acquired privately-held SkinMedica, Inc.
in Dec 2012 with a focus on the latter's topical aesthetics skin care
business.

Valeant currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Right now, Avanir
Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (Nasdaq:AVNR) looks better positioned with a Zacks Rank
#2 (Buy).

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