Elliott would like the company to push into new markets, such as urology, gynecology and women’s health. But the Natick device maker is awash in debt, which Elliott must finish bailing out before making any large strategic moves.
Wall Street analysts are divided over the company’s prospects, Reuters reported, as shares hover just under 8-month-highs (closing at $9.86 July 2).
“It’s now in a much better situation than they were two years ago,” said a bullish Debbie Wang, an analyst at Morningstar, citing Elliott’s work as CEO at Zimmer Holdings Inc. He’ll be reunited with one of his lieutenants at Zimmer, BoSci CFO Sam Leno, a combination Wang called a winner.
“[Elliot] and Sam Leno did a fabulous job of integrating the Centerpulse acquisition [at Zimmer] and wringing out costs,” she said. “Leno convinced everyone to cost-cut. That started right after he joined the company. He started prepaying debt, streamlining to get rid of ancillary businesses, and improved the balance sheet.”
BSC stock could hit $18 in three years, Wang added.
But a bearish Fred Burke, president of Johnson Lemon Asset Management, said the debt is just too crippling.
“Boston Scientific has had very aggressive management in place and I never understood how the numbers were going to work. I think new management would have to do a lot to change our view. The current debt load is terrible, it’s like the U.S government, and just trying to pay it back in this environment is going to be tough,” Burke told the news service. “Elliott is a smart guy. Maybe he can diversify, but he has to get a handle on the balance sheet first. Where’s he going to get the money? They’ve tapped their sources of funds they might have gone to in the past. If anything, Boston Scientific is an acquisition candidate.”