WebMD Deserves Fees In Failed Patent Case, Judge Says
By Ryan Davis
Law360, New York (April 22, 2015, 7:51 PM ET) -- A California federal judge has ruled that WebMD Health Corp. and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc. are entitled to attorneys' fees after prevailing in a patent case against them by MyMedicalRecords Inc., even though he held the case does not qualify as exceptional.
U.S. District Judge Otis Wright II of the Central District of California ruled Monday that MyMedicalRecords' conduct during the case as a whole was not exceptional under the U.S. Supreme Court's Octane Fitness fee-shifting standard, but held that the company "willfully disobeyed" his orders....
Another great occasion for the manipulators to step in and make some profit.
Chinese regulations? Greek problems?
Is that what’s important to the U.S economy?
What a lot of nonsense!
We don’t know, as we don’t know the details of their partnership agreement. However, in their original announcement there was this sentence:
“Additionally, visitors to WebMD will be able to easily use Walgreens' prescription refill and clinic appointment scheduling options from within the WebMD site on their desktop or mobile device”
“In April 2012, Express Scripts completed a $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions. The acquisition positioned Express Scripts Holding Co. as the largest pharmacy benefit manager, filling 1.4 billion annual prescriptions.
Medco was originally founded as National Pharmacies in 1983. In 1984, after an IPO, National Pharmacies became Medco Containment Services, LLC. In 1993, Medco Containment was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. and became Merck-Medco. In August 2003, Medco Health Solutions, Inc. became an independent company in one of the largest domestic spin-offs at the time.”
And we all know who founded Medco….
Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s acting Chief Executive Officer Stefano Pessina isn’t being shy about his ambitions to do more deals, mere months after taking the helm of the biggest U.S. drugstore chain.
On a conference call with analysts Thursday, he outlined options that include a buyout of a company in the drug-distribution supply chain or a joint venture with a partner. Express Scripts Holding Co.’s shares closed up 4.9 percent to $88.47, a record, in New York, as investors interpreted Pessina’s deal comments as a possible overture for the drug-benefits provider, Evercore ISI analyst Ross Muken said.
Walgreens is the only major U.S. retail pharmacy chain that doesn’t own a pharmacy benefit manager like Express Scripts. Such companies negotiate with drugmakers on prices for medications obtained through insurance coverage. CVS Health Corp. bought Caremark RX Inc. in 2007 to enter the business, and Rite Aid Corp. agreed this year to acquire EnvisionRX.
Express Scripts spokesman David Whitrap declined to comment. Walgreens shares rose 5.6 percent to $92.62.
The market appears ripe for another round of consolidation to take costs out of the complicated drug distribution business in the U.S., Pessina told investors on the call after the company reported second-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates.
“The complex structure of delivering the medicines to the patients will have to be rationalized, and as a consequence it’s easy to believe we will have additional synergies coming from M&A activities,” he said. “We want to be -- as we have been in the past -- at the forefront of changes and so if these needs for consolidation will be confirmed, we will try to be part of it.”
His comments may indicate Walgreens is leaning more toward a deal in the industry of buying and distributing drugs than toward a merger with a direct competitor like Rite Aid, which has been the subject of speculation in recent weeks. Walgreens said Thursday it will close 200 U.S. stores this year to cut costs, throwing cold water on the idea that Pessina is eager to gain more locations.
One hint into Pessina’s strategy is the strategic relationship Walgreens entered in 2013 with AmerisourceBergen Corp., the second-biggest U.S. drug distributor. On the conference call Thursday, the acting CEO cited the alliance, which gave Walgreens the option to acquire a minority stake in the distributor, as an example of the type of “innovative partnership” he’d like to do.
“They’re rationalizing their own store base, they’re loving the deal they did with AmerisourceBergen and they’re talking about enhancing the supply chain with M&A,” said Tony Scherrer, director of research at Seattle-based Smead Capital Management, which oversees $1.4 billion and owns Walgreens stock. “If they’re doing that, then perhaps a Rite Aid deal would be less likely than what people had been thinking.”
Walgreens spent $15.3 billion to buy the rest of Alliance Boots in August, after previously controlling about 45 percent of the Swiss company. Pessina built Alliance Boots through more than three decades of mergers before selling it to Walgreens.
While the integration of the two companies continues, it won’t prevent the company from doing more deals, Pessina said. Deals or joint ventures typically take months to come to fruition anyway, he said. Walgreens executives said mergers are a top priority for the company’s cash.
While he hunts for deals, Pessina is also looking for a new leader for Walgreens. The company announced in December its CEO Greg Wasson, 56 at the time, would retire upon the closing of the deal. Pessina, who is also executive vice chairman and the biggest shareholder of Walgreens, is acting CEO while the company selects Wasson’s replacement.
I think we’ll get some more information before that.
The 1st quarter earnings conference might be used for that as they should inform on the progress of that relationship.
Executive Vice Chairman and Acting CEO Stefano Pessina said, “This quarter marked a solid start for our new company, and I remain as optimistic as ever about our long-term future. At the same time, we understand the work that is needed to proactively address headwinds such as reimbursement pressure and competition. Our work includes several key areas of focus to create value.
“The first area is improving the performance of our businesses worldwide with an emphasis on operations. Second, we will be refreshing and reinvesting in the stores of our Retail Pharmacy USA division to improve the customer experience and expand retail margins. Third, we are restructuring our cost base, with a focus primarily in the USA, to create a more efficient cost model and become a more agile company. Through these efforts, Walgreens Boots Alliance is determined to lead the way in our industry and be at the forefront of innovative, pharmacy-led health care.”
Goldman backtracks on WebMD downgrade; shares now positive
Apr 8 2015, 13:22 ET | About: WebMD Health Corp (WBMD) | By: Eric Jhonsa, SA News Editor
• Stating its enterprise value calculation for the company was off due to the erroneous inclusion of convertible notes in both its diluted share count and net debt calculations, Goldman has taken back this morning's downgrade of WebMD (WBMD +0.3%) to Sell from Neutral. The firm's target is once more at $57.
• Shares are now in positive territory. They were down as much as 4.3% in early trading.
Departure of Directors or Certain Officers; Election of Directors; Appointment of Certain Officers; Compensatory Arrangements of Certain Officers
On March 25, 2015, the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors of WebMD Health Corp. approved the following grants of shares of restricted WebMD Common Stock and options to purchase WebMD Common Stock to executive officers of WebMD:
Executive Officer Title Number of Shares of
Restricted Stock Number of Shares
David Schlanger Chief Executive Officer 40,000 80,000
Steven Zatz, M.D. President 40,000 80,000
Peter Anevski Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer 40,000 80,000
Michael Glick Executive Vice President and Co-General Counsel 16,000 42,500
Douglas Wamsley Executive Vice President and Co-General Counsel 16,000 42,500
Martin J. Wygod Chairman of the Board 60,000 —
Tracey, yes, I agree with you. The partnership with WBA should be very interesting indeed, and the way the stock behaves in the face of adversity seems to indicate that there is some very cautious vacuum cleaning going on
Going on about the dead past with its shortcomings known to all is tiresome.
Big things are in the making:
Market watch: Lions Health Brings Google, WebMD, Walgreens, Novartis, Weber Shandwick and the CEA to the Stage
During the WebMD session at the Festival, Alex Gourlay, EVP Walgreens Boots Alliance, and president of Walgreens, will join WebMD CEO David Schlanger to examine what it will take for consumers to incorporate the necessary behavior changes they need to make to improve their health, Lion's Health announced.
Lions Health 2015 will be held June 19 and 20, Palais des Festivals, Cannes, France.
Sometimes it’s all a bit too much:
People worrying about a rise in interest rates when, in fact, that is a very good sign for an economy picking up…
People going on about a “strong” dollar when, in fact, it is just recovering a bit of the huge losses it had against serious currencies, as, for instance, the Swiss Franc…
People going on about WBMD being quiet - they quite obviously haven’t heard anything about option expiring dates…
Congratulations, you’re living up to your name
The agreement was done with “WebMD Health Services”, the WebMD unit that runs the private portals.
“The new partnership gives Michigan Blues' customers, including employer groups looking to keep costs down, the opportunity to incorporate wellness programs into their benefit structure.”
This says it quite clearly what this is all about!
Congratulations - It is good to see that someone else realises the importance of the Walgreens alliance for additional revenue sources outside advertising!
They were probably so embarrassed by being criticised on message boards they decided against bonuses for once.
Well, I never thought Marty was a fool.
What’s wrong with sticking to partnerships?
What would Marty do once somebody snatched his company?
At 75 you don’t start a new career.
That’s why I repeat what I said before:
This company is NOT for sale!
It should be obvious that the partnership with Walgreens is a game changer and will be responsible for much faster growth than we have seen so far.
That this is not yet included in the 2015 guidance is only due to the fact that probably nobody can estimate what it will be. I think the numbers could be staggering.
And on who’s table have you folks seen a buy-out project?
Marty is probably working on the big picture and leaves day-to-day business to the CEO, as he should, as Chairman of the Board. If he is confident that the CEO knows what he is doing, of course, which, apparently, he is.
After hours don’t mean a thing because of very limited volume and MMs doing their adjustments. Let’s wait for the opening.
For the year 2014
Adjusted EBITDA + 29%
Adjusted Net Income + 116%
or per diluted share + 148%
Guidance for the year 2015
Adjusted EBITDA + 13% to 20%
Net Income + 23% to 45%
There are some indicators that show us were the company is going:
1) The in-and-out of Icahn.
Carl Icahn is not a long term investor, but a short term opportunist who aims to profit from special situations.
He probably went into the company with the intention of forcing a sale and make a nice profit in the procedure. However, as he ran into opposition from Marty and his buddies, he preferred to sell his position to the company and walk away with a small profit or perhaps even a small loss.
For the combined know-how and connections of Marty and Icahn it shouldn’t have been any problem to find a suitable buyer for this company.
That a sale did not result should be indicator enough even to the most stubborn speculators that this company is not for sale.
The closest competitor is far smaller Everyday Health, a company that yet has to make a profit.
3) The partnership with Walgreens
When the leading health portal and the largest drug retailing chain in the United States, and perhaps the world, form a partnership, they don’t do it just to hold hands together but to increase revenues and profits for both of them.
Remember this exchange between an analyst and David Schlanger at the last earnings conference:
Are you thinking that (the partnership) more as a revenue generator? Or is it really more about the marketing presence, being in the stores? And do you see opportunities for this kind of partnership, either doing something deeper with Walgreens or with other partners?
Well, I would say yes to all of the above.
We are certainly pleased with the economic terms of the agreement.
We think it’s a terrific opportunity to leverage Walgreens’ substantial reach with consumers.
They get 8 million store visits a day, to make WebMD content and tools more accessible to people where they are.
And lastly, because of the breadth of Walgreens’ organization, we certainly see additional opportunities to work with them beyond what we’ve already contracted for.
After cooperating with Apple’s HealthKit and Qualcomm Life, this is an even more important step on WebMD’s way on becoming the octopus of healthcare.