Teladoc (Teladoc Stock Quote, Chart, News NYSE:TDOC) ended October on a downbeat but the momentary drop shouldn’t scare aware investors, says portfolio manager Shane Obata of Middlefield Capital. As the undisputed heavyweight in the surging telemedicine industry, Teladoc is the one to own.
“We own Teladoc. It’s been a winner for us,” said Obata, who spoke on BNN Bloomberg on Friday. “It had a little rough patch recently, but this comes back to thematics that have been accelerated.”
“You can’t entirely replicate [in-person visits] with telemedicine but there are a lot of instances where it’s very much more convenient for the practitioner as well as the client,” Obata said. “If you’re just trying to ask the doctor a question that could save you a trip to the doctor’s office and a trip home and save the doctor from wasting his or her time, that’s an efficiency gain.”
Teladoc’s share price tumbled over the last week of October as the market reacted to new earnings from the company as well as finalization of the merger between Teladoc and Livongo. The company reported third quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates, coming in with revenue up 109 per cent to $288.8 million and a net loss of $35.9 million. Cash flow from operations for the past nine months came in at $61.4 million, up 425 per cent year-over-year. (All figures in US dollars.)
The company paired those results with fourth quarter guidance for revenue of between $294 and $304 million.
“We are seeing significant market success and consistent growth in member visits throughout all of our commercial channels. With the addition of Livongo later this year, we will be creating a new category of whole person virtual care that will transform how people live healthier lives,” said CEO Jason Gorevic in a press release.
The leader in telemedicine in the US with now 51.5 million members by the end of the Q3 and up 47 per cent year-over-year, Teladoc has an international presence as well, where international revenue grew by 20 per cent to $33 million. For the third quarter, total visits to health professionals on the company’s platform were up an amazing 206 per cent year-over-year.
Teledoc also completed last Friday its merger with Livongo, first announced in early August. The deal, which will see Livongo shareholders paid $11.33 in cash plus 0.5920x TDOC shares for every Livongo share, creates a behemoth in the still-nascent telemedicine space, with Teladoc now adding Livongo’s diabetes-monitoring platfrom as well as over 410,000 diabetes members as of the end of June.
“Both Teladoc Health and Livongo were founded with the same mission: to create a new kind of healthcare experience, one that empowers people everywhere to live their healthiest life. Today’s news dramatically accelerates our ability to make this a reality for the tens of millions of consumers and healthcare professionals we serve around the world,” said Gorevic in a Friday press release.
“Together, our team will achieve the full promise of whole-person virtual care, leveraging our combined applied analytics, expert guidance and connected technology to deliver, enable and empower better health outcomes,” Gorevic said.
The seemingly positive news on both the quarterly earnings and the merger front weren’t reflected in TDOC’s share price, however, which fell nine per cent for the week. That still leaves shareholders with plenty of gains in 2020, though. A strong performer in 2019, well before the COVID-19 pandemic stepped on the gas for telemedicine, Teladoc finished 2019 up 69 per cent and has followed that up with gains of 135 per cent so far in 2020.
Obata says the run is probably not done, either.
“I think adoption is going to continue to rise over time as people become more comfortable and as these kinds of systems get integrated into the insurance systems and whatnot,” Obata said. “So, we’re definitely bullish on the long term perspective for Teladoc. We like this space a lot.”
Obata is not alone. Canaccord Genuity analyst Richard Close delivered an update to clients last Friday where he kept his “Buy” rating but raised his 12-month target from $255.00 to $261.00 per share, reflecting at the time of publication a projected return of 20 per cent. Close raised his forecasts and is now calling for TDOC to hit full 2020 revenue and adjusted EBITDA of $296 million and $0.6 million, respectively.
“We reiterate our BUY on Teladoc after the company reported another quarter that outperformed expectations and guidance that should prove conservative based on management’s track record,” Close wrote.
D.A. Davidson analyst Hannah Baade also updated her assessment on Teladoc last week, delivering last Thursday a “Buy” rating and $250.00 target, while last Thursday KeyBanc analyst Donald Hooker kept his “Overweight” recommendation and raised his one-year target from $240.00 to $245.00.