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Spring Takeover Bids a Boon

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Spring Takeover Bids a Boon. Stock selection, a cornerstone of the moat investment philosophy, has driven much of the recent success of the Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM (MWMFTR), which has gained over 15% YTD as of May 31, 2016. Of late, consolidation has been king and we've seen increased M&A activity. Spring Takeover Bids a Boon

Spring Takeover Bids a Boon. Stock selection, a cornerstone of the moat investment philosophy, has driven much of the recent success of the Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM (MWMFTR), which has gained over 15% YTD as of May 31, 2016. Of late, consolidation has been king and we’ve seen increased M&A activity. Spring Takeover Bids a Boon

M&A Activity Can Strengthen Moats

The concept of an economic moat refers to how likely a company is to keep competitors at bay for an extended period of time. Simply put, moat investing comes down to identifying companies that are able to stay one step ahead of the competition. Economic moats are often part of the strategic rationale for M&A transactions and post-acquisition success can be an important factor in moat ratings.

Strategic M&A can be attractive investment themes for moat companies — not only potential takeover targets but possible acquirers as well. Bolstered future return on capital and increased market share have the potential to strengthen these companies’ economic moats and highlights the derived value from their acquisition strategies.

M&A Deals in the Works

M&A in general has been a prevalent theme in MWMFTR this spring. In April, Abbott Laboratories (ABT US) announced its intent to acquire St. Jude Medical, Inc. (STJ US) for $25 million, positioning the two to capture a larger market share position within the cardiovascular device market. The deal is expected to close in the coming fourth quarter. St. Jude was first added to MWMFTR on March 21, 2016. It was the big winner among domestic moat-rated companies for the month of April. (Read more on April’s results in A Star Spangled April for Moats.)

In another announcement, German chemical and pharmaceutical company Bayer AG (BAYN DE), currently the number two crop chemical producer in the world, made an unsolicited takeover offer for Monsanto Company (MON US), the world’s leading seed company. While currently facing a multitude of hurdles, the deal, if completed, would mark the largest-ever German takeover of a foreign company.1 A constituent in MWMFTR since it was added to the index on September 21, 2015, shares of MON soared immediately following reports of the buyout approach.

M&A doesn’t always end in fist bumps and high fives, however. In April, U.S. drug maker Pfizer Inc. (PFE US) terminated its agreement to acquire Botox maker Allergan Plc (AGN US) on the heels of a new tax ruling by the U.S. Department of Treasury targeting its anticipated tax benefits. The announcement sent AGN US’ price falling. However, investors will need to sit tight to see how AGN’s $40.5 billion sale of its generic drug unit to Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TEVA US) shakes out.

St Jude, Monsanto, and Allergan are all holdings of MWMFTR and VanEck Vectors™ Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (MOAT®). As of May 31, 2016, they represented 6.51%, 5.75%, and 3.69% of the Fund’s net assets, respectively. Their pre- and post-deal-announcement fair values can be seen in the table below.

Data as of May 20, 2016. Source: Morningstar.

Moat Investing  provides key insights and performance trends impacting global moat investing based on Morningstar equity research. U.S.-focused MOAT and internationally focused MOTI offer investors global exposure to Morningstar’s moat methodology and valuation principals.

IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

1 Source: http://www.wsj.com/articles/bayers-bid-for-monsanto-faces-hurdles-1463704261

Fair value estimate: The Morningstar analyst’s estimate of what a stock is worth.

The Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index consists of 20 U.S. companies identified as having sustainable, competitive advantages and whose stocks are the most attractively priced, according to Morningstar.

The Morningstar® Wide Moat Focus IndexSM was created and is maintained by Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar, Inc. does not sponsor, endorse, issue, sell, or promote the VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF and bears no liability with respect to the ETF or any security. Morningstar® is a registered trademark of Morningstar, Inc. Morningstar Wide Moat Focus Index is a service mark of Morningstar, Inc.

This content is published in the United States for residents of specified countries. Investors are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this content. Nothing in this content should be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell shares of any investment in any jurisdiction where the offer or solicitation would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction, nor is it intended as investment, tax, financial, or legal advice. Investors should seek such professional advice for their particular situation and jurisdiction.

The information herein represents the opinion of the author(s), but not necessarily those of VanEck, and these opinions may change at any time and from time to time. Non-VanEck proprietary information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. Not intended to be a forecast of future events, a guarantee of future results or investment advice. Historical performance is not indicative of future results. Current data may differ from data quoted. Any graphs shown herein are for illustrative purposes only. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission of VanEck.

This commentary is not intended as a recommendation to buy or to sell any of the named securities. Holding will vary for MOAT and its underlying Index.

Any indices listed are unmanaged indices and include the reinvestment of all dividends, but do not reflect the payment of transaction costs, advisory fees or expenses that are associated with an investment in a fund. An index’s performance is not illustrative of a fund’s performance. Indices are not securities in which investments can be made.
To view fund performance current to the most recent month end, call 800.826.2333 or visit vaneck.com.

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