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Tech Data, WellCare shine in stock market

Margie Manning



Tech Data (Google maps)

Tech Data Corp., the largest company by revenue in the Tampa-St. Pete area, posted a 75.5 percent increase in stock price in 2019 after the company signed a deal to go private.

That made Tech Data (Nasdaq: TECD), a Clearwater IT distributor, 2019’s biggest winner on Wall Street among 20 locally based companies that trade on a major exchange and have a market capitalization over $100 million.

Twelve of the 20 companies had stock price gains, while eight businesses saw their stock prices decline in the twelve months ended Dec. 31.

Stock prices generally reflect a company’s overall financial health. Fluctuations in stock prices can inflate or shrink shareholder portfolios and employee retirement plans. Companies with higher stock prices have more buying power when they use that stock to make an acquisition.

Overall, it was a banner year in the stock market, with the S&P 500 up nearly 29 percent, the Nasdaq up 35 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 22 percent.

Tech Data agreed to be acquired in mid-November by funds managed by Apollo Global Management, in a deal now valued at $6 billion. Tech Data’s stock closed Dec. 31 at $143.60 a share, just below the $145 a share offer from Apollo.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. (NYSE: WCG), a Tampa managed healthcare provider, also will be acquired in 2020. WellCare has a deal to be bought by St. Louis-based Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC) for $17 billion in cash and stock. WellCare’s stock price jumped nearly 40 percent in 2019.

AquaVenture Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: WAAS),  a Tampa water provider, got a smaller bump in stock price after it said it would sell to Chicago-based water company Culligan in an all-cash deal for $1.1 billion.

Stock drops

Last year was a tough one for Health Insurance Innovations (Nasdaq: HIIQ), a Tampa company with a cloud-based technology platform that distributes insurance products. With a 28 percent stock price drop, the company announced late last year that it would pivot away from individual and family health insurance plans, and toward Medicare insurance products.

Three local publicly traded property and casualty insurers — United Insurance Holdings (Nasdaq: UIHC) in St. Petersburg, Heritage Insurance Holdings (NYSE: HRTG) in Clearwater, and HCI Group (NYSE: HCI) in Tampa — also ended the year with stock drops, as did Mosaic Co. (NYSE: MOS), a crop nutrient producer and marketer that moved its headquarters to Tampa during 2019.

The local public company arena has changed significantly in the past 10 years.

Bloomin’ Brands (Nasdaq: BLMN), the Tampa parent company of Outback Steakhouse and other brands, was privately held in 2010. So was Tampa door maker Masonite International (NYSE: DOOR). Welbilt (NYSE: WBT), a commercial food equipment manufacturer in New Port Richey, was part of The Manitowoc Co. Apyx Medical Corp. (Nasdaq: APYX), a Clearwater medical device company that was the hottest local stock in 2018, was called Bovie Medical in 2010 and focused on electrosurgical equipment, a business it has since sold.

Among those that have been around since at least the start of 2010, WellCare has vastly outperformed, with a nearly 800 percent gain in stock price.

About a dozen Tampa-St. Pete public companies have disappeared over the past decade.

Late 2009

MTS Medication Technologies sold to private equity firm Excellere Partners, which sold MTS to Omnicell in 2012


Switch & Data sold to Equinix

Gerdau Ameristeel sold to Gerdau S.A.


Syniverse sold to private equity firm The Carlyle Group

First Community Bank Corporation of America sold to predecessor of C1 Financial


Lincare Holdings sold to Linde AG

SRI/Surgical Express sold to Synergy Health


Quality Distribution sells to private equity firm Apax Partners


TECO Energy (Tampa Electric) sold to Emera

C1 Financial sold to Bank of the Ozarks, now Bank OZK


Walter Investment Management moved headquarters to Pennsylvania, rebranded as Ditech Mortgage, sold assets in 2019 to New Residential Investment and Mortgage Assets Management


HSN sells to Qurate Retail

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