Thursday, September 28, 2006

STMicroelectronics (STM) Higher on Takeover Chatter

STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM) is 4% higher early Thursday on rumors the company could be the target of a takeover. In a recent research report, Merrill Lynch said the company could be an ideal takeover target following recent private equity buyouts of Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE: FSL) and the chipmaking unit of Philips Electronics, NXP.

STMicroelectronics is a global leader in developing and delivering a range of semiconductor solutions. ST is the world’s fifth largest semiconductor company and has leading positions in sales of Analog Products, Analog Application Specific Integrated Circuits and Analog Application Specific Standard Products. ST is also number one in camera modules for mobile phones, number two in discretes and analog, and number three in NOR Flash, as well as in the application segments of Automotive, Industrial, and Wireless. ST is also the leading supplier of semiconductors for set-top boxes and power management devices. Furthermore, ST was the 3rd biggest semiconductor supplier in China in 2005.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Reports United Airlines (UAUA) Retains Goldman Sachs (GS) to Look at Strategic Alternatives

Crain's Chicago reports United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) has retained Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to explore strategic alternatives including possible mergers with other carriers.

The article states Goldman Sachs will help assess the value of the company's holding and look for possible merger partners. The article says Continental (NYSE: CAL) or Delta Air Lines (OTC: DALRQ) as the most likely merger candidates.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Palm (PALM) Mentioned as a Takeover Target

A commentator on CNBC mentions that Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) is higher on rumors a handset maker could acquire the company. The stock is up about 3.5% this morning.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Lampert Speculation Targets Gap (GPS)

Last week, rumors were abound that hedge fund guru Edward Lampert was looking to build a stake in Home Depot (NYSE: HD), this week Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) is the center of the Lampert speculation. According to speculation Monday, Lampert's hedge fund RBS Partners LP may be accumulating Gap common stock.

While Gap shares received a boost recently from an upgrade at Lehman Brothers, the stock has suffered for years due to poor operating performance.

Lampert is best known for bringing Kmart out of bankruptcy and later merging the company into Sears, Roebuck & Co., creating Sears Holdings. Lampert currently sits as the Chairman of Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD). Lampert also owns large stakes in AutoNation (NYSE: AN) and AutoZone (NYSE: AZO). Recent filings showed his hedge fund owned a 23.4% stake in AN and a 29.65% stake in AZO.

Shares of specialty retailer Gap are up 2.18% to $18.31 in mid-day action Monday.

Symbol Technologies (SBL) Near Deal to Sell Itself - WSJ

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Symbol Technologies Inc. (NYSE: SBL) is auctioning itself off, which could result in a quick sale. Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is said to be in the best position to win the auction. One person said that a deal could come in at about $15 per share.

Symbol Technologies, Inc. is a recognized worldwide leader in enterprise mobility, delivering products and solutions that capture, move and manage information in real time to and from the point of business activity.

Shares of Symbol rallied up to $14.58 (+14.71) in Mid-day action Monday on the speculation.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) has long been a rumored takeover target, but news earlier in the week that Peter Dolan was forced out as the company's chief executive officer has put the rumor mill into overdrive.

Today, the focus is on an article from New Jersey paper The Star Ledger, which said Schering-Plough (NYSE: SGP) is seriously considering a merger with Bristol-Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY). According to the report, people with knowledge of the plan said the merger would make sense for both companies. They say the deal would give Schering-Plough a drug-discovery pipeline, cancer treatments and antiviral therapies and give Bristol-Myers a strong CEO and a hot cholesterol fighting drug.

Recent media speculation has centered around Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) or GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) as potential suitors for Bristol-Myers.

Some on Wall Street have suggested that the Star Ledger story could be an attempt by Schering-Plough to gauge the market's reaction to such a deal. Others suggest it is pure-speculation and a deal between the two is unlikely.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb are up 1.4% in mid-day trading Friday. Schering-Plough is up 1.6%.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Imax (IMAX) Jumps On Renewed Takeover Speculation

Shares of Imax Corp. (Nasdaq: IMAX) are higher today on renewed takeover talk, sparked by comments from 'CNBC Champ' Thomas Ko on MSN Money, who said he is adding the stock to his portfolio on a potential buyout.

Imax shares were punished in August after the company said there were no buyers at the valuation sought by the Board of Directors.

Ko argues that Imax was $10 then and is currently around $5, making the stock a compelling buy. Ko said, "at a modest $7 per share, I would definitely think IMAX could be a very attractive acquisition target given its monopoly position in the large format 3D projection theater system." Ko thinks Disney (NYSE: DIS) or Sony (NYSE: SNE) could be a great fit.

Shares of Imax are 10% higher to $5.24 in afternoon action Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Merrill Lynch Lists Top Semiconductor Buyout Candidates

According to Barron's Tech Trader Blog, Merrill Lynch's Joe Osha lists the top 10 semiconductor buyout candidates following news of a bidding war for Freescale (NYSE: FSL). According to the blog, Osha said, "Given the number of companies in our coverage universe still tolerating capital structures that don’t make sense relative to the industry’s prospects, we think that additional transactions are a possibility."

Osha's top ten buyout candidates are Intersil (Nasdaq: ISIL), Linear Technology (Nasdaq: LLTC), Silicon Labs (Nasdaq: SLAB), Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX), Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), IDT (Nasdaq: IDTI), LSI Logic (NYSE: LSI), Advanced Analogic Tech (Nasdaq: AATI), Microchip (Nasdaq: MCHP) and Netlogic (Nasdaq: NETL).

Friday, September 08, 2006

CNBC Mentions Starwood Hotels (HOT) Takeover Rumors

A CNBC commentator mentions takeover rumors going around on Starwood Hotels (NYSE: HOT). The stock is 3.5% higher on heavier-than-normal volume today.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Jefferies Says CEO-Led Buyout Offer for MacDermid (MRD) Could Start Trend

In a research note today, Jefferies & Co's Specialty Chemicals analyst Laurence Alexander said the CEO-led buyout offer for MacDermid Inc. (NYSE: MRD) could be the start of a trend in the sector. Alexander said, "the MacDermid offer suggests that smaller-cap management teams may view the contraction in sector multiples over the past 18 months as an invitation to buy undervalued assets."

Alexander also commented on consolidation in the sector, saying, among the companies they cover, Airgas (NYSE: ARG), Ashland (NYSE: ASH) and Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) will likely be the most active acquirors in 2007-2008, as they attempt to gain scale, upgrade their portfolios and improve their geographic reach. He said the most likely consolidation targets for strategic acquirors are Cytec Industries Inc. (NYSE: CYT), Hercules Incorporated (NYSE: HPC) and OMNOVA Solutions Inc. (NYSE: OMN).

Others stocks in the sector mentioned in the report were: Albemarle Corp. (NYSE: ALB), Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (NYSE: APD), Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH), Koppers Holdings Inc. (NYSE: KOP), Lubrizol Corp. (NYSE: LZ), Nalco Holding Co. (NYSE: NLC) and Praxair Inc. (NYSE: PX).