Thursday, November 30, 2006

Reports Claire's Stores (CLE) Hires Banker for Possible Sale

According to reports from Bloomberg after the close Thursday, Claire's Stores Inc. (NYSE: CLE) has hired an investment bank to explore a possible sale.


Rumors Kirk Kerkorian dumped the rest of his GM stock

Rumors Kirk Kerkorian dumped the rest of his GM (NYSE: GM) stock. More at 13D Tracker. Link

Labels: , , , (REDF), Sify (SIFY) Takeover Rumors Are Back

The blog is regurgitating old rumors that India Ltd. (Nasdaq: REDF) and Sify Ltd. (Nasdaq: SIFY) could be buyout bait, suggesting they've been increasing lately. The post goes over scenarios from a buyout by Yahoo (Nasdaq: YHOO), Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) and discusses a possible LBO, which they say is less likely. Link

Labels: , , , ,

Apple iPod Phone a Reality?

According to headlines from Bloomberg, Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) applied for patent for a cellphone, iPod combination. The application said they invented the phone, iPod combination. The apllication was filed in August, made public today.


Citigroup Sees Value in CNET (CNET) As a Takeover Target

Citigroup analyst, Mark Mahaney, comments on CNET (Nasdaq: CNET): "We are reiterating our Buy and $11 price target and asserting CNET as our #1 Small Cap Internet stock idea. We believe today's price provides a particularly compelling entry point as we view near-term potential upside (30%) as materially greater than near-term potential downside (12%). We continue to view CNET as an attractive acquisition target, with historic M&A deal multiples implying significant upside (30%+) from today's valuation."


SL Green (SLG) Considers Raising Bid for Reckson (RA), But May Not Top Icahn/Macklowe Offer

Wall Street investors are looking at current filings from SL Green (NYSE: SLG) as a possibility that the company may raise its bid to acquire Reckson (NYSE: RA), but might not match the Icahn/Macklowe bid of $49 per share.

Recently, Carl Icahn and Harry Macklowe offered to acquire Reckson for $49 per share. In addition, Mack-Cali Realty (NYSE: CLI) has reportedly joined the Icahn/Macklowe group in their bid for Reckson.

(SL Green's current offer is: Upon consummation of the merger, each outstanding share of common stock of Reckson will be converted into the right to receive $31.68 in cash, an amount in cash equal to an adjusted prorated dividend and 0.10387 of a share of SL Green common stock without interest and less any required tax withholding, for total merger consideration of $43.31 per share of Reckson common stock, based on the closing price per share of SL Green's common stock of $112.00 on August 2, 2006)

Labels: , , , ,

WR Grace (GRA) Sees Upside Action

WR Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA) is moving higher today (+8%) on heavy volume. The move could be related to asbestos litigation, but we've not seen anything specific. USG Corp (NYSE: USG) (+5%) is another large asbestos-related stock that is moving higher today, but the others are doing little.

Labels: ,

Stifel Nicolaus downgrades Novellus Systems (NVLS) to Sell, Says Sale is Unlikely

Stifel Nicolaus downgrades Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS) from Hold to Sell, following recent speculation of a potential takeout of the company and the appreciation in its stock price.

Analyst Patrick J. Ho said, "while we have no additional insight, we do not see a potential takeout of the company occurring in the near term (although we do not want to discount the possibility of a LBO scenario, but also consider this somewhat unlikely near term). Ho also said, "even if a deal were to occur, we do not believe at current prices that there is any dramatic premium left in terms of valuation, particularly when compared to other recent semi cap deals."


Jefferies Sees Electro-Optical Sciences (MELA) As Takeover Longer Term

Jefferies started coverage on Electro-Optical Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: MELA) today with a Buy rating and said the company's technology makes it a potential acquisition target longer term.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Greenberg/NYT Rumors Appear Over Hyped

Contrary to earlier rumors, A Hank Greenberg's spokesman said Mr. Greenberg has less than 100,00 shares of New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) stock and has no present intention of increasing his stake.

Labels: ,

Semi Stocks Piling Cash May Be Takeover Targets

According to Barron's Tech Trader blog, Prudential said some semiconductor companies are piling up cash on their balance sheets and may find themselves the targets of takeover bids from private equity firms if they don't rationalize their balance sheets. Mentions Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), Linear Technology (Nasdaq: LLTC), Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR) and Maxim Integrated Products (Nasdaq: MXIM) Link

Labels: , , , ,

Merrill Lynch analyst Doesn't See Infineon (IFX) Takeover

According to Barron's Tech Trader blog, Merrill Lynch analyst Andrew Griffin doesn't see a private equity takeover of Infineon (NYSE: IFX). Link

Labels: ,

Citigroup Said a ECI Telecom (ECIL) Takeover is Unlikely, But Says the Stock is Cheap

In a research report this morning on ECI Telecom Ltd (Nasdaq: ECIL), Citigroup said, regarding the Haaretz article suggesting possible purchase of ECI by ADC (Nasdaq: ADCT), takeover is very unlikely. The analyst said CFO Giora Bitan noted that Israeli financial news sources operate by less stringent standards when it comes to publishing.

The firm still said the stock is trading at a very attractive valuation, with $250 million in cash and no debt. The firm said the stock is worth $11 per share using a "very conservative valuation calculation." The firm has a Buy rating on the stock.

Labels: ,

Bear Steans Comments on Takeover Prices of HLT and HOT

Commenting on the possibility of private equity takeovers in the hotel space, Bear Stearns said private equity firms could pay $40 for Hilton Hotels Corp. (NYSE: HLT) and $75 for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. (NYSE: HOT).

Labels: ,

New York Times (NYT) Higher on Report Hank Greenberg Buying Stock

New York Times Co. (NYSE: NYT) is 6% higher on reports from the New York Post, Maurice "Hank" Greenberg, the former Chairman of AIG, has begun buying significant blocks of the stock in an effort to break the Sulzberger family's control of the company.

Labels: ,

Titanium Stocks Higher on Takeover Chatter

Allegheny Technologies Inc. (NYSE: ATI), Titanium Metals Corp. (NYSE: TIE) and RTI International Metals Inc. (NYSE: RTI) are moving higher on takeover chatter. There is is some chatter of a titanium company takeover by Alcan Inc. (NYSE: AL).

Labels: , , ,

Dollar General (DG) Gives Back Yesterdays' Gains As Takeover Speculation Abates

Shares of Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) are 4.5% lower this morning as this morning's restructuring news reduces the probability of a takeover of the company in the near term. Yesterday, an analyst from MergerMarkets on CNBC said a least two private equity firms were aggressively pursuing company. The stock rose 5.2% yesterday on the speculation.

Labels: ,

Banc of America Comments on Louisiana-Pacific (LPX) Takeover Talk

Banc of America commented on Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX) following yesterday's Weyerhaeuser (NYSE: WY) takeover rumors. The firm sees replacement value at $27 and an LBO price about $25, but says an LBO would be tricky. The firm said yesterday's rally was premuture and said the stock may settle back. The firm raised their price target to $24.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

CNBC's Faber Reports on a Competing Bid for Harrah's Entertainment (HET)

CNBC's David Faber reports on a competing bid for Harrah's Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: HET). Faber said a Penn National Gaming Inc. (Nasdaq: PENN) group, including DE Shaw, Lehman Brothers, and Wachovia are looking at a bid for Harrah's. Faber said it is not clear if the Penn group could present a competitive bid.

Currently, Harrah's is evaluating a bid from Apollo Management Group and the Texas Pacific Group, which was last reported to be around $83-$84 per share.

Harrah's is up 1.2% to $77.59 in afternoon action.

Labels: , , , ,

Reports Private Equity Firms Pursuing Dollar General

On CNBC, MergerMarket analyst Josh Kosman said private equity firms Bain Capital and Cerberus Capital are aggressively pursuing Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG). Kosman said it is not clear if Dollar General is talking with the interested parties.

Rumors of a Dollar General buyout surfaced last week.

Dollar General is a Fortune 500 discount retailer with more than 8,000 neighborhood stores. Dollar General stores offer convenience and value to customers by offering consumable basic items that are frequently used and replenished, such as food, snacks, health and beauty aids and cleaning supplies, as well as a selection of basic apparel, housewares and seasonal items.

Labels: , , ,

EMI Group Receives Preliminary Takeover Approach

In a statement today, British music company EMI Group Plc said it received a preliminary approach for the Company which may or may not lead to an offer being made. One newspaper said the deal could be worth $4.8 billion.

Shares of EMI jumped 10% in overseas trading after making the statement on the approach.

The Financial Times reported that private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Goldman Sachs were among the bidders. KKR denied they were involved.

The latest reports suggested that private equity firm Permira made the preliminary approach to EMI.

Earlier in the year, EMI Group Plc and rival Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) backed off offers for each other after a European court ruling overturned regulatory clearance of the Sony Music and BMG merger.

Labels: ,

Analyst Doesn't Sees UMC Buyout

According to Barron's Tech Trader Blog, Merrill Lynch analyst Daniel Heyler doesn't see a buyout of United Microelectronics Corp. (NYSE: UMC) as likely. The Taiwanese contract chip maker has risen recently following a bid for Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc. (NYSE: ASX) from a consortium of investors led by private equity firm The Carlyle Group. Link

Labels: ,

Palm A More Attractive Takeover Target Following Drop?

In a post at SeekingAlpha, Richard Shaw said the decline in Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) related to its Q2 warning and product delay could make it a more attractive takeover target. Link

Shares of Palm are 6.7% lower to $14.34 following yesterday's waring.


Louisiana-Pacific (LPX) Higher on Takeover Rumors

Shares of Louisiana-Pacific Corp. (NYSE: LPX) are higher in early action as rumors of a private equity or strategic takeover bid swirl. The stock is up about 8.5% on heavier-than-normal volume.

Labels: ,

TiVo (TIVO) Continues to Struggle, But Name Recognition Makes it an Eventual Takeover Target - Analyst

On CNBC earlier today, an analyst commented on the struggles of TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO), citing poor subscriber numbers due to hefty competition. But the analyst said the company's name recognition makes it an eventual takeover target for a cable company.


Coca-Cola (KO) Denies Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Buyout Rumors

According to reports from Reuters, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) denied rumors that it plans to buyout its largest bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. (NYSE: CCE). Link

Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell said, "We have no intention to buy CEE."

Earlier in the month, financial publication Barron's reported on the possibility of a merger between the two.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 27, 2006

Cablevision (CVC) option implied volatility is Low as investors wait for better Dolan bid

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) : CVC, a leading entertainment & communications company controlled by the Dolan family, offered to take CVC private for $7.9 billion ($27 a share) on 10/9/06. CVC is recently trading at $27.68. The Dolan family group has said "that its offer is fair to, and in the best interests of the company and its public stockholders." CVC has long term debt of $12.3 billion. CVC January option implied volatility of 16 is at the low end of its 6-month range according to Track Data, suggesting decreasing price fluctuations. Paul Foster


Merrill Lynch's Cohen Comments on Media Consolidation

According to The New York Times Deal Book blog, citing a Reuters article, Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen sees further consolidation in the media sector. Link

Cohen said Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWX) will continue to dominate in the cable market.

Cohen said Verizon (NYSE: VZ) or AT&T (NYSE: T) could buy satellite-TV providers EchoStar (Nasdaq: DISH) or DirectTV (NYSE: DTV), or the two could merge.

Cohen said DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA) is a possible takeover target.

Cohen sees Viacom (NYSE: VIA) and CBS (NYSE: CBS), which split in January, as possible acquirers. She doesn't think either will be taken private as has been rumored.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Could AT&T Throw in the Towel on BellSouth?

According to Barron's Tech Trader Daily blog, today's action in AT&T (NYSE: T) and BellSouth (NYSE: BLS) could be related to speculation AT&T may drop the planned acquisition of BellSouth rather than meet regulatory concessions. Link

Labels: ,

Prudential Comments NMX and ICE Valuation, Takeover Premiums

This morning, Prudential initiated coverage on the recent hot IPO NYMEX Holdings (NYSE: NMX) with an Underweight rating and $112 target. The firm also raised its price target on IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE: ICE) from $100 to $120.

The firm thinks NYMEX has a takeover premium built into the stock, but says the stock is too pricey to attract suitors. On ICE, the firm said they don't feel a takeover premium is reflected in the stock.

The firm wants investors to swap out of NMX into ICE.

Labels: ,

Analyst Says Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) News Could Bring Up Going Private Talk Again

Stifel Nicolaus comments on Affiliated Computer Services (NYSE: ACS) following news that an option investigation determined that prior CEO Jeff Rich, CFO Warren Edwards, and CEO Mark King all engaged in backdating. King and Edwards announced their resignations related to the news.

Analyst George A. Price said, "Last year, private equity pursued ACS to go private, though ultimately the company chose not to pursue that path. With the senior management changes, we believe the question of going private may arise again. Two items to note: 1) Chairman has super voting rights, controlling about 40% of the voting control of the shares (we estimate) " he would have to be open to the idea to go private, and 2) business has changed - the operating margins declined 150-200 bps, capital intensity has increased (more ITO in the mix). ACS might not be as attractive to private equity firms as it was last year (lower price than the $62 price discussed last year)."

The firm maintained their Hold rating on the stock, citing declining margins, low organic revenue growth, and high debt load.

Labels: , ,

Shire Pharmaceutical (SHPGY) implied volatility below average at 27

Shire Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: SHPGY): SHPGY a specialty pharmaceutical company closed at to $59.78. Dow Jones carried a story on 11/16/06 indicating AZN is mulling SHPGY takeover. SHPGY over all option implied volatility of 27 is below its 6-month average of 34 according to Track Data, suggesting decreasing price fluctuations. Paul Foster

Labels: ,

Barron's Discusses LBO Targets

A weekend Barron's article discusses the LBO boom and mentions some potential targets. Link $

According to the article, Morgan Stanley strategist Henry McVey says a $50 billion LBO is possible, suggesting all but the top 60 companies could be targets. Some large companies that could be targets include Gap (NYSE: GPS), Micron Technology (NYSE: MU), Bed Bath and Beyond (Nasdaq: BBBY), Nike (NYSE: NKE), Liz Claiborne (NYSE: LIZ), EMC (NYSE: EMC) and Costco Wholesale (Nasdaq: COST).

The report also says energy takeovers have mainly involved strategic buyers, but that could change. The report mentions Apache (NYSE: APA), Valero Energy (NYSE: VLO), Hess (NYSE: HES) and Transocean (NYSE: RIG) as possible targets.

In the consumer sector Avon Products (NYSE: AVP) has been the subject of takeover rumors. Merrill Lynch places Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and Estйe Lauder (NYSE: EL) on the top of their list of targets.

Homebuilders have been mentioned as LBO targets including KB Home (NYSE: KBH), DR Horton (NYSE: DHI), Lennar (NYSE: LEN), Toll Brothers (NYSE: TOL), MDC (NYSE: MDC) and Hovnanian Enterprises (NYSE: HOV).

In technology, CreditSights says Linear Technology (Nasdaq: LLTC), Maxim Integrated (Nasdaq: MXIM), Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), (Nasdaq: ALTR) and Xilinx (Nasdaq: XLNX) makes their list of buyout targets.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Stifel Nicolaus Sees 75% Probability of SIRI/XMSR Merger ATTEMPT in Next 18 Months

Stifel Nicolaus analyst Kit Spring commented on speculation of a satellite radio merger between XM Satellite Radio Holdings (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI).

Spring said, "Based on History & Risk/Reward We believe the probability of a SIRI/XMSR merger ATTEMPT within the next 18 months (or potentially sooner) is 75%. Our conviction is based mainly on Mel Karmazin's track record and a compelling risk / reward trade off. We have dug through the 10ks and rediscovered that Karmazin-led companies conducted over 20 major M&A transactions, totaling nearly $80B."

Commenting on regulatory approval of such a deal, Spring said, "We believe the probability of an FCC/DOJ merger APPROVAL is 55-60%, with market definition as the key variable."

The firm reiterated their Buy rating on both SIRI and XMSR and raised their price target on XMSR from $16 to $18, with $2 of merger option value.

Labels: ,

SIRI's Karmazin Would Be Interested in XMSR Merger

In a article Friday, the article quoted Sirius (Nasdaq: SIRI) CEO Mel Karmazin as saying that he'd be interested in merger with XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR)

Labels: ,

Soleil Downgrades U.S. Steel (X) After Takeover Rumor Run-Up

Soleil Securities downgrades U.S. Steel (NYSE: X) from Hold to Sell after the stock reached their $75 price target.
Analyst Charles A. Bradford, from Bradford Research, Inc., said, "While a possible breakup value could approach $100 a share, it is our experience that companies do not trade at the breakup value and possible acquirers won't pay full value for a company."


Friday, November 24, 2006

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) Takeover Seems Unlikely - CNBC

CNBC's David Faber said a takeover bid for Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), which recently announced a mega-merger deal with Phelps Dodge Corp. (NYSE: PD), seems unlikely. On Friday rumors swirled BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) or Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RTP) could target the company in a takeover.

Labels: , , ,

Technip (TKP) Higher on Takeover Reports

Shares of French oilfield service company Technip (NYSE: TKP) are higher in this morning on reports from French newspaper La Tribune that Italian oil giant Eni SpA may make a bid for the company. According to the reports, Eni may merge Technip with its Saipem SpA unit.

Another French paper Les Echos reported that Saipem could offer more than 6 billion euro for Technip. A merger between Technip and Saipem would create the world's third largest oilfield-services company, behind Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) and Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB).

Technip said it has not received a takeover approach. Shares of Technip are up 7.3% in early action.

Labels: , , ,

BJ's Wholesale (BJ) implied volatility rose on 11/22/06 after CEO resigns

BJ's Wholesale (NYSE: BJ): BJ, the operator of 165 BJ's clubs, rallied to $32.99 on 11/22/06 after the CEO resigned, igniting take over/LBO chatter. BJ December option implied volatility of 36 is above its 6-month average of 31 according to Track Data, indicating larger price fluctuations. Paul Foster


Allstate (ALL) Mentioned As Takeover Target Again - Chicago Tribune

According to reports from the Chicago Tribune, Allstate (NYSE: ALL) takeover talk is being discussed again for the second time in less than six months. Morgan Stanley published a recent report identifying two dozen cheap stock that could be takeover targets. Nine were financial-services companies.

Besides Allstate, Morgan Stanley's list included Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Citigroup (NYSE: C) and Countrywide Financial (NYSE: CFC).

Last summer, Prudential Equity Group LLC named Allstate to its list of possible targets.

When asked about the possibility of a takeover at the company's May annual meeting, Allstate's CEO Edward Liddy said the company wishes to stay independent. Liddy plans to step down as CEO at the end of 2006. He will be replaced Thomas J. Wilson, who is currently president and chief operating officer. Liddy will remain chairman until his retirement from the company in the spring of 2008.

Labels: , , ,

Reports Boyd Gaming (BYD) Could Be Next Las Vegas Takeover - BusinessWeek

According to BusinessWeek's Inside Wall Street column, Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD) could be the next Las Vegas takeover target, following a recent bid for Harrah's (NYSE: HET) and a takeover of Aztar (NYSE: AZR) earlier this year. Lawrence Haverty of Gabelli Global Multimedia Trust, who identified Harrah's, Aztar, and Tribune (NYSE: TRB) months before they became targets, said Boyd could be next and puts a "private market value" of $70 on the shares.

Labels: , , ,

Sangamo (SGMO) May Be Next Biotech Takeover - BusinessWeek

According to BusinessWeek's Inside Wall Street column, Navdeep Jaikaria, a biotech analyst at Rodman & Renshaw, thinks Sangamo (Nasdaq: SGMO) could be the next biotech takeover following the recent string of deals. The company harnesses a natural cellular process aimed at regulating or modifying disease-related genes in humans and other organisms and already has partnerships with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE), Dow Chemical (NYSE: DOW) and Edwards Lifesciences (NYSE: EW).

Labels: , , ,

Reports Armor Holdings (AH) May Be Lockheed Martin (LMT) Takeover Target - BusinessWeek

According to BusinessWeek's Inside Wall Street column, there is talk Armor Holdings (NYSE: AH) may be acquired by Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), citing Michael Metz, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer. Ivan Feinseth of Matrix USA puts Armor's "economic value" at 75.

Labels: ,

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASX) Receives $5.94/Share Offer from Consortium

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, Inc. (NYSE: ASX) received an indication of interest from a consortium of investors led by The Carlyle Group, regarding a potential offer by the Consortium for all of the outstanding common shares of ASE at a price of NT$39 per share (approximately US$5.94 per ADS).

ASE has been informed that Jason Chang, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ASE, has agreed, subject to certain conditions, to participate as a member of the Consortium and to roll the shares of ASE owned by him and ASE Enterprises Limited, his affiliated holding company, into an equity interest in the holding company formed by the Consortium. Chairman Chang has also entered into an exclusivity agreement with the Consortium. Chairman Chang and ASE Enterprises Limited collectively own approximately 18.4% of the Shares.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Citigroup (C) Denies Rumors CFO is Leaving

According to reports from Reuters, Citigroup (NYSE: C) dismissed rumors CFO Sallie Krawcheck would resign. Earlier, CNBC's Charles Gasparino reported that while Krawcheck was not leaving now, she had been telling people she was unhappy with the job.

Labels: ,

Fund Discusses a Possible Northwest Airlines (NWACQ) / Continental Airline (CAL) Merger

Continental Airline (NYSE: CAL) to merge with Northwest Airlines (OTC: NWACQ)?

In its 13D filing on Northwest Airlines today, 5% Owl Creek Asset Management, which said NWACQ could be worth $19.75-$33.50 per share, said, "US Airways announced that it expects the combination to generate $1,650,000,000 of annual synergies, which is 6.2% of the combined Delta/US Airways passenger sales. Assuming comparable proportional synergies to a Northwest merger with Continental (Continental Airlines is the most logical partner, but this analysis would be equally applicable to another carrier), then the synergies generated by a combination of Continental Airlines with Northwest would be approximately $1,250,000,000annually. Valuing the company at a post-merger multiple of 5.25x EBITDAR including one half of the synergies accruing to Northwest (the other half to the merger partner) results in an implied stock price of $33.50 per share."

More at 13DTracker

Labels: ,

Kerkorian's Tracinda Confirms GM Stock Sale Rumor

As was rumored earlier, Kirk Kerkorian's Tracinda Corporation disclosed they cut their stake in General Motors (NYSE: GM) from 9.9% to 7.4%. More at 13DTracker

Labels: , ,

Dollar General (DG) Higher on Takeover Talk

The move in Dollar General Corp. (NYSE: DG) is being attributed to LBO talk. Stock up 6%


Freeport McMoRan (FCX) option implied volatility Elevated at heavy Upside call Volume

Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) : FCX announced a definite merger agreement to purchase PD on 11/20/06 for $25.9 billion. PRUS says "we assign a one-third likely hood that FCX acquires PD as announced, and a two-thirds likely hood that FCX collects the $750 million break up fee." FCX call option volume of 18,790 contracts compares to put volume of 7,365 contracts, according to Track Data. FCX December option implied volatility of 46 is above its 6-month average of 41 according to Track Data, indicating larger price risks. Paul Foster


Soleil Securities Comments on GDS Industry Consolidation

Soleil Securities analyst Michael Millman, of Millman Research Associates, comments on Sabre Holdings (NYSE: TSG) and industry consolidation.

The analyst said they see the likelihood of GDS (global distribution system) consolidation increasing and expects Travelport to be a consolidator because of its scale and reach.

The firm said the two remaining GDS' will have to merge. The firm said the the pairings will be Galileo (owed by Travelport)/Worldspan (under a great deal of pressure), which will force Amadeus/Sabre.


Deutsche Bank Says $6B in Sears Holdings (SHLD) Value Could Be Unlocked

Sears Holdings Corporation (Nasdaq: SHLD) is higher this morning following a positive research report from Deutsche Bank examining the additional cash that could be generated by securitizing real estate and intellectual property assets.

Analyst William A Dreher said, "We believe there is potentially up to $6.0B in total value that could be unlocked. By leveraging chairman Eddie Lampert’s expertise in investing these proceeds, we see an additional $0.91-$7.88 to our core FY07 EPS estimate (retail only). By adding the incremental per share value to our current PT of $206, we arrive at an implied share price range of $220-$381. Reiterate BUY rating."

Shares of Sears Holdings are 3% higher to $177.50 in early action


BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (BJ) is higher on LBO speculation after CEO resigns

BJ's Wholesale Club Inc. (NYSE: BJ) is higher on LBO speculation after CEO resigns.

Labels: ,

US Steel (X) Option Implied Volatility Elevated on M&A Speculation

US Steel (NYSE: X) : X is recently up .70 to $74.89. SBSH say's "X is up 15% in the past 3 trading days on M&A related speculation. The steel environment is reminiscent of late-05. Acquisitions speculation premature but credible." X December option implied volatility of 48 is above its 6-month average of 42 according to Track Data, suggesting increasing price fluctuations. Paul Foster


Rumors Swirl Acquirer Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) Is Itself a Takeover Target

Rumors are abound that Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX), which recently announced a mega-merger deal with Phelps Dodge Corp. (NYSE: PD), could itself be a takeover target. Rumored suitors include BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) and Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RTP). This rumor was just mentioned on CNBC, but has been mentioned at Reuters, and other sites.

Labels: , , ,

Is Kerkorian Selling GM?

CNBC's David Faber makes note that Tracinda Corp/Kirk Kerkorian had announced a cash tender offer to increase his stake in MGM (NYSE: MGM). However, Faber says the real question is "Is Kerkorian Selling General Motors (NYSE: GM) Stock?", noting the significant drop in share price over the past few days and the 45 day 'quiet period' window which recently expired after Jerome York resigned from the GM board. Kerkorian currentlty has a 10% stake in GM.

Labels: , , ,

WSJ Discusses Next Takeover Targets

The Wall Street Journal's 'Heard on the Street' column discuss who's the next takeover target, following the wave of deals. The article mentions Sprint Nextel (NYSE: S), Hilton Hotels (NYSE: HLT), Lennar (NYSE: LEN), Ryland Group (NYSE: RYL), D.R. Horton (NYSE: DHI), Avis Budget Group (NYSE: CAR) and Nabors Industries (NYSE: NBR) as possible targets. The report also reiterated that private-equity firms are looking at ServiceMaster (NYSE: SVM). Link $

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

First Data (FDC) An LBO Candidate?

In a note on First Data Corp. (NYSE: FDC) today, Janney said they think the company is a better LBO candidate, versus a going concern. The firm thinks the company could be worth $30 per share in an LBO.

Labels: ,

Continental Airlines (CAL) Higher Following Merger Openness

Shares of Continental Airlines Inc. (NYSE: CAL) are higher following a report from Reuters, quoting the CEO in a recorded message, saying the company would consider a merger to stay competitive.

Last week, US Airways Group (NYSE: LCC) made an $8 billion bid for bankrupt rival Delta Air Lines (OTC: DALRQ), sparking talk of more consolidation in the sector.

Shares of Continental Airlines are 3.7% higher to $44.10 in mid-day action.

Labels: , ,

InterDigital (IDCC) Higher on Takeover Speculation

InterDigital Communications Corp. (Nasdaq: IDCC) has been moving higher today on takeover speculation. The stock is up 3.5% in mid-day action.


GOOG for REDF Rumor Makes the Rounds Again

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) for India Ltd. (Nasdaq: REDF) rumor makes the rounds again.

Labels: ,

TD Banknorth Buyout Could Prelude Sovereign Bancorp Takeover

According to the DealScape blog, the buyout of TD Banknorth (NYSE: BNK) by Toronto Dominion Bank yesterday could prelude a buyout of Sovereign Bancorp Inc. (NYSE: SOV) by Banco Santander, as the two Northeast banking rival have a history of coping each others strategies. SOV takeover talk has been picking up recently.

Labels: , ,

Reports IBM in Talks to Buy Verint Systems (VRNT)

According to reports yesterday from Isreal's Globes, sources have informed them that IBM (NYSE: IBM) is in talks to acquire Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT). According to the report, the two have been in talks for some time and a deal is expected to be worth around $1 billion, which is near its current market cap.

Verint, which provides software-based data analysis systems for the business intelligence and security markets, was spun-off from Comverse Technology Inc. (Nasdaq: CMVT) in 2002. Comverse still holds 57% of Verint's stock.

The article said the main link between Verint and IBM is in the surveillance camera sector, which IBM recently entered.

Shares of Verint are fractionally higher today after rising 3.3% on Monday.

Labels: , ,

E*TRADE (ET) Higher on Takeover Speculation Following Charles Schwab's Large Asset Sale

Shares of E*TRADE Financial Corp. (NYSE: ET) are higher for the second straight session as takeover rumors surround the name following yesterday's news that Charles Schwab (Nasdaq: SCHW) sold its U.S. Trust unit to Bank of America for $3.3 billion.

Speculation now centers around what Charles Schwab will do with the funds. According to published reports in the Financial Times, Fox-Pitt Kelton analyst David Trone suggested E*TRADE could be a good fit for Schwab. A buyback could be another alternative.

Shares of E*TRADE are up 1.9% today after rising 4.2% Monday.

Others stocks in the online brokerage sector that could see increased takeover speculation include optionsXpress Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: OXPS), TD AMERITRADE Holding Corporation (Nasdaq: AMTD) and TradeStation Group Inc. (Nasdaq: TRAD).

Labels: , , , ,

Citigroup Analysts Comments on Novellus Systems Takeover Rumors

Citigroup analyst, Timothy Arcuri, makes comments on Novellus Systems (Nasdaq: NVLS): "NVLS traded up approx. 8% today as our checks suggest a growing view among buyside investors that NVLS is a potential M&A target - either for private equity or a larger competitor. Recent cancellation of attendance at two conferences (LEH and CS) has fueled this view."

"While our analysis of financial and strategic fits indicates TEL (#2 equipment supplier) as a plausible consolidator in a competitive takeover, we view a TEL/NVLS deal as being unlikely given cross-border M&A has historically proven difficult + TEL's success at integrating acquisitions in the past is mixed.

With respect to private equity interest, our work (in conjunction w/ input from Citi's risk arb team) indicates a NVLS deal under typical debt/equity assumptions and a ~25% equity premium would drive only ~11% IRR, or well below the typical 20-30% hurdle rate for PE deals - even in this environment."

Labels: , ,

Apple (APPL) Higher on iPhone Rumors

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) shares are trading higher in pre-market after rumors the iPhone may be close to launch (beginning of 2007).

Last night, CNNmoney reported Broadcom (Nasdaq: BRCM) is expected to supply chips to the iPhone, which was relayed by UBS analysts.

Labels: ,

Cramer Said Reliance Steel (RS) Is The Next Takeover in the Sector

On Mad Money yesterday, Jim Cramer said Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. (NYSE: RS) could be the next steel company to be taken over. Cramer said the smaller steel companies should be taken over by the larger ones, except Nucor (NYSE: NUE), which he said is too well run to be taken over.

Labels: ,

Monday, November 20, 2006

CreditSights Looks At Semi LBO Targets

According to Barron's Tech Trader blog, CreditSights provided an analysis of potential LBO targets in the semiconductor sector. The firm names: Analog Devices (NYSE: ADI), Linear Technologies (Nasdaq: LLTC), Maxim Integrated Products (Nasdaq: MXIM), Altera (Nasdaq: ALTR), Xilinix (Nasdaq: XLNX), Infineon (NYSE: IFX) and ST Microelectronics (NYSE: STM).

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Steel Sector Sees Flurry of Activity on M&A

A lot of steel names are higher today following Russian steel maker Evraz Group's deal to buy Oregon Steel Mills (NYSE: OS). The buyout also comes on the heels of reports Friday that Russia's biggest steelmaker OAO Severstal wants to buy U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X). The buyout activity in the sector has been heavy for some time.

Other steel names: Nucor (NYSE: NUE), AK Steel (NYSE: AKS), Allegheny Tech (NYSE: ATI), Carpenter Technology (NYSE: CRS), Steel Dynamics (Nasdaq: STLD), Chaparral Steel (Nasdaq: CHAP), Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (NYSE: SID), IPSCO Inc. (NYSE: IPS), Mittal Steel (NYSE: MT), Reliance Steel & Aluminum (NYSE: RS).

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) Higher Following Barron's Takeover Report

Coca-Cola Enterprises (NYSE: CCE) is higher today following a weekend Barron's article which said there is talk on Wall Street, Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO) could buy out the large bottler. According to Morgan Stanley analyst Pecoriello, Coke could pay about $27 per share to gain control of the company (Coke currently owns about 36% of the company).

The report also said deal or no deal, Coca-Cola Enterprises looks reasonably priced - trading at 16x projected 2006 earnings versus a 17 multiple for rival Pepsi Bottling Group (NYSE: PBG).

Shares of Coca-Cola Enterprises are 4% to $21.04 in afternoon action.

Labels: , ,

Nabors Industries (NBR) Volatile on Takeover Talk

Nabors Industries Ltd. (NYSE: NBR) jammed over 8% higher mid-day on rumors the company is a takeover target. The stock has quickly given back most of the gains after Bloomberg ran a headline saying company spokesman Smith says there is 'no substance' to the takeover rumors.


Ameristar Casinos (ASCA) Higher on Takeover Speculation Following CEO's Sudden Death

Ameristar Casinos Inc. (Nasdaq: ASCA) is higher today on takeover speculation following the sudden death of Chairman and Chief Executive Craig H. Neilsen.

Neilsen owns a majority 55% position in the company. His shares will be transferred to his private foundation, The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, which is primarily focused on spinal cord injury research and treatment.

John M. Boushy, President of the Company, was elected to succeed Craig Neilsen as Chief Executive Officer, and Ray Neilsen and Mr. Kanofsky were elected to the Board as Co-Chairmen.

Keybanc which upgraded the stock to Buy this morning said, "Ameristar immediately becomes a possible takeover candidate."

Shares of Ameristar Casinos are 11.5% higher to $28.60 in mid-day action Monday.


Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) Higher On Takeover Chatter

Intuitive Surgical Inc. (Nasdaq: ISRG) is seeing interst this morning on takeover chatter. According to the chatter, the company turned down an offer.


Stifel Nicolaus Says Others Bidders for Phelps Dodge (PD) "May be Discouraged by the 33% Premium"

Commenting on Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX) deal to buy Phelps Dodge (NYSE: PD) for $25.9 billion, Stifel Nicolaus analyst Paul Forward said, "Other bidders considering a run at PD may be discouraged by the 33% premium proposed by FCX, as well as the advantage that a fellow U.S. firm would appear to have over a foreign firm in acquiring the largest U.S. producer of copper, a strategically important metal."

Labels: ,

ACOR a Takeover Target?

Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOR) is seeing momentum this morning (+4%), continuing a 3 day sprint from the mid-$14 level. The move is being attributed to takeover speculation, short covering and the addition to Nasdaq Biotech Index.

Recently rumors surfaced Elan Corp. (NYSE: ELN) could be a buyer for the company, although the probability of such a deal appears low.

Labels: ,

London Stock Exchange Rejects Nasdaq's Offer

The Board of London Stock Exchange Group plc rejects Nasdaq's (Nasdaq: NDAQ) final offer to acquire the Company for 1243p per share in cash. The Board firmly believes that the proposal, which represents only a 2 per cent premium to the market price at the close of business on 17 November 2006, substantially undervalues the Company and fails to reflect its unique strategic position andthe powerful earnings and operational momentum of the business.

Labels: ,

Yahoo!'s (YHOO) Newspaper Deal Kills YHOO for MNST Speculation

Yahoo!'s (Nasdaq: YHOO) HotJobs deal with 7 newspaper groups this morning may kill the recent speculation that Yahoo! would buy Monster Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: MNST).

Labels: ,

Merger Monday

Merger Monday:

- Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. (NYSE: FCX) and Phelps Dodge Corporation (NYSE: PD) have signed a definitive merger agreement under which FCX will acquire Phelps Dodge for approximately $25.9 billion in cash and stock, creating the world's largest publicly traded copper company.

- Equity Office Properties Trust (NYSE: EOP) announced that it has signed a definitive merger agreement to be acquired by Blackstone Real Estate Partners, an affiliate of The Blackstone Group, in a transaction valued at approximately $36 billion.

- Evraz Group S.A. and Oregon Steel Mills (NYSE: OS) announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Evraz will acquire Oregon Steel for $63.25 per share, or an aggregate price of approximately $2.3 billion. NOTE: Watch other steel names X, AKS

- Actelion Ltd announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CoTherix, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTRX) for $13.50 per share. NOTE: More biotech M&A

- The Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. (Nasdaq: NDAQ) made an offer to buy the rest of the London Stock Exchange PLC. The Ordinary Offer is in cash at 1,243 pence per LSE Ordinary Share, valuing the entire issued ordinary share capital of LSE at approximately GBP 2.7 billion and represents an enterprise value of approximately GBP 2.9 billion.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Reports Bank of America (BAC) to Acquire Charles Schwab's U.S. Trust Unit for $3.3B

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) plans to purchase U.S. Trust, the private-banking arm of Charles Schwab Corp (Nasdaq: SCHW), for $3.3 billion. According to the paper, the purchase would create a new leader in lucrative business of managing rich people's money, which has long been dominated by JP Morgan (NYSE: JPM) and Citigroup (NYSE: C).

Labels: , , ,

Friday, November 17, 2006

Analyst Sees Takeover Value in Marvell

Amtech says Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL) has value as an acquisition or private equity candidate and could be worth $23-$25 per share, at 25x 2008 earnings. The firm still sees risk from the options probe, which could force out some key management members.

Labels: ,

Interview Puts BB&T (BBT) in Play

Reports from, BB&T (NYSE: BBT) CEO said in a recent Bloomberg interview that the company would consider a merger of equals. The CEO said the company tried to initiate a merger with Regions Financial (NYSE: RF) but they couldn't make the price work, leaving Regions to buy AmSouth for $10.2 billion in May.

Punk Ziegel analyst Richard X. Bove said the interview makes the acquisition of BB&T "far more likely."

Labels: ,

Citadel Denies Rumors of Trouble

According to Wall Street Journal's MarketBeat blog, hedge fund Citadel Investment Group denied rumors it had made some bad bets in energy and was looking at hefty losses.

A spokesman for Citadel said, "We are aware of the rumors. They are completely unfounded."

Earlier today, rumors that a large US hedge fund was in trouble sweep through the financial markets.


FTD Group (FTD) Takeover Bait?

Yesterday, Reuters reported that FTD Group (NYSE: FTD) hired Goldman Sachs to explore a possible sale. The flower delivery service is majority owned by private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, which took the company public only 19 months ago. The stock is flat today after rising 5% yesterday.

Labels: ,

Hedge Fund Loss Rumors Make the Rounds

Rumors a large US hedge fund has suffered losses this month is putting pressure on the dollar. According to reports at, Brian Dolan, director of research at, said the speculation centers on Citadel Investment Group.


InterContinental (ICE) Higher After Word NYMEX "Won't rule out merger with ICE"

Shares of InterContinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE) have popped higher on reports from Dow Jones news wire NYMEX's (NYSE: NMX) Schaeffer said, "Won't rule out merger with ICE."

NMX has surged today following its IPO debut on the NYSE. NMX is trading at $138 after pricing at $59.

Labels: ,

Foot Locker (FL) Said Sale Rumors are Untrue

At a conference call, Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE: FL) CEO Matthew D. Serra stated, "The continued rumors in the press regarding Foot Locker being involved in discussions of a potential sale of the Company are not true. There are no discussions taking place, nor have there been."
The company said several months ago they hired Evercore Partners The Parthenon Group, and said "Based on our assessment of their work, we continue to be confident about our business and our ability to generate long-term shareholder value by executing our strategic plan."


Reports Russian Severstal Looking to Get Bigger to Buy U.S. Steel (X)

According to reports from Bloomberg, citing Russian daily Kommersant, Russia's biggest steelmaker OAO Severstal is in talks to merge with local iron miners to create a $20 billion company that could bid for U.S. Steel Corp. (NYSE: X).

According to the reports, Severstal is considering a merger with ZAO Gazmetall and ZAO Metalloinvest, controlled by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, which would create a company with enough muscle to buy U.S. Steel.


Oppenheimer Said Outright Tekelec (TKLC) Sale More Likely

Oppenheimer said an outright sale of Tekelec (Nasdaq: TKLC), not just the Switching Soulutions Group, appears more likely .


Prudential Mistaken on National City (NCC) Takeover

This morning, Prudential downgraded National City (NYSE: NCC) to Underweight. One of the reasons the firm cited was their mistaken belief that the company was ripe for a takeover.


Deutsche Bank Doesn't See Imminent Deal for BOBJ or COGN

Deutsche Bank downgraded Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ) and Cognos (Nasdaq: COGN) today. Both stock have been the subject of takeover speculation in the business intelligence (BI) space. Deutsche Bank said the stocks trade with a takeover premium, but they don't see an imminent deal

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Gone Thursday

I will be out of the office on Thursday 11/16 and won't be able to post. I hope everyone is enjoying the blog.

Hedge Funds After Yahoo!?

There is some speculation going around that hedge funds may be targeting Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) and may be looking for changes, including the head of CEO Terry S. Semel. Link .

Where is Carl Icahn when you need him?

Labels: ,

Suntrust Doesn't See Imminent Deal for Cognos

Suntrust comments on recent M&A speculation in the business intelligence (BI) space, which has centered around Cognos Inc. (Nasdaq: COGN), Hyperion Solutions Corp. (Nasdaq: HYSL), and Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ) as takeover targets.

The firm said the most interesting talk going around is that IBM is ready to buy Cognos. The firm doesn't see an imminent deal for Cognos.

IBM (NYSE: IBM), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) or SAP (NYSE: SAP) are said to be buyers in the space.

Labels: , , , , ,

UPDATE; Delta (DALRQ) CEO Plans to Emerge From Bankruptcy As a Stand-Alone Carrier

UPDATE 2: Delta Air Lines' (OTC: DALRQ) CEO Gerald Grinstein responded to U.S. Airways' (NYSE: LCC) proposed merger.

He said, "We received a letter from U.S. Airways this morning and will of course review it. Delta's plan has always been to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of 2007 as a strong, stand-alone carrier. Our plan is working and we are proud of the progress Delta people are making to achieve this objective.

He also said, "The Bankruptcy Court has granted Delta the exclusive right to create the plan of reorganization until Feb. 15, 2007. We will continue to move aggressively towards that goal."

Labels: ,

Delta Air Lines (DALRQ) Issues First Response to Merger Offer From US Airways (LCC)

*UPDATE: Delta Air Lines Inc. (OTC: DALRQ) issues a first response in regards to the merger offer from US Airways (NYSE: LCC). Delta says the first priority is to emerge from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company. However, the response also hinted that the company would be open to all bids.

Labels: ,

Merrill Lynch Doesn't See FL LBO

Merrill Lynch upgrades Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) from Neutral to Buy. The firm said it doesn't see an LBO, but sees significantly improvement in cash flows.

Labels: ,

ServiceMaster (SVM) Attracting Buyout Interest - WSJ

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, ServiceMaster (NYSE: SVM) is attracting the interest of private equity firms. Some suggest that a management-led buyout is another possibility.

According to the paper, the company's cash flows are especially attractive to buyout firms, but the company's religious-based culture could make some buyout firms uncomfortable.

ServiceMaster currently serves residential and commercial customers through a network of over 5,500 company-owned locations and franchised licenses. The Company's brands include TruGreen ChemLawn, TruGreen LandCare, Terminix, American Home Shield, InStar Services Group, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic, and AmeriSpec.

Labels: , ,

US Airways (LCC) Proposes $8B Merger with Delta Air Lines

US Airways Group, Inc. (NYSE: LCC) made a merger proposal to Delta Air Lines, Inc. (OTC: DALRQ) under which both companies would combine upon Delta's emergence from bankruptcy. The proposal would provide approximately $8.0 billion of value in cash and stock to Delta's unsecured creditors. Delta creditors would receive $4.0 billion in cash and 78.5 million shares of US Airways stock with an aggregate value of approximately $4.0 billion based on the closing price of US Airways' stock as of Nov. 14, 2006.

US Airways believes that the combination will generate at least $1.65 billion in annual synergies, including $935 million in network synergies, predominantly from optimization of the airlines' complementary networks, including rationalization of network overlap, which will result in a 10 percent reduction of the combined airlines' capacity, reducing unprofitable flying and improving the mix of traffic. In addition, $710 million in net cost synergies will be achieved by combining facilities in overlap airports and eliminating redundant systems and overhead. Significantly, the opportunity to generate more than half of these synergies could be lost if a merger is delayed until after Delta emerges from bankruptcy. The merger is expected to be accretive to US Airways' earnings in the first full year after completion of the merger.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Motorola Agrees to Buy Netopia (NTPA), But Competing Bid Could Emerge

This morning, Motorola, Inc. (NYSE: MOT) announced a deal to acquire Netopia, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTPA) for $7 per share, a healthy premium to yesterday's $5.59 close. But, according to a post at Barron's Tech Trader blog, ThinkEquity analyst Anton Wahlman thinks the price may be too low. Wahlman doesn't rule out the possibility of a competing bid.

Labels: ,

OmniVision (OVTI) Up on Takeover Talk

Takeover rumors driving OmniVision Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: OVTI) higher today.


Pier 1 Imports (PIR) Comments on Unusual Trading Activity to NYSE


Pier 1 Imports, Inc. (NYSE: PIR) was notified today by the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) of unusual trading activity in the Company's stock. The NYSE has asked the Company to respond by press release to the unusual activity. The Company's policy is not to comment on market rumors or speculation including unusual market activity.

*NOTE - Earlier, According to reports from Reuters, Danish retail magnate and 9.8% holder Jakup a Dul Jacobsen is preparing to make a bid for Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR). Previously, Pier 1 provided confidential financial data to Jacobsen and several other parties to consider a possible transaction.

Labels: ,

Rumors Move Monster Worldwide (MNST) Higher

A CNBC commentator says Monster Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: MNST) is higher today on renewed speculation Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO) could buy the company.

Labels: ,

Reports Jakup Jacobsen Preparing to Bid for Pier 1 Imports (PIR)

According to reports from Reuters, Danish retail magnate and 9.8% holder Jakup a Dul Jacobsen is preparing make a bid for Pier 1 Imports Inc. (NYSE: PIR).

Previously, Pier 1 provided confidential financial data to Jacobsen and several other parties to consider a possible transaction.

In early October, Pier 1 said to date it has received one preliminary indication of interest, but the entity submitting that indication of interest subsequently advised Pier 1 it would not continue further discussions with Pier 1 regarding a possible transaction. Pier 1 said it couldn't make a prediction if a deal will be reached with the remaining entities.

Labels: ,

Briggs & Stratton (BGG) Higher on LBO Chatter

Briggs & Stratton Corp. (NYSE: BGG) is seeing some interest today on LBO chatter

Labels: , ,

First Analysis Securities Comments on Nice Systems (NICE)/Witness Systems (WITS) Merger Speculation

In a recent research report, First Analysis Securities commented on recent reports that Nice Systems (Nasdaq: NICE) is in talks to buy Witness Systems (Nasdaq: WITS) for approximately $750 million.

The firm said on paper, a merger between Nice and Witness would be highly accretive, to the tune of $0.15-$0.35 per share, even under the assumption that Nice acquires Witness for $23-$25 per share.

The firm also said a merger would stop the price battles between the two companies and create a powerhouse for call center quality monitoring. The firm said the differing cultures would be the biggest hurdle. The firm said uncertainty is too high for them to recommend either stock.

Labels: ,

CNBC's Faber Said CCU Bidders Have Come in at About The Same Price

CNBC's David Faber said the two private equity groups looking to buy Clear Channel Communications Inc. (NYSE: CCU) have come at about the same price. He said while he doesn't have the number, it could be around $36.


Renewed Sovereign Bancorp (SOV) Takeover Speculation Drives Option Activity

According to reports from Reuters, Sovereign Bancorp (NYSE: SOV) saw increased options activity yesterday on renewed buyout talk. The report said takeover speculation surrounding the stock has picked up recently following the resignation of Chief Executive Officer and President Jay S. Sidhu, after pressure from the board and shareholders.

Large 24.9% holder Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano SA (NYSE: STD) has been considered a likely suitor for the remaining shares of the company, but some investors don't think a deal is imminent.

Sovereign Bancorp is an $89 billion financial institution with nearly 800 community banking offices, over 2,000 ATMs and approximately 12,000 team members with principal markets in the Northeast United States.

Labels: ,

Timberland (TBL) Exploring a Possible Sale - WSJ

According to reports from the Wall Street Journal, Timberland (NYSE: TBL) is exploring a possible sale. The company has hired Goldman Sachs to assist in the process. According to the paper, the company is active with private-equity firms but a deal is still some time away.

Timberland is a global leader in the design, engineering and marketing of premium-quality footwear, apparel and accessories. Timberland markets products under the Timberland(R), Timberland PRO(R) Series, SmartWool(R), Timberland Boot Company(TM), Mion(TM) and GoLite(R) brands.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 13, 2006

Cramer Comments on Buyout Targets

According to a post at 24/7 Wall St, on CNBC's 'Stop Trading' segment today, Jim Cramer said private equity buyers could eye Cumulus Media (Nasdaq: CMLS). In fast food, Cramer said Jack in the Box (NYSE: JBX) and Sonic (Nasdaq: SONC) could be targets. In retail, Cramer said TJX Corp (NYSE: TJX) and Limited (NYSE: LTD) could be targets.

Labels: , , , , ,

RBC Said Mellon Bank Is Looking to Make Acquisitions

Mellon Bank (NYSE: MEL) : MEL is holding an analyst meeting today. RBCM say's "investors should look for MEL to make acquisitions, especially in the asset management business and outside the US market, in our opinion. We want to own the stock: We believe investors should own MEL stock but we are looking for a better entry point, preferably below $35." MEL over all option implied volatility of 18 is near its 6-month average according to Track Data, suggesting standard deviation price fluctuations. Paul Foster


DealScape Comments on Lampert Speculation

DealScape blog comments on the rampant speculation related to hedge fund guru and Chairman of Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD) Eddie Lampert's next move. The blog notes recent speculation that Lampert could buy Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY), Gap (NYSE: GPS), Home Depot (NYSE: HD) or Anheuser-Busch (NYSE: BUD).

The blog said a deal with BUD or SWY are the most absurd. The blog said GPS or HD are far better options.

Commenting on their own list of possible alternative targets for Lampert, the blog said Foot Locker (NYSE: FL) and Pier 1 (NYSE: PIR) would be the ones to watch.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Takeover Chatter On Source Interlink (SORC) Following Founder Resignation

Analysts are talking about a buyout of Source Interlink Companies Inc. (Nasdaq: SORC) again following the abrupt resignation of founder/Chairman/CEO S. Leslie Flegel. In July, the Wall Street Journal reported that private equity buyers were looking at the company. Shares of SORC are off significantly since then.


Genesis Microchip (GNSS) Takeover Talk Resurfaces

Hearing resurfaced takeover chatter on Genesis Microchip Inc. (Nasdaq: GNSS). In the past STMicroelectronics NV (NYSE: STM) and Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) were mentioned as possible suitors for the company.

Labels: , ,

Reports Sprint Nextel (S) Drawing Private Equity Interest

Reports from ($), Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE: S) is talking with private equity firms about a possible LBO. But, according to the report, the size of the deal could prohibit it from actually happening.

The report said another carrier Alltel (NYSE: AT) is also drawing private equity attention, although it trades at a significantly higher multiple than Sprint.

Last week, rumors swirled Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) could buy Sprint. The rumors followed Comcast's recent moves showing its wireless ambitions.

Rumors Bank of America (BAC) Could Buy KeyCorp (KEY)

According to reports Friday from Reuters, citing Punk, Ziegel analyst Richard Bove, Bank of America Corp. (NYSE: BAC) may consider making an acquisition in the Midwest, and KeyCorp (NYSE: KEY) is considered a possible target.

According to the report, the analyst said BofA can acquire another $54 billion in deposits before reaching the 10% US bank deposit ceiling.

UAL Higher on Going Private Report

UAL Corp. (Nasdaq: UAUA) is higher this morning on reports being attributed to the Chicago Tribune that the company could be taken private.

Palm (PALM) To Position Itself for a Sale?

With Motorola's (NYSE: MOT) recent deal to buy Good Technology, some are speculating Palm, Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM) may move to sell the company.

Takeover rumors are nothing new to Palm but, with what is being perceived as negative news, a major premium may not be in the cards.

ISIS Pharmaceuticals (ISIS) CEO Says Not for Sale

On CNBC this morning, when asked about a rumors of a takeover, ISIS Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS) CEO said they are not for sale at this price. NOTE: Stock up 38% pre-open after blockbuster news on cholesterol lowering drug.

Latest on Tribne Auction

More on the Tribune Co. (NYSE: TRB) auction. The Wall Street Journal reports the company is drawing interest from Gannett (NYSE: GCI) Link $ The New York Times reports former AIG (NYSE: AIG) chairman, Hank Greenberg, is the latest to express interest in Tribune. Link

Friday, November 10, 2006

Unlike Citigroup, UBS Doesn't See Comcast Buying Sprint

Contrary to what the Citigroup analyst said in a note today, UBS doesn't see Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) buying Sprint (NYSE: S) over the near-term. According to a post at Barron's Tech Trader blog, the UBS analyst said Comcast's move into wireless will be in a evolutionary way, rather than a revolutionary one. Link

Rodman & Renshaw Bullish on Bioenvision (BIVN), Says Stock Does Not Reflect Clofarabine or Buyout

Rodman & Renshaw reiterated its positive stance on Bioenvision (Nasdaq: BIVN) in a research note titled: FISCAL 1Q07 UPDATE - BIG PHARMA/BIOTECH ON A BUYING SPREE - WHO'S NEXT?

Analyst Reni J. Benjamin said, "We are reiterating our Market Outperform / Speculative Risk rating and our 12-month target price of $12. With clofarabine on the market for pediatric ALL, a potential European filing in AML by year end, significant news flow highlighting strong clinical efficacy at upcoming conferences, and the initiation of a broad clinical program targeting large unmet needs, we believe the company’s current market valuation does not reflect the potential of clofarabine or the potential of the company as an acquisition target."

Note: Yesterday, Genentech (NYSE: DNA) announced a deal to buy Tanox Inc. (Nasdaq: TNOX) for $20 per share, a 46% premium to today's closing price. Another recent notable deal was Merck's (NYSE: MRK) deal to buy Sirna Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: RNAI), at a 100% premium.

Bids For Six Flags Parks Coming In Low

Bloomberg reports bids for some Six Flags Inc. (NYSE: SIX) theme parks may be disappointing. The report said bids are coming in at $650M or lower. Analysts said the company may need $800M to sufficiently lower debt ratios. Link

More XMSR/SIRI Merger Rumors, AAPL's Name Thrown In Again

Another stock rumor blog discussed the resurfaced rumors that XM (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. (Nasdaq: SIRI) could merge. Also says Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) could be interested in buying one or the other, more likely XM. This is also resurfaced. Link

Reports Strategic Buyers May Be Eyeing 3Com (COMS)/ Huawei Joint Venture

According to reports from, strategic buyers are looking at the 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) and Huawei Technologies joint venture, H-3C.

According to the report, potential bidders may now include equipment vendors like Juniper Networks, Inc (Nasdaq: JNPR) and Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT). In the past, it was reported that private equity firms Texas Pacific Group, Bain Capital and Silver Lake Partners were interested in the assets.

The report said interest from the equipment vendors is a new development that could lead to a bidding war. The equipment companies interest in the assets stem from their desire to combat market leader Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO). Bids for the joint venture could range from $1-$2 billion. Link

CNET Blog Mentions Check Point Software (CHKP) As Possible Buyout Target

CNet's 'Corporate Security' blog calls Check Point Software (Nasdaq: CHKP) a possible takeover target. Blog writer Jon Oltsik said the market is penalizing Check Point for its low growth and basically ignoring the fact that the company is a cash cow. He said, "With a market cap of around $5 billion, Check Point is an absolute steal. Granted an acquirer like HP (NYSE: HPQ), IBM (NYSE: IBM) or Symantec (Nasdaq: SYMC) would alter Check Point's business model and thus lower profitability, but it would also buy a leading security brand, a loyal installed base, some of the smartest security brains in the world, and a cash-generating machine at a tremendous discount." Link

JB Hunt Transport (JBHT) Sees Upside Interest on Chatter

JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. (Nasdaq: JBHT) is seeing some interest this morning on rumors the company could be a takeover target. The stock is 2.5% higher on volume that is tracking a little ahead of the norm.

Amtech Sees Takeover in Business Intelligence: BOBJ, COGN, HYSL

Amtech said rumored $42 takeover price for Business Objects (Nasdaq: BOBJ) makes sense. Thinks at least one of the existing business intelligence vendors will be acquired shortly: BOBJ, Cognos Inc. (Nasdaq: COGN) or Hyperion Solutions Corp. (Nasdaq: HYSL). Buyers could be IBM (NYSE: IBM), Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) or SAP (NYSE: SAP).

CAH for BEC Rumor

Rumor Cardinal Health (NYSE: CAH) could acquire Beckman Coulter (NYSE: BEC)

Calyon Says SUG Could Be Break-Up or Sell Over Time

Calyon Securities said before the end of the decade, Southern Union (NYSE: SUG) is a likely candidate for either break-up or acquisition.

Citigroup Says Comcast Could Be Acquisitive, Could Acquire Sprint

Citigroup analyst, Michael Rollins, comments on Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSK): "Comcast Could Be Acquisitive --- Its wireless ambitions may transcend collaboration, as it may acquire a firm outright, and we assess a 40% probability that Comcast acquires a wireless firm over the next 12 months. Sprint (NYSE: S) is a likely target --- T-Mobile is a possible target, but Sprint is more likely given its WiMax spectrum, IP backbone, and small business sales force."

Fitch Says CVG, CA or DELL Are Best LBO Targets in Tech

Fitch Rating Service says Convergys (NYSE: CVG) or CA (NYSE: CA) could be LBO targets. Also says Dell (Nasdaq: DELL) could be a target. Fitch concluded that the majority of technology companies are not attractive LBO candidates because financial flexibility would be insufficient to support significant incremental debt. Link to Article in SeekingAlpha

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Biotech Could See More M&A Speculation Following DNA/TNOX Deal

We could see renewed M&A speculation in the biotech sector tomorrow following Genentech's (NYSE: DNA) deal to buy Tanox Inc. (Nasdaq: TNOX) for $20 per share, a 46% premium to today's closing price.

Station Casinos (STN) Up Again on Takeover Speculation

Station Casinos (NYSE: STN) up again on takeover speculation. Yesterday the stock closed up nearly 8% on the talk. Speculation follows recent private equity offer to acquire Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE: HET).

Rumor Sears Holdings (SHLD) for Safeway (SWY)

Shares of Safeway Inc. (NYSE: SWY) are slilghtly higher today following reports from the Chicago Sun-Times, Sears Holdings (Nasdaq: SHLD) and its billionaire Chairman Eddie Lampert may be eyeing the company for a possible buyout.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Lexmark (LXK) Higher on Lenovo Takeover Rumor

Printer maker Lexmark International Inc. (NYSE: LXK) is moving higher mid-day on rumors China PC-Maker Lenovo may target the company in a buyout as it seeks to build a major printer business. Reports originaly surfaced at, which cited comments from analysts. Link

Lexmark currently manufactures Lenovo-branded, according to the report.

Shares of Lexmark are 3.8% on heavier than normal volume in mid-day action Wednesday.

UPDATE: 2:20PM ET: Lexmark comes off highs. Hearing sell-side firm saying they don't think Lenovo will buy the company.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Stifel Nicolaus Says a XMSR/SIRI Merger is "A Scenario Which We See As Increasingly Likely"

Stifel Nicolaus comments on XM Satellite Radio Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: XMSR), maintaining their Buy rating and $16 price target, citing significant upside potential in merger scenario.

Analyst Kit Spring said, "Despite the fact we have reset our terminal 2011 EBITDA down by about 12%, we are maintaining our target by rolling the target year forward to 2007. Our $16 is based on a 4-year DCF which assumes 17MM subscribers, a 9x multiple of EBITDA, $435 EV per sub, discounted at a 10.5% WACC. An easier way to derive our target is: $930MM of free cash flow in 2011, or $2.58 per share, times a 10x multiple (looks conservative to us) equals a $26 stock price, which would equal $16 discounted back to year-end 2007 at a 13% equity discount rate. We see significant upside potential to our target if SIRI (Nasdaq: SIRI) makes a merger bid for XMSR, a scenario which we see as increasingly likely."