Wall Street Breakfast: Must-Know News

by: Rachael Granby
Rachael Granby
Seeking Alpha's flagship daily business news summary, gives you a rapid overview of the day's key financial news. It is published before 7:00 AM ET every market day and delivered to over 900,000 email subscribers.

  • Sanofi, Genzyme finally ink deal. After months of wrangling, Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY) and Genzyme (GENZ) finally reached a deal, with the French drugmaker paying $74/share in cash for Genzyme. Sanofi also agreed on a contingent value right in which Genzyme shareholders will receive as much as $14/share depending on the performance of Genzyme’s experimental multiple-sclerosis drug Lemtrada and production levels of two of the company’s other products. The deal, the second-largest in biotech history, is worth at least $20.1B, and will help Sanofi offset revenue losses from the upcoming patent loss on some of its key products. Premarket: SNY +1.4%, GENZ +0.9% to $75 (7:00 ET).
  • Peltz moves on Family Dollar. Trian Capital, Nelson Peltz' hedge fund, offered to take Family Dollar Stores (NYSE:FDO) private for $55-60 per share in cash, valuing the company at as much as $7.6B. Trian already owns an 8% stake in the discount retailer, and offered Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine, who owns a slightly larger stake than Trian, the opportunity to participate in the buyout. The bid marks at least a 25% premium to Family Dollar's closing price yesterday. In after-hours trading, FDO +25.9% to $55.35. The news also lifted shares of other discounters in AH trading: Dollar General (NYSE:DG) +7.4%, Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) +5.5%, 99 Cents (NYSE:NDN) +4.7%, Fred's (NASDAQ:FRED) +4.5%, Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) +2.3%.
  • Besieged St. Joe adopts shareholder plan. Real estate firm St. Joe (NYSE:JOE) adopted a shareholder rights plan late yesterday, just one day after Bruce Berkowitz, its largest shareholder, quit the company's board. The plan is meant to "reduce the likelihood that any person or group would gain control of the Company by open market accumulation or other coercive takeover tactics without paying a control premium for all shares." Hours after the rights plan was announced, Berkowitz's Fairholme Fund said it would begin a shareholder process to replace St. Joe's existing board.
  • Madoff: Banks knew about fraud. In his first interview since being arrested in December 2008, disgraced financier Bernie Madoff said certain banks and hedge funds were 'complicit' in his elaborate Ponzi scheme, a reversal from earlier claims that he was the only person involved. Madoff declined to name specific institutions that may have known something was amiss, but spoke repeatedly of systemic 'willful blindness' and an attitude that suggested "If you’re doing something wrong, we don’t want to know."
  • Borders to tap bankruptcy loan. Borders (BGP) is reportedly seeking a $450M debtor-in-possession loan in order to keep its bookshelves stocked during a bankruptcy that appears inevitable. The company is expected to file for Chapter 11 by the end of the month, and GE (NYSE:GE) is apparently preparing the DIP loan. **Update, 7:15 ET: Borders files for bankruptcy. (PR)
  • Air Products abandons Airgas pursuit. Air Products (NYSE:APD) ended its year-long battle to buy Airgas (ARG) after a judge upheld Airgas' use of a poison pill to fend off Air Products' $5.9B hostile takeover. Air Products said it is 'disappointed' but ready to move on. Airgas will now have to justify to shareholders its continued rejection of a $70/share deal and its insistence that the company is worth at least $78/share even though its stock has never traded that high. In after-hours trading, ARG -4.3% to $61; APD +0.9%.
  • BHP boosts profit, buybacks. BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP) nearly doubled profit in H2 to a record $10.7B on rising iron ore and copper prices. Bowing to shareholder pressure to return some of its large cash pile to investors, BHP raised its interim dividend by 10% to $0.42 per share and expanded its existing share buyback program to $10B. Rival Rio Tinto (NYSE:RIO), facing similar shareholder pressure, announced a $5B buyback last week. Premarket: BHP -2.4% (7:00 ET).
  • ING swings to profit. ING (NYSE:ING) returned to profitability in Q4, boosted by strong performance in its banking arm. Net profit came in at €433M ($584M), short of the €485M analysts had expected but a respectable rebound from last year's €712M loss. CEO Jan Hommen said his focus in 2011 will be repaying the state and preparing the firm's loss-making insurance business for two IPOs. Premarket: ING -0.7% (7:00 ET).
  • Total sells CEPSA stake. Total (NYSE:TOT) is selling its 49% stake in Spanish oil group CEPSA for €3.7B ($5B) to Abu Dhabi's International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC). IPIC already holds a 47% stake in CEPSA, Spain's second-largest oil company.

Earnings: Wednesday Before Open

  • Devon Energy (NYSE:DVN): Q4 EPS of $1.57 beats by $0.16. Revenue of $2.14B (+12.7% Y/Y) misses by $0.2B. (PR)
  • Talisman Energy (NYSE:TLM): Q4 EPS of $0.08 misses by $0.07. Revenue of $1.87B (+8.8% Y/Y) beats by $0.16B. (PR)

Earnings: Tuesday After Close

  • Allscripts-Misys Healthcare Solutions (NASDAQ:MDRX): Q4 EPS of $0.20 beats by $0.02. Revenue of $337M (+11% Y/Y) in-line. Shares +0.8% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • American Capital Strategies (NASDAQ:ACAS): Q4 EPS of $0.19 beats by $0.02. Shares +10.1% AH. (PR)
  • American Medical Systems (NASDAQ:AMMD): Q4 EPS of $0.4 beats by $0.04. Revenue of $147M (+0.7% Y/Y) beats by $2M. Shares -1.1% AH. (PR)
  • Analog Devices (NYSE:ADI): FQ1 EPS of $0.70 beats by $0.05. Revenue of $729M (+21% Y/Y) in-line. Shares +1.2% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Century Aluminum Company (NASDAQ:CENX): Q4 EPS of $0.64 beats by $0.45. Revenue of $317M (+23% Y/Y) beats by $11M. Shares +5.4% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Dell (NASDAQ:DELL): Q4 EPS of $0.53 beats by $0.16. Revenue of $15.7B (+5.3% Y/Y) in-line. Shares +7.1% AH. (PR, earnings call transcript)
  • Nabors Industries (NYSE:NBR): Q4 EPS of $0.44 beats by $0.07. Shares +0.3% AH. (PR)
  • Rovi (NASDAQ:ROVI): Q4 EPS of $0.54 in-line. Revenue of $140M (+2.3% Y/Y) in-line. Shares -4.5% AH. (PR)
  • Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA): Q4 EPS of -$0.47 beats by $0.03. Revenue of $36.3M (+95% Y/Y) beats by $2M. Shares +0.1% AH. (PR)
  • ValueClick (VCLK): Q4 EPS of $0.31 beats by $0.08. Revenue of $129M (+16.7% Y/Y) beats by $5M. Shares +11.4% AH. (PR)

Today's Markets

  • In Asia, Japan +0.6% to 10808. Hong Kong +1.1% to 23157. China +0.9% to 2924. India +0.15% to 18301.
  • In Europe, at midday, London +0.4%. Paris +0.8%. Frankfurt +0.1%.
  • Futures at 7:00: Dow +0.3%. S&P +0.4%. Nasdaq +0.25%. Crude +0.3% to $84.60. Gold -0.1% to $1373.

Wednesday's Economic Calendar

The SA Currents team contributed to this post.

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