There are more than 300 takeover rumors every year. The stocks that were the subject of takeover rumors initially jump by an average 2.9% but lose 1.2% in the following month. The reason is simple. Only about 15% of takeover rumors are real and the remaining 85% are just speculation. We discussed a strategy that will return 22% annually by shorting takeover rumors.
In this article we will look beyond the first four weeks and focus on takeover targets that recently showed strong price momentum. The recent gains may indicate that the takeover rumors are indeed real. Here are 8 potential takeover targets with strong price momentum:
1. Range Resources (RRC): According to a February 22 article on Business Insider, RRC is a takeover target. "RRC is an independent natural gas company, engaged in the exploration, development and acquisition of primarily natural gas properties, mostly in the Southwestern and Appalachian regions of the United States. RRC was a highly rumored name last year." Business Insider says. RRC returned 10.5% during the past four weeks, whereas S&P 500 index declined by 4.5%. John Griffin’s Blue Ridge Capital had a $175 Million RRC position at the end of 2010.
2. Petrohawk Energy Corp. (HK): We can say the same thing about HK, as it’s been mentioned in an article on BusinessInsider: "HK is an independent oil and natural gas company engaged in the exploration, development and production of predominately natural gas properties located onshore in the United States. HK rumors have been abundant last year, with Chesapeake Energy (CHK) being the main mention as acquirer." HK’s return was 10.6% during the last four weeks.
3. Chico's FAS, Inc. (CHS): More and more takeover speculations about CHS are spreading around, and this is what MarketWatch says: "Call options on the specialty retailer of women's clothing and accessories are once again on trend with investors positioning for a near-term rally in the price of the underlying shares. Unconfirmed takeover rumors and the rise in demand for call options on the stock helped lift Chico's overall reading of options implied volatility during the session." CHS returned 11.3% during the previous four weeks.
4. Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VRTX): Valueline speculated that Vertex is one of the two takeover targets in pharmaceuticals. "With more than $1.2 billion in cash on the balance sheet, Vertex could easily pay off its $487 million in long-term debt, should it need to. This fact, combined with high institutional ownership (meaning voting proxies for merger approval would only have to come from a select few), makes the company an attractive takeover proposition." Valueline said. Vertex gained 13.4% during the last four weeks.
5. Theragenics Corp. (TGX): Having rejected German Eckert & Ziegler’s takeover offer, TGX still stands as a potential takeover target. TGX’s shares increased 27% after the German company offered $2.20 per share to buy the company. TGX returned 14.1% during the last month.
6. Peet's Tea and Coffee Inc. (PEET): As rumors of Starbucks’ plan to takeover PEET turns into arguments that whether Starbucks should buy it or not, PEET gained 14.2% during the last four weeks as the market went down 4.5%. "Though there have been no reports of any formal announcements regarding any merger or acquisitions from either companies, the analysts and industry sources claiming familiarity with Starbucks anticipate the takeover of the Emeryville, California-based Peet's specialty coffee retailer and roaster by Starbucks." CNBC reported. Patrick Odea, CEO of Peets Coffee & Tea, has been exercising his options and selling his stocks during December. Tom Cawley, CFO of Peets Coffee & Tea, also exercised and sold 29,000 shares and netted nearly $700,000.
7. RC2 Corp. (RCRC): This is one of the rumors that turned out to be true. RCRC returned 30.9% during the past four weeks. Tomy Company and RC2 Corporation announced that Tomy will be acquiring RC2 for $27.90 per share. RC2's Board of Directors has already approved the agreement.
8. Green Mountains Coffee Roasters Inc. (GMCR): Benzinga says GMCR is a takeover target of Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), which caused PEET to suffer a setback. " Peet's suffered a setback after Starbucks entered into a deal with Keurig brewer parent Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. As per the deal, Starbucks will distribute its coffee and Tazo tea in Keurig's K-Cup portion packs." Benzinga says. GMRC returned 45.2% during the past month. Steve Cohen and George Soros are among the hedge fund managers with GMRC positions.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.