Energy Transfer to buy Sunoco for $5.3B. Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) has agreed to buy Sunoco (SUN) for $5.3B in cash and stock, with the offer of $50.13 a share representing a 29% premium to Sunoco's 20-day average closing price as of Friday. The deal will expand ETP's footprint and strengthen its "presence in the transportation, terminalling and logistics of crude oil, NGLs and refined products." Sunoco's shares were +112% premarket at $86.93. Press release: Energy Transfer Partners to acquire Sunoco.
Spain enters recession, S&P downgrades banks. Like the U.K., Spain entered recession in Q1 for the second time since the financial crisis as GDP shrank 0.3% on quarter, although that was better than forecasts of -0.4%. Meanwhile, S&P has downgraded 11 banks, including Santander (STD) and BBVA (BBVA), adding to its two-notch downgrade of Spanish sovereign debt last week. Opinion: Spanish economy remains in crisis.
Microsoft to invest $300M in new Nook spin-off. Microsoft (MSFT) has agreed to invest $300M in Barnes & Noble's (BKS) Nook and College businesses, which will be combined into one unit with a valuation of $1.7B. Barnes will own 82.4% of the yet-to-be-named company and Microsoft 17.6%. Opinion: Microsoft's diversity justifies investment.
Top Stock News
LDK plummets following earnings miss. LDK (LDK) Solar's shares were -12.2% premarket after it reported an FQ4 loss of $4.63 a share and revenue of -54% to $420.2M, which missed consensus. LDK's gross margin plummeted to -65.5% from -3.6% in FQ3 and +27.3% in the year-earlier period. "Weak market demand and rapidly declining average selling prices reduced our revenue and adversely impacted our margins in the quarter," LDK said. Opinion: Understanding California's solar equation.
Demand shares surge following buyout report. Demand Media (DMD) was in advanced talks to sell itself to P-E firm Thomas H. Lee Partners for up to $1.2B, almost twice its market cap of $605M, All Things D reports. However, Demand ended the negotiations due to complications over Lee's ability to finance the deal and worries about retaining executives once it had been closed. Demand's shares were +49% premarket. Opinion: Whither social media stocks?
Warner Chilcott may sell itself. Warner Chilcott (WCRX) is considering a possible sale and other options after attracting interest from industry and P-E buyers, Bloomberg reports, adding to speculation last week of a looming offer from Bayer (BAYRY.PK). Warner Chilcott, which has a market cap of $4.7B, is also mulling distributing a dividend instead of selling itself. Shares were +28% premarket. Opinion: 4 biotech stocks to buy now for gains in 2013.
China Eastern confirms $5.9B Boeing order. As expected, China Eastern Airlines has confirmed it will buy 20 Boeing (BA) 777 aircraft for $5.94B. China Eastern also said it's selling five Airbus (EADSY.PK) A340 aircraft in a deal valued at CNY4.47B ($712M) as part of a move to cut costs. It's not clear whether the transactions were motivated by China's displeasure at the EU's carbon emissions-capping scheme. Press release: Boeing rolls out Dreamliner.
AB InBev's net profit surges. Anheuser-Busch InBev's (BUD) Q1 core profit (EBITDA) rose 7.4% to $3.55B, slightly below consensus, while revenue edged up 3.7% to $9.33B. AB InBev enjoyed a rise in beer sales in the U.S. for the first time in three years and forecast that Brazilian consumption will increase due to a 7.5% hike in the minimum wage. Opinion: Beer, growth and dividends.
LightSquared gets a week's reprieve. Philip Falcone has agreed to eventually step aside as the public face of LightSquared and to make the failed wireless start-up "bankruptcy-remote" as part of a deal that provides it with a one-week extension from its creditors, starting today, the WSJ reports. The sides hope to then negotiate an extension of 1.5-2 years. Opinion: For telecoms, size matters.
Collective chooses Wolverine and Golden Gate. Collective Brands (PSS) has picked a consortium led by Wolverine World Wide (WWW) and Golden Gate Capital as the leading group to buy the company, Bloomberg reports. The acquisition values the owner of the Payless ShoeSource chain at $21-$22 a share vs. the company's close on Friday of $21.20, which gave it a market cap of $1.3B. Opinion: 5 footwear acquisition targets in 2012.
McClendon linked to more loan shenanigans. Reuters has revealed more practices involving Aubrey McClendon that might raise further concerns about corporate governance and conflicts of interest at Chesapeake (CHK). McClendon allegedly took a loan from now-retired board member Frederick Whittemore in the late 1990s just as Whittemore was helping to set the CEO's salary. Opinion: I want a leadership change at Chesapeake Energy.
GM to invest in Isuzu Motors. GM (GM) plans to start negotiations next month about buying a 10% stake in Isuzu Motors (ISUZY.PK) as part of an agreement to jointly develop and sell commercial vehicles in Asia and Latin America, Nikkei reports. Any agreement might lead to Toyota (TM) selling its 5.9% holding in Isuzu, and would follow GM's link-up with Peugeot. Opinion: GM to climb on Dow partnership.
Top Economic & Other News
China may offer Iran way out of insurance noose. China is considering providing sovereign guarantees for tankers that carry Iranian oil after Western sanctions stopped insurance companies from providing cover, Reuters reports. India and South Korea were also mulling guarantees for their ships. The insurance measure has become one of the keys to enforcing the sanctions. Opinion: Volatility ahead for crude oil prices.
EU drawing up Marshall Plan. The European Commission is reportedly preparing a "kind of Marshall Plan" of €200B to stimulate growth in Europe via public and private investment in infrastructure, renewable energies and high technology, according to the Spanish daily El Pais. Opinion: Euro crisis no longer just financial.
Goldman's O'Neill aproached for BOE job. Goldman Sachs' Jim O'Neill has become the latest name - adding to that of the Bank of Canada's Mark Carney - to be linked to the role of governor of the Bank of England, Reuters reports. O'Neill, who is chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, declined to comment. The current governor, Mervyn King is due to retire in June 2013. Opinion: Austerity under fire.
In Asia, Japan -0.4%. Hong Kong +1.7%. China -0.3%. India +0.8%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.1%. Paris -0.8%. Frankfurt +0.2%.
Futures at 7:00: Dow flat. S&P -0.1%. Nasdaq flat. Crude -0.7% to $104.17. Gold -0.1% to $1663.60.
Today's economic calendar:
8:30 Personal Income and Outlays
8:30 Chicago Midwest Mfg. Index
9:45 Chicago PMI
10:30 Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook
12:30 PM Fed's Fisher: 'Jobs for America'
3:00 PM USDA Ag. Prices
Notable earnings before today's open: BWP, CNA, HUM, L, LYB, NYX, SNH, SOHU, UDR, WPI