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  • Wednesday, March 4, 2015

  • 11:39 PM
    • Both boards have signed off on AbbVie's (NYSE:ABBV) $21B surprise acquisition of Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC), announced a short while ago amid speculation that Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) (or, earlier, Novartis (NYSE:NVS)) would be the one to acquire the cancer biotech.
    • With the deal, AbbVie gets Pharmacyclics' blockbuster Imbruvica drug for hematologic malignancies -- which logged $548M in revenues in 2014 (Q4 earnings) and might go all the way to $5B/year. Imbruvica has received four indications in less than 15 months -- the latest being for Waldenström's Macroglobulinemia at the end of January.
    • And with Imbruvica, AbbVie can lessen its reliance on its key drug Humira, an aging rheumatoid arthritis medication.
    • The acquisition is expected to close in the middle of the year.
    • Question: What happened to Pharmacyclics' Imbruvica partner JNJ on this deal?
    • Previously: Pharmacyclics Q4 revenue up 135%, Imbruvica growing exponentially (Feb. 18 2015)
    | 27 Comments
  • 11:04 PM
    | 25 Comments
  • 5:07 PM
    • Though Semtech (NASDAQ:SMTC) beat FQ4 estimates, it's guiding for FQ1 revenue of $130M-$136M and EPS of $0.27-$0.30, below a consensus of $136.4M and $0.37.
    • The analog/mixed-signal chipmaker also announces it's buying Triune Systems, a maker of wireless charging, power management, and battery charger chips, for $45M in cash + performance earn-outs. The deal is expected to be financed via Semtech's credit line, and be slightly accretive in FY16 (ends Jan. '16).
    • Shares have fallen to $28.00 AH.
    • FQ4 results, PR
    | Comment!
  • 4:17 PM
    • Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) held "advanced talks" to buy microcontroller/network processor/base station amplifier maker Freescale (NYSE:FSL) before the chipmaker agreed to a $16.7B deal with NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI), Reuters reports.
    • Avago reportedly got cold feet after Freescale's shares surged on an NY Post M&A report last month. However, sources state the company is "still looking for an acquisition that could be transformative."
    • Over the last 15 months, Avago has struck a $6.6B deal to buy LSI (it later sold parts of LSI to Seagate and Intel), a $309M deal to buy PLX Technology, and (most recently) a $609M deal to buy Emulex, expanding into a number of enterprise hardware markets along the way.
    • $31B worth of chip industry M&A deals took place last year, as chipmakers large and small try to reap cost and product synergies by merging with peers.
    • Avago rose 0.9% today to $129.40, leaving it close to Monday's all-time high of $130.87.
    | 2 Comments
  • 3:44 PM
    • M&T Bank (MTB -0.3%) announced the agreement to purchase Hudson City Bancorp (HCBK) nearly three years ago, but the regulatory green-light has been on hold pending approval of the banks' anti-money-laundering compliance program.
    • While the stress test and CCAR have nothing to do with money-laundering compliance, analyst Marty Mosby suspects if both banks' capital plans are approved, then a merger approval isn't far behind.
    • The current deadline for a closing is April 30.
    • The stress tests results are due after the close on Thursday, with the CCAR results six days later.
    | Comment!
  • 1:58 PM
    • A day after slumping to new post-IPO lows and coming within $0.03 of $80, Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) has seen dip-buyers emerge in large numbers. Naturally, Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO) is along for the ride.
    • The gains come as a Chinese publication reports Jack Ma once said he considered acquiring Yahoo, which plans to spin off its Alibaba stake into a publicly-traded company in Q4. Ma's alleged comments: "The acquisition of Yahoo is something I worked [on] a couple of years ago, this is a political problem, not an economic problem, Yahoo is a media [company], more sensitive."
    • There has already been speculation Alibaba will try to buy Yahoo's spinoff (much less politically challenging than buying the whole of Yahoo) at some point. Bloomberg's Matt Levine has noted the spinoff will have to wait a year before a deal occurs, in order to maintain its tax-free status.
    • Meanwhile, Alibaba's Aliyun cloud services unit (a giant in the Chinese cloud infrastructure market) has opened a Silicon Valley data center, its first in the U.S. For now, the data center will cater to Chinese companies with U.S. operations, but it plans to go after non-Chinese clients later this year. When it does, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), and a slew of other incumbents will be waiting.
    | 17 Comments
  • 12:57 PM
    • While rival Royal KPN (OTCPK:KKPNY +1%) is hoping to draw €1B in selling Base, its Belgian mobile division, France's Orange (NYSE:ORAN) -- which has a majority stake in Belgium's No. 2 provider Mobistar -- says it wants to stay in the country.
    • Orange's Gervais Pellissier says his company hasn't been contacted about the Base sale but: "Consolidation is necessary in the market and it would make sense for someone already in the country to buy it."
    • He expected if Mobistar got involved, in an effort to better take on market leader Belgacom, it would be tough to get the deal approved by regulators.
    • Strategic bidders or private-equity funds still seem the likely candidates to buy Base in a market hit by a price war and ripe for consolidation.
    | Comment!
  • 12:27 PM
    • Nielsen Holdings (NYSE:NLSN) has acquired eXelate -- whose technology boosts programmatic ad buying -- for undisclosed terms (but reportedly $200M).
    • The deal should smooth automated buying for Nielsen clients who can act quickly on decisions tied to Nielsen ratings info, particularly when programmatic buying moves beyond digital ads into more broadcast programming.
    • EXelate has aggregated consumer segments from over 200 data providers.
    | Comment!
  • 9:52 AM
    • Exelon (EXC -0.3%) and Pepco (POM +0.2%) agree to more than double the value of a fund to benefit customers in Maryland, as EXC seeks approval from the state's regulators for its planned $6.8B acquisition of POM.
    • Under the plan, EXC raises the level of the customer investment fund to $94.4M from $40M, which state regulators could earmark for benefits such as rate credits, energy efficiency or low income customer assistance.
    • The plan also includes an increased commitment to reduce the length and frequency of power outages in the state, as well as non-compliance payments if reliability performance targets during 2018-20 are missed.
    | 1 Comment
  • 9:29 AM
    • IBM has acquired AlchemyAPI, a provider of software APIs for companies looking to add A.I./deep learning capabilities to their apps. Terms are undisclosed.
    • AIchemy offers both cloud-based and on-premise versions of its API offerings, which cover image and text analysis tools. The company asserts its platform "makes it easy to create smart apps that deeply understand the world's conversations, reports and photos."
    • IBM plans to integrate Alchemy's deep learning tech with its Watson A.I. hardware/software platform, declaring it will strengthen "Watson's ability to quickly identify hierarchies and understand relationships within large volume data sets." Big Blue also states the deal will "greatly expand the number and types of scalable cognitive computing APIs" available to clients, developers, and partners.
    • The IT giant stated last year it wants Watson to produce $10B in revenue within 10 years - all signs suggest it has a ways to go. IBM rolled out the cloud-based Watson Analytics service last year to good reviews, as well as a cloud app development platform (Bluemix) that supports Watson services and APIs. It also bought a virtual assistant startup (Cognea) to help Watson deliver "conversational services."
    | 3 Comments
  • 9:27 AM
    • Baxter International (NYSE:BAX) acquires Martinsried, Germany-based SuppreMol for €200M ($225M). The privately-held firm develops protein therapeutics for autoimmune, inflammatory and allergic diseases.
    • Its lead product candidate is SM101, currently in Phase 2 development for the treatment of primary immune thrombocytopenia and systemic lupus erythematosus. SM101 is a modulator of Fc gamma receptor IIB, a key protein in the signalling pathway that could have broad applications in autoimmune disorders.
    | Comment!
  • 8:58 AM
    • E.W. Scripps (NYSE:SSP) posted lackluster earnings for Q4 as TV results boosted by midterm political ads couldn't shake the drag from newspapers.
    • The company missed on top and bottom lines. Income from operations before taxes of $18.1M, up from $7.1M. EPS of $0.27 was impacted by acquisition-integration costs and write-offs totaling about $0.11/share.
    • Revenue breakouts: Television, $147M (up 28%); Newspapers, $95M (down 7.9%); Shared services/corporate (includes investment in digital ops), $15.1M (up 2%).
    • Cash and equivalents at year's end of $158M vs. total debt of $198M.
    • Along with shareholders of Journal Communications (NYSE:JRN), the company is set for a March 11 vote to merge and combine their broadcast operations in one company (to be called E.W. Scripps) and newspaper ops in the other (to be called Journal Media Group).
    • The company isn't providing guidance (and hasn't been repurchasing shares) due to the Journal transaction.
    • Conference call at 9 a.m. ET.
    • Press release
    | Comment!
  • 8:54 AM
    • Sports nutrition products maker MusclePharm (OTCQB:MSLP) enters into a manufacturing agreement with fellow nutritional products developer and manufacturer Capstone Nutrition whereby MusclePharm will consolidate all of its U.S.-based powder, capsule and tablet manufacturing into Capstone facilities.
    • Under the terms of the agreement, MusclePharm will receive warrants equal to 19.9% of Capstone and the right to purchase the remaining 80.1% for a period of 18 months. In addition, it will contribute $2.5M to build out Capstone's manufacturing facilities to accommodate MusclePharm's requirements.
    • If the companies merge, the consolidated business will generate revenues of $450M and double-digit EBITDA this year.
    • MusclePharm also plans to launch a contract manufacturing sales and business development team to complement Capstone's group.
    | 13 Comments
  • 7:21 AM
    • JBS (OTCQX:JBSAY) receives approval from the Australian government to buy local producer Primo Group in a deal valued at $1.13B.
    • The acquisition gives JBS an entry into China with Primo Group a meat supplier to different parts of Asia.
    | Comment!
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