Markets & Finance

Fox Rises on Acquisition News


News Corp. (NWS) proposed to acquire all Fox Entertainment (FOX) shares it does not already own. The terms of the proposed deal give Fox shareholders 1.90 News Corp. shares per Fox share.

Western Wireless (WWCA) agrees to be acquired by Alltel (AT) in a deal valued at about $6 billion, including about $1.5 billion in debt assumption. Terms of the acquisition give 0.535 Alltel share and $9.25 cash per WWCA share. Shareholders will have the ability to make an all-stock or all-cash election.

Hollywood Entertainment (HLYW) agrees to be acquired by Movie Gallery (MOVI) for $13.25 cash per share. Separately, Hollywood says it received a letter from Nasdaq indicating that, because it did not comply with certain Marketplace Rules, its securities are subject to delisting.

Goldman picks Wellpoint Inc. (WLP) as a top pick in managed care group. Separately, the Supreme Court refuses to review a class-action status for a lawsuit on behalf of more than 600,000 doctors against six managed-care companies, including WellPoint.

Comcast (CMCSA) is set to announce an "ambitious" push into the phone business, promising to pose one of the biggest challenges ever to Bell telephone giants, according to The Wall Street Journal.

General Motors's (GM) CEO Rick Wagoner said rising health-care costs and higher interest rates will be "headwinds" for GM this year, and repeated complaints that Japan's yen is undervalued against the dollar, helping GM's Japanese rivals, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Coors (RKY) says its fourth-quarter U.S. sales volume to wholesalers increased 4.2% from a year ago, while wholesaler sales to retail increased 0.8%.

Bear Stearns downgrades Schering (SHR) to peer perform from outperform. On Friday, the company said the FDA issued an "approvable letter" for Bonefos for the reduced occurrence of bone metastasis in adjuvant breast cancer.

Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) raises 50 cents to 60 cents first-quarter earnings per share estimate to 68 cents to 73 cents. The company cites lower feed ingredient costs and stronger-than-expected results in prepared foods division.

Electronics Boutique (ELBO) says an industry-wide hardware shortage affected top line and margins due to lost sales of higher-margin software and accessories. It expects fourth-quarter earnings per share to be at the lower-end of previously announced estimate of $1.62 to $1.72.

Baxter International (BAX) reaffirms 54 cents to 58 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share, excluding non-cash and asset impairment charges related to its influenza vaccine program and other assets.

Callaway Golf (ELY) says it will purchase four U.S. patents from Perfect Putter, thereby resolving a legal dispute pending between both parties.

Eaton Corp. (ETN) says it was informed the U.S. International Trade Commission judge issued a decision in the company's favor in an unfair import proceeding brought by Eaton against ZF Friedrichshafen AG, ArvinMeritor, and ZFMeritor.

iVillage (IVIL) says it acquired privately-held Healthology Inc., a producer and distributor of physician-generated video-, article-based health, medical information on the Internet, for a total consideration of $17.2 million.

JP Morgan downgrades RF Micro Devices (RFMD) to neutral from overweight.

MicroStrategy (MSTR) wins a favorable court ruling in a lawsuit brought by Business Objects (BOBJ) alleging that MicroStrategy infringed patents owned by Business Objects.

Citigroup upgrades PortalPlayer (PLAY) to buy from hold.


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