Markets & Finance

Amgen to Buy Abgenix for $2.2 Billion Plus Debt


Amgen (AMGN) agreed to acquire Abgenix (ABGX) for about $2.2 billion in cash, plus the assumption of debt, or $22.50 cash per share. Amgen expects the dilution of adjusted earnings per share (EPS) in 2006 and 2007 in the range of 5 cents to 10 cents.

Merck (MRK) announced initiatives that will position it to deliver top-line growth and double-digit earnings per share growth, excluding charges, over the next three to five years. Beyond 2010, the drug company expects to deliver sustained revenue and EPS growth fueled by a strong pipeline.

Bear Stearns (BSC) posted $2.91 vs. $2.61 fourth quarter EPS on a slightly higher total revenue rise. It raises its quarterly dividend to 28 cents and sets a $1.5 billion stock buyback. It also submits a $250 million offer to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve an investigation relating to mutual fund trading.

Fairmont Hotels (FHR) forms a special committee of four independent directors to advise its board with respect to a partial takeover bid by affiliates of Carl Icahn. The committee will also evaluate options for maximizing shareholders' value.

Goldman Sachs (GS) posted $3.35 vs. $2.36 fourth quarter EPS on 9% higher total investment banking revenue.

Apollo Group (APOL) posted 73 cents vs. 58 cents first quarter earnings per share on 18% higher total consolidated revenue. It sees 57 cents to58 cents second quarter EPS on revenue in excess of $584 million, and $2.85 to $2.91 in fiscal year 2006 on revenue in excess of $2.578 billion.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) reaffirms its $1.27 to $1.30 2005 EPS. It sees $1.27 to $1.32 2006 EPS (including stock option expense.) It also raises its quarterly dividend 50% to 24 cents per share.

E*TRADE Financial (ET) sees $1.30 to $1.45 2006 EPS, excluding 5 cents in acquisition-related costs, on revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion. It plans to exit the remaining portion of E*TRADE Professional.

Activision (ATVI) expects third quarter EPS to be "significantly" lower than expected due to weaker-than-expected sales and competitive pricing. It says the fourth quarter will also be negatively impacted.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT) sees $2.66 to $2.72 2006 EPS, and reaffirms its 75 cents to 77 cents fourth quarter 2005 EPS guidance, both excluding specified items. It expects to achieve low double-digit EPS growth in 2007.

International Speedway (ISCA) sees $780 million to $800 million fiscal year 2006 revenue, and $3.20 to $3.30 EPS, excluding potential legal expenses associated with a Kentucky Speedway, LLC civil action.

Lennar (LEN) posted $3.54 vs. $2.29 fourth quarter EPS on a 42% revenue rise. It reaffirms its $9.25 fiscal year 2006 EPS goal.

Host Marriott (HMT) raises its quarterly dividend to 12 cents from 11 cents.

SFBC (SFCC) says its independent counsel review is completed, and the report rejects Bloomberg's allegations related to the company. It found the central allegation "wholly unsupported" as to the company. It sees $1.56 to $1.61 2005 GAAP EPS and $1.80 to $1.86 in 2006.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR) posted 8 cents third quarter loss vs. 22 cents EPS on a 6.5% same-store sales drop and 2.4% total sales drop. It cut its fourth quarter same-store sales estimate to the negative mid-single-digits, unless the second half of December is significantly better than current trends.

Tier Technologies(TIER) is to delay the filing of Form 10-K for fiscal year 2005 (ending September) due to discovered accounting errors. It expects to restate financial results for fiscal year 2002-fiscal year 2004. It currently expects a fourth quarter loss of 7 cents to 8 cents, before the impact of restatements.

SunLink Health Systems (SSY) retains SunTrust Robinson Humphrey to assist the company in evaluating strategic alternatives. It notes it has received two previous acquisition proposals, including one from North Atlantic Value LLP for $11.00 per share cash.

Fuelcell Energy (FCEL) posted 40 cents fourth quarter loss vs. 44 cents loss as lower costs and expenses offset a 10% revenue drop.

Altria Group (MO) The Illinois Supreme Court overturns a $10.1 billion verdict in Altria Group's Price "Lights" case.

NBTY (NTY) filed to extend time to file the 10-K. It preliminarily posts 17 cents vs. 30 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 2.1% sales drop (excluding Solgar sales).

Collegiate Funding Services (CFSI) agrees to be acquired by JP Morgan Chase (JPM) in a $663 million deal, at $20 cash per Collegiate Funding Services shares.


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