Markets & Finance

Movers: Schering-Plough, Merck, Fairpoint, Ansoft, Citigroup, IACI


Monday's stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchSchering-Plough (SGP) and Merck (MRK) announce that results on Enhance trial show no statistically significant difference between the two treatment groups on the primary endpoint, the change in the average carotid artery intima-media thickness (CA IMT) at three carotid artery locations. An expert panel says patients should use statin and other proven drugs rather than Vytorin, the cholesterol drug jointly developed by Merck and Schering-Plough. Cowen downgrades Schering to neutral from outperform.

Citigroup (C) sets new corporate structure, establishes regional structure to bring decision-making closer to clients, reorganizes its consumer group into two global businesses -- Consumer Banking and Global Cards.

Fairpoint Communications (FRP) shares are down 2.29 to 7.97 after Verizon (VZ) says, subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, its stockholders will receive one FRP share for every 53.0245 VZ shares they owned as of Mar 7, 2008 in the proposed spinoff of shares of Northern New England Spinco Inc. (Spinco) to VZ stockholders, and subsequent merger of Spinco with FRP. Goldman downgrades FRP to Americas conviction sell list.

Ansoft (ANST) rises 7.08 to 30.50 after it agrees to be acquired by Ansys (ANSS) for approximately $832 million in cash and stock. Terms: $16.25 in cash and 0.431882 ANSS share for each ANST share held.

Bentley Pharmaceuticals (BNT) agrees to be acquired by Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) in a $360 million deal. The acquisition will take place following spin-off of BNT's drug delivery business to its shareholders, which BNT announced on Oct. 23, 2007. BNT shareholders will receive $15.02 cash per BNT share (subject to adjustment), plus shares of CPEX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. pursuant to spin-off, which will occur before acquisition.

A Delaware court ruled in favor of IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI) CEO Barry Diller in a legal dispute with controlling shareholder Liberty Media (LINTA), paving the way for him to proceed with a proposed spin-off of four company units, according to a newswire report. S&P reiterates buy.

AT&T (T) announces that Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) has selected AT&T to be its global provider of advanced communications services. The five-year agreement, estimated to be worth $1.6 billion, calls for AT&T to provide, manage and maintain RDS.A's worldwide communications infrastructure, while also managing its global mobility needs.

Center Financial (CLFC) announces that it has received notice from First Intercontinental Bank terminating the definitive agreement jointly announced by the two companies, under which CLFC was to buy First Intercontinental.

Pall Corp. (PLL) posts lower-than-expected $0.46, vs. $0.35 a year ago, second quarter pro forma EPS on 15% sales rise. Notes company's Pall Industrial segment's gross margin decreased to 43.8% from 45.8%. Gross margins were hurt by an increased proportion of systems sales and a change in market mix within consumables. Incremental costs in Europe related to the facilities rationalization initiative also contributed to the margin decline.

Lee Enterprises (LEE) expects to record a "significant" non-cash impairment charge that could total $500-$700 million after income taxes, to second quarter earnings. Impairment charge will result in Q2, full-year losses. Says it also will record the current value of its future liability related to unwinding of the 5% minority share in its St. Louis partnership, which will also result in a reduction of second quarter EPS.

Covidien Ltd. (COV) says it has initiated a voluntary recall of pre-filled syringes containing Heparin Sodium. Scientific Protein Laboratories LLC manufactures Heparin Sodium USP active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) used by COV to produce Heparin Lock Flush Syringes with various concentrations of heparin. The voluntary recall affects 32 lots manufactured and distributed by COV in the U.S.

Altria Group (MO) completes spin-off of Philip Morris International - shareholders received one share of PMI stock for every share of MO share held. PMI shares begin trading on NYSE today.


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