Mirati Theraputics shares jump on take over rumors!

Mirati Therapeutics shares are up 20% on heavy trading volume

Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) is attracting fresh takeover interest from large pharma companies, sources tell Bloomberg’s Michelle Davis and Dinesh Nair.

Mirati Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage oncology company. It develops product candidates to address the genetic and immunological promoters of cancer in the United States.

The company develops MRTX849, a KRAS G12C inhibitor, which is in Phase 1/2 clinical trial for treating non-small cell lung (NSCL), colorectal, pancreatic, and other cancers; and Sitravatinib, an investigational spectrum-selective kinase inhibitor that is in Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of NSCL cancer, as well as a KRAS G12D inhibitor program, which is in preclinical development. It has a collaboration and license agreement with BeiGene, Ltd. to develop, manufacture, and commercialize sitravatinib.

Sitravatinib

Sitravatinib (MGCD516) is an orally-available, small molecule inhibitor of a closely related spectrum of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) including MET, TAM (Tyro3, AXL, MERTK) family, VEGFR family, PDGFR family, KIT, FLT3, TRK family, RET, DDR2, and selected EPH family members. Nivolumab is a human IgG monoclonal antibody that binds to the PD-1 receptor and selectively blocks the interaction with its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2, thereby releasing PD-1 pathway mediated inhibition of the immune response, including anti-tumor immune response. RTKs have been implicated in mediating an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment, which has emerged as a potential resistance mechanism to checkpoint inhibitor therapy. Inhibition of these RTKs by sitravatinib may augment anti-tumor immune response and improve outcomes by overcoming resistance to checkpoint inhibitor therapy.

On November 8th, Mirati Therapeutics (MRTX) reported a 3rd Quarter September 2022 loss of $3.09 per share on revenue of $5.4 million. The consensus estimate was a loss of $3.46 per share on revenue of $4.6 million.

The stock has a 52-week trading range of $32.96 to $154.17. Shares last traded at $89.50.

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City of Cincinnati gets $1.62B from Norfolk Southern

Norfolk Southern to purchase assets of Cincinnati Southern Railway

Norfolk Southern (NSC) announced the execution of a purchase agreement under which the company’s operating subsidiary, Norfolk Southern Railway Company, will acquire substantially all of the assets of the Cincinnati Southern Railway, an approximately 337 mile railroad that runs from Cincinnati, Ohio to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

The CSR is currently owned by the City of Cincinnati and operated by the Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Norfolk Southern Railway, under a lease agreement expiring in 2026.

The agreement provides the company ownership of approximately 9,500 acres of land that sits under infrastructure maintained and operated by Norfolk Southern.

Further, it ensures Norfolk Southern will own the line in perpetuity, while eliminating uncertainty around future lease costs.

The line is one of the highest density segments of the company’s network, with as many as 30 trains a day traveling the route.

Upon the close of the transaction, projected to occur in the first half of 2024, the City of Cincinnati will receive cash consideration of approximately $1.62B.

Norfolk Southern intends to finance the transaction through a combination of internal and external sources.

The City of Cincinnati plans to use the proceeds of the transaction to form an infrastructure fund that will benefit the citizens of Cincinnati for generations to come.

The trust would solely fund the rehabilitation, modernization, or replacement of existing infrastructure such as streets, bridges, municipal buildings, parks, and green space.

The closing is subject to certain conditions, including approval by the voters of Cincinnati and the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

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Rig Counts declined last week!

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count down 3 to 768 rigs

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. rig count is down 3 from last week to 768 with oil rigs down 2 to 610, gas rigs down 1 to 156 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2.

The U.S. Rig Count is up 224 rigs from last year’s count of 544 with oil rigs up 166, gas rigs up 56 and miscellaneous up 2.

The international offshore rig count for April 2018 was 194. Stockwinners

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is down 1 to 14, up 1 year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is up 2 from last week to 212, with oil rigs up 1 to 145, gas rigs up 1 to 67.

The Canada Rig Count is up 46 rigs from last year’s count of 166, with oil rigs up 47, gas rigs down 1.

The Baker Hughes rig counts are counts of the number of drilling rigs actively exploring for or developing oil or natural gas in the U.S., Canada and international markets.

The Company has issued the rig counts as a service to the petroleum industry since 1944, when Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of the U.S. and Canadian drilling activity. The monthly international rig count was initiated in 1975.

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West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is down $1.18 to $87.84 per barrel (down from a high of $123.70). Brent crude is down $1.27 to $93.77 per barre (down from a high of $127.98). Gasoline last traded at $2.564 per gallon (down from a high of $4.31 per gallon).

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ECB plays catch up, raises refinancing rate to 2 percent

ECB raises Main Refinancing Rate by 75bps to 2.00%

The ECB stated:

“The Governing Council today decided to raise the three key ECB interest rates by 75 basis points. With this third major policy rate increase in a row, the Governing Council has made substantial progress in withdrawing monetary policy accommodation.

The Governing Council took today’s decision, and expects to raise interest rates further, to ensure the timely return of inflation to its 2% medium-term inflation target.

Christine Lagarde: ECB President

The Governing Council will base the future policy rate path on the evolving outlook for inflation and the economy, following its meeting-by-meeting approach. Inflation remains far too high and will stay above the target for an extended period. In September, euro area inflation reached 9.9%.

In recent months, soaring energy and food prices, supply bottlenecks and the post-pandemic recovery in demand have led to a broadening of price pressures and an increase in inflation.

The Governing Council’s monetary policy is aimed at reducing support for demand and guarding against the risk of a persistent upward shift in inflation expectations. The Governing Council also decided to change the terms and conditions of the third series of targeted longer-term refinancing operations (TLTRO III).

During the acute phase of the pandemic, this instrument played a key role in countering downside risks to price stability.

Today, in view of the unexpected and extraordinary rise in inflation, it needs to be recalibrated to ensure that it is consistent with the broader monetary policy normalisation process and to reinforce the transmission of policy rate increases to bank lending conditions.

Accordingly, the interest rate on the main refinancing operations and the interest rates on the marginal lending facility and the deposit facility will be increased to 2.00%, 2.25% and 1.50% respectively, with effect from 2 November 2022.

Asset purchase programme (APP)

The Governing Council intends to continue reinvesting, in full, the principal payments from maturing securities purchased under the APP for an extended period of time past the date when it started raising the key ECB interest rates and, in any case, for as long as necessary to maintain ample liquidity conditions and an appropriate monetary policy stance.

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Kroger in talks to buy Albertsons

Kroger in talks to acquire Albertsons in all-cash deal, CNBC says

Kroger (KR) is in talks to buy Albertsons (ACI) in an all-cash deal that it hopes can be announced as soon as tomorrow morning, CNBC’s David Faber reported on-air, citing his sources. He could not learn of the deal price being discussed, Faber noted. Earlier, Bloomberg also reported earlier that Kroger is in discussions to merge with Albertsons.

Shares of Albertsons (ACI) are up $2.45, or 10%, to $28.12 after both CNBC and Bloomberg said the grocer is in talks to merge with industry peer Kroger (KR), whose shares are down about 1% to $45.53.

Kroger (KR) is in discussions to merger with Albertsons (ACI), Bloomberg’s Michelle Davis reports. According to people familiar with the matter, an agreement could be reached as soon as this week, but caution that no final decisions have been made.

Albertsons Companies, Inc. engages in the operation of food and drug stores in the United States. As of February 26, 2022, it operated 2,276 stores under various banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Haggen, Kings Food Markets, and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market; and 1,722 pharmacies, 1,317 in-store branded coffee shops, 402 adjacent fuel centers, 22 distribution centers, and 20 manufacturing facilities.

The Kroger Co. operates as a retailer in the United States. The company operates combination food and drug stores, multi-department stores, marketplace stores, and price impact warehouses. As of January 29, 2022, the company operated 2,726 supermarkets under various banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

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ForgeRock sold for $2.3 billion

ForgeRock to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $23.25 per share in cash

ForgeRock announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $23.25 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.3B.

The offer represents a premium of approximately 53% over ForgeRock’s closing share price on October 10, the last full trading day prior to the transaction announcement, and a premium of approximately 44% over the volume weighted average price of ForgeRock stock for the 30 days ending October 10.

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the ForgeRock board of directors, is currently expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by ForgeRock’s shareholders and the receipt of required regulatory approvals.

ForgeRock, Inc. operates a digital identity platform to secure, manage, and govern the identities of customers, employees, partners, application programing interfaces (APIs), microservices, devices, and the Internet of things worldwide. It offers identity management products to automate onboarding/registration and progressive profiling, identity lifecycle and relationship management, identity provisioning and synchronization, user self-service, personalization, delegation, and privacy and consent management. 

Upon completion of the transaction, ForgeRock’s common stock will no longer be publicly listed and ForgeRock will become a privately held company.

FORG is up $7.38 to $22.53.

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Exxon Mobil is eyeing Denbury!

Denbury jumps after Bloomberg says Exxon considering takeover

Exxon Mobil (XOM) is considering a takeover of Denbury (DEN), Kiel Porter of Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Exxon has expressed preliminary interest in Denbury but no final decision has been made, sources told Bloomberg. In August, Bloomberg reported that Denbury is working with an adviser to explore a sale.

Denbury Inc., an independent energy company, focuses on producing oil from mature oil fields in the Gulf Coast and Rocky Mountain regions. The company holds interests in various oil and natural gas properties located in Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana in the Gulf Coast region; and in Montana, North Dakota, and Wyoming in the Rocky Mountain region. As of February 24, 2022, it had 192 million barrels of oil equivalent of estimated proved oil and natural gas reserves. 

Denbury is working with investment bankers at JPMorgan on negotiations to be acquired by a strategic buyer, according to Street Insider, citing a source who reportedly added that the talks may not lead to a definitive transaction. Previously, on August 17, Bloomberg’s Kiel Porter, Gillian Tan, and Kevin Crowley reported that Denbury was exploring options, including a possible sale.

Key Bank

After Bloomberg reported that Denbury (DEN) hired bankers to explore a sale and mentioned ExxonMobil (XOM) as a potential buyer, shares are outperforming sharply today, noted KeyBanc analyst Tim Rezvan. M&A for Denbury has been an “active debate topic with clients” since his launch of coverage, when shares were in the $75-$85 per share range, and with the shares “flirting with the $100/share level today,” he believes “there is clearly M&A upside in the share price,” said Rezvan. The analyst, who noted that the company did not provide a comment when he reached out for information, has an Overweight rating on Denbury shares.

DEN shares are up 6% to $98.05.

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Ambac shares jump on its legal victory!

Bank of America to pay $1.84B to Ambac Financial to resolve pending lawsuits

In a regulatory filing, Bank of America (BAC) disclosed that the corporation and certain wholly owned subsidiaries entered into an agreement with Ambac Assurance Corporation (AMBC) to resolve all pending Ambac lawsuits against the corporation and its subsidiaries previously disclosed in the corporation’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended 2021, and in prior U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission reports.

As disclosed in those filings, the pending lawsuits, with damages claims of more than $3B, were brought by Ambac against Countrywide entities and other legacy entities related to bond insurance policies that Ambac provided before the 2008 financial crisis.

Under the terms of the agreement, in exchange for the corporation’s payment of $1.84B to Ambac, Ambac, among other things, will cause all pending litigation between the parties to be dismissed with prejudice, and release the corporation and its subsidiaries from all outstanding claims related to Ambac’s issuance of bond insurance policies for certain of the corporation’s and legacy entities’ securitized pools of residential mortgage loans.

The corporation previously accrued for certain amounts of the settlement payment. As a result of the previous accruals and in consideration of the settlement payment, Bank of America said it expects to incur a pre-tax expense in the third quarter of 2022 of approximately $354M, or 3c per share on an after tax basis.

Ambac had been seeking to recover billions of dollars in claims it paid out on bonds originally underwritten by Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America acquired after the mortgage firm’s collapse during the financial crisis. BofA has already paid more than $50 billion to resolve regulatory probes and litigation stemming from its $4 billion purchase of Countrywide.

A trial was underway before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert Reed and was expected to last months. The eventual final payment from Bank of America will resolve all legal matters, according to the filing.

Ambac shares are up 14% to $14.55.

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Aluminum stocks move on Russian exposure!

LME issues discussion paper on Russian metal

The London Metal Exchange, or LME, has issued a discussion paper on Russian metal, stating in a summary:

“Since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022, specific sectoral sanctions and related measures against Russia have been introduced; however, there has been no comprehensive government-led action to prevent the widespread use of Russian metal.

In parallel, the LME has been closely monitoring the usage and throughflow of Russian metal on the LME, to ensure that LME warehouses do not see a significant inflow of unwanted Russian stocks, posing a risk of creating a disorderly or unfair market.

Through 2022, the LME’s understanding is that consumers have broadly been willing to take deliveries of Russian metal, which is supported by data as to the flow of Russian stocks both into and out of LME warehouses.

Russian aluminnum looking for a new home

However, as the current negotiation period for 2023 supply agreements progresses, the LME understands that an increasing number of consumers may be expressing an unwillingness to accept Russian metal in 2023.

As a result, and in light of the potentially changing market landscape, the LME now considers it appropriate to gather further data and views.

Alcoa is U.S.’ largest aluminum smelter

This paper considers the role of the LME in this scenario, provides background and data on the subject, and asks for market feedback on possible routes forward.”

Aluminum stocks that have previously moved in reaction (now recovering) to reports that the London Metal Exchange was launching a discussion of a potential ban on new supplies of Russian metal include Alcoa (AA), Century Aluminum (CENX), Kaiser Aluminum (KALU), Constellium (CSTM) and Arconic (ARNC). 

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Musk offers to buy Twitter at original price!

Twitter jumps after Musk offers deal on original terms

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk is proposing to buy Twitter (TWTR) for the original offer price of $54.20 per share, Jeff Feeley and Ed Hammond of Bloomberg reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

Elon Musk

Musk made the proposal in a letter to Twitter, sources told Bloomberg. Shares of Tesla (TSLA) moved well off their highs after Bloomberg reported, and CNBC followed, that its CEO Elon Musk is proposing to buy Twitter (TWTR) for the original offer price of $54.20 per share. Shares of Twitter are halted at $47.93 pending news while Tesla shares paired their gains to up about 2% to $247.29.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has offered to close his acquisition of Twitter (TWTR) on the terms he originally agreed to, Cara Lombardo and Dana Cimilluca of WSJ report, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Musk’s lawyers communicated the proposal to Twitter’s lawyers overnight Monday and filed a letter confidentially with the Delaware Chancery Court ahead of an emergency hearing on the matter Tuesday, the person said.

The two sides are discussing how to ensure the deal can be closed, according to Lombardo and Cimilluca. The judge overseeing the case requested they come back to her by the end of the day with a potential plan that would allow the litigation to be dropped, a source told the Journal.

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Eisai reports positive Alzheimer data, shares jump!

Biogen/Eisai’s phase 3 trial of lecanemab in MCI meet primary endpoint

Eisai (ESALY) and Biogen (BIIB) “announced positive topline results from Eisai’s large global Phase 3 confirmatory Clarity AD clinical trial of lecanemab, an investigational anti-amyloid beta protofibril antibody for the treatment of mild cognitive impairment due to Alzheimer’s disease, AD, and mild AD with confirmed presence of amyloid pathology in the brain.

#Lecanemab met the primary endpoint and all key secondary endpoints with highly statistically significant results.

#Eisai will discuss this data with regulatory authorities in the U.S., Japan and Europe with the aim to file for traditional approval in the US and for marketing authorization applications in Japan and Europe by the end of Eisai’s FY2022, which ends March 31, 2023.

Amyloid-related imaging abnormalities

Additionally, Eisai will present the Clarity AD study results on November 29, 2022, at the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Congress, and publish the findings in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Lecanemab treatment met the primary endpoint and reduced clinical decline on the global cognitive and functional scale, CDR-SB, compared with placebo at 18 months by 27%, which represents a treatment difference in the score change of -0.45 in the analysis of Intent-to-treat population.

Starting as early as six months, across all time points, the treatment showed highly statistically significant changes in CDR-SB from baseline compared to placebo.

All key secondary endpoints were also met with highly statistically significant results compared with placebo.

Key secondary endpoints were the change from baseline at 18 months compared with placebo of treatment in amyloid levels in the brain measured by amyloid positron emission tomography, the AD Assessment Scale-cognitive subscale14, AD Composite Score and the AD Cooperative Study-Activities of Daily Living Scale for Mild Cognitive Impairment.”

ESALY last traded at $39.79. BIIB last traded at $197.50.

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Rail Traffic Declines as Growth Slows!

North American rail traffic down 1% for the week ending September 17

The Association of American Railroads, AAR, reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 17. For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 490,654 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.9% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending September 17 were 239,528 carloads, up 2% compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 251,126 containers and trailers, down 7.3% compared to 2021.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021.

They included coal, up 3,948 carloads, to 72,774; nonmetallic minerals, up 2,491 carloads, to 35,163; and motor vehicles and parts, up 2,185 carloads, to 13,879.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2021 included metallic ores and metals, down 3,192 carloads, to 21,581; miscellaneous carloads, down 1,623 carloads, to 8,250; and forest products, down 1,362 carloads, to 9,076. North American rail volume for the week ending September 17, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 342,034 carloads, up 3.5% compared with the same week last year, and 341,595 intermodal units, down 4.7% compared with last year.

Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 683,629 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.8%.

North American rail volume for the first 37 weeks of 2022 was 25,025,034 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4% compared with 2021.

Publicly traded companies in the space include CSX (CSX), Canadian National (CNI), Canadian Pacific (CP), Kansas City Southern (KSU), Norfolk Southern (NSC), Union Pacific (UNP) and Trinity Industries (TRN), Greenbrier (GBX), FreightCar America (RAIL) and Wabtec (WAB).

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KnowBe4 receives buyout offer!

KnowBe4 confirms receipt of $24 per share proposal from Vista

KnowBe4 (KNBE) confirmed the receipt of a non-binding proposal from Vista Equity Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of the Company for $24 per share in cash.

KnowBe4, Inc. engages in the development, marketing, and sale of its Software-as-a-Service-based security awareness platform. The company provides a platform incorporating security awareness training and simulated phishing with analytics and reporting that helps organizations manage the ongoing problem of social engineering.

The company also offers Security Coach, a solution to address human behavior risks through human detection and response; and PasswordIQ that would be used to mitigate risk related to password hygiene issues, such as weak or breached passwords. It serves its customers directly through inside sales teams for enterprise and small and medium businesses, as well as indirectly through channel partners and managed service providers.

The proposal represents a 39% premium to KnowBe4’s closing price on September 16, 2022.

The Company’s Board of Directors regularly considers opportunities to enhance value for its stockholders.

In response to an inquiry from Vista, the Board formed a special committee of the Board, comprised solely of independent directors, to engage with Vista and take other actions that it deems appropriate, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors.

Consistent with its mandate, and in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, the Special Committee will carefully review the Vista proposal and other potential value creation opportunities to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of KnowBe4 and its stockholders.

KNBE is up 29% to $22.30.

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Rig Counts Rise as Oil Stablizes!

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count up 4 to 763 rigs

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. rig count is up 4 from last week to 763.

U.S. Rig Count is up 251 rigs from last year’s count of 511 with oil rigs up 239, gas rigs up 58 and miscellaneous rigs up 4.

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is unchanged at 16, up one year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is up 6 from last week to 211, with oil rigs up 3 to 140, gas rigs down 4 to 63.

The Canada Rig Count is up 47 rigs from last year’s count of 156, with oil rigs up 45, gas rigs up 3 and miscellaneous rigs down 1.

The International Rig Count is up 27 rigs to 860 and up 81 from last year’s count.

The Baker Hughes rig counts are counts of the number of drilling rigs actively exploring for or developing oil or natural gas in the U.S., Canada and international markets.

The Company has issued the rig counts as a service to the petroleum industry since 1944, when Hughes Tool Company began weekly counts of the U.S. and Canadian drilling activity. The monthly international rig count was initiated in 1975.

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Rig Counts Rise – See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is up 28 cents to $85.34 per barrel (down from a high of $123.70). Brent crude is up $0.72 to $91.54 per barre (down from a high of $127.98). Gasoline last traded at $2.418 per gallon (down from a high of $4.31 per gallon).

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Spectrum Brands shares tumble on DOJ action

DOJ sues to block Assa Abloy deal to buy Spectrum Brands unit

On September 8th, 2021, Spectrum Brands Holdings (SPB) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its HHI segment to ASSA ABLOY (ASAZY) for $4.3B in cash, which it said represents over 14 times HHI’s expected FY21 Adjusted EBITDA. Click here to read our blog.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block Assa Abloy’s (ASAZY) proposed $4.3B acquisition of the Hardware and Home Improvement division of its rival, Spectrum Brands Holdings (SPB).

Assa and Spectrum are two of the three largest producers of residential door hardware in the concentrated, $2.4 billion U.S. industry, the DOJ said.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the merger would eliminate important head-to-head competition between ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum, risking higher prices, lower quality, reduced innovation and poorer service in the sale of at least two types of residential door hardware: premium mechanical door hardware and smart locks.

The complaint, which seeks to enjoin the transaction under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, alleges that ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum have competed for years to be leaders in the U.S. markets for premium mechanical door hardware and for smart locks.

The proposed transaction would transform these markets, giving Assa “a near-monopoly in premium mechanical door hardware and more than a 50% share in smart locks, leaving only one significant competitor,” the DOJ said.

SPB is down 10% to $52.85.

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