Avista Sold for $5.3 Billion Cash

Avista acquired by Hydro One for $53 per share

 

Stockwinners offers stocks to buy, stocks to watch, upgrades, Stock downgrades, stock earnings, Stocks to Avoid

Hydro One Limited and and Avista Corp. (AVA) dustry-leading regulated utilities with over 230 years of collective operational experience as well as shared corporate cultures and values.

The combined entity will safely and reliably serve more than two million retail and industrial customers and hold assets throughout North America including Ontario, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska.

“This marks a proud moment for Canadian champions as we grow our business into a North American leader,” said Mayo Schmidt, President and CEO, Hydro One Limited.

“This transaction demonstrates the power and value of the transition into an investor-owned utility, by allowing for healthy expansion into new lines of regulated utility business and new jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Pacific Northwest which is experiencing customer and economic growth.”

“With a focus on operational excellence and building our earnings streams, we are positioned for long-term, sustainable growth,” said Schmidt.

“We are further accomplishing this goal by bringing together two companies with shared cultures and industry expertise to create a North American regulated utility leader. This combination means greater scale, diversity and financial flexibility.”

Hydro One has a uniquely strong track record consolidating electricity utilities. Since the IPO, Hydro One has also delivered on cost savings and efficiencies for shareholders and customers.

Through the company’s energy conservation programs, Hydro One has helped customers and municipalities save 700 GWh year-to-date.

“Since our initial public offering, we have significantly enhanced our current operations while exploring opportunities that extend and diversify our regulated assets,” said #MayoSchmidt.

“We constantly seek to deliver exceptional value to shareholders, customers, and the communities we serve through stable, increasing regulated returns, exceptional service, and community engagement.”

This strategic combination demonstrates the value of consolidation by bringing together two highly complementary platforms to create one of North America’s largest regulated utilities, meaningfully enhancing both shareholder and customer value.

In addition, over time, non-headcount efficiencies will be realized through collaboration and sharing of best practices on IT, innovation and supply chain purchasing, all of which will further enhance cost savings.

No workforce reductions are anticipated as a result of this transaction for either Avista or #HydroOne.

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Stocks to Watch – Changes to S&P Indices

ResMed, Packaging Corp., A.O. Smith, Duke set to join S&P 500 at open on 7/26

Stocks to buy, stocks to watch, upgrades, downgrades, earnings

S&P MidCap 400 constituents ResMed (RMD), Packaging Corporation of America (PKG), A.O. Smith Corp. (AOS) and Duke Realty Corp. (DRE) will replace Mallinckrodt (MNK), Murphy Oil (MUR), Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) and Transocean (RIG) respectively, in the S&P 500 effective prior to the open of trading on Wednesday, July 26.

MGM Resorts Int’l. (MGM) will replace Reynolds American Inc. (RAI) in the S&P 500. British American Tobacco plc  is acquiring Reynolds American in a deal expected to be completed on July 25, pending final conditions.

Mallinckrodt, Murphy Oil, Bed Bath & Beyond and Transocean will replace ResMed, Packaging Corporation of America, A.O. Smith and Duke Realty, respectively in the S&P MidCap 400.

All stocks moving to the S&P 500 have total market capitalizations above $10B making them more representative of the large-cap market space.

All stocks moving to the S&P MidCap 400 have total market capitalizations below $4.5B making them more representative of the mid-cap market space.

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Scripps, Discovery Deal Questioned by Analysts

Scripps, Discovery deal odds debated as reported talks boost media space

Shares of Scripps Networks (SNI) and Discovery Communications (DISCA) are on the rise following reports from both The Wall Street Journal and Reuters that the media companies are in talks to merge.

While research firm #Citi sees a deal as likely, Credit Suisse analyst Omar Sheikh believes the Journal’s initial report has “low credibility.”

MERGER TALKS

Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal said that Discovery Communications is in discussions to merge with Scripps Networks. A similar report from Reuters added that Viacom (VIAB) also had held talks to buy Scripps.

CREDIT SUISSE QUESTIONS DEAL CHANCES

Commenting on the news, Credit Suisse’s #Sheikh told investors that he believes the Journal’s report “looks vague,” and his initial view is that it has “low credibility.”

Combining the two portfolios of unscripted cable networks has some industrial logic, but previously reported discussions between the companies probably came to nothing because the price and structure of a transaction could not be agreed upon, the analyst contended, adding that he struggles to see what might have changed now. Sheikh reiterated an Underperform rating and a $24 price target on Discovery’s shares.

BULLISH ON DEAL

Citi analyst Jason #Bazinet, on the other hand, told investors that he views the reports as “credible” and finds it likely that Discovery and Scripps Networks reach an agreement. Furthermore, Bazinet argued that the pressures on the traditional cable network ecosystem are acute enough and valuations are low enough that he can see merits to this potential combination. Assuming a 20% premium is offered to Scripps, a deal would likely be about 10% accretive to Discovery, Bazinet noted, citing his M&A math.

Meanwhile, #JPMorgan analyst Alexia #Quadrani said she sees both a strategic and financial rationale for a merger between Scripps Networks and Discovery Communications, pointing out that a combined company would have greater leverage with domestic distributors and advertisers. Discovery could also help Scripps with its international rollout, #Quadrani contended, adding that there is potential for cost and tax synergies.

However, she believes that with no terms mentioned in any of the press reports on the deal talks, it is difficult to evaluate any potential transaction. Further, the analyst noted that the speculation “may end up just being chatter” coming out of last week’s media executive conference in Sun Valley. Nonetheless, Quadrani believes the press reports should have a “very positive influence” on media stocks, which she noted have been out of favor. The analyst expects to see particular outperformance from heavily shorted media names such as AMC Networks (AMCX).

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday afternoon trading, shares of Scripps Networks have jumped almost 15% to $76.87, while Discovery Communications’ stock has gained 4% to $27.09 and AMC Networks is up 4% to $59.25.

Other media names, including 21st Century Fox (FOXA), Viacom and Disney (DIS), are also higher in afternoon trading.

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Apple Patents 911 Finger, Call for Help Discretely

Apple patents way to call 911 emergency with fingerprint without assailant knowing

Stocks to Buy, Stocks to Buy on Margin, Stocks to invest in, stocks to own

On Tuesday, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published a patent by Apple for a method to execute a command in an electronic device through a fingerprint.

PATENT

The patent abstract is as follows:

“A device has a touch processing module that processes touch screen input to determine if the manner in which the input was entered indicates that the user intends for execution of a particular command. In one embodiment, the module may acquire fingerprint data from the user’s input and analyze the data to determine if the input was entered with a particular finger or finger sequence.

In another embodiment, the module may also acquire timing data from the user’s entry of a plurality of inputs and analyze the timing data to determine if the touch screen input was entered with a particular timing or cadence. The module may also acquire force data from the user’s entry of a plurality of touch screen inputs and analyze the force data to determine to determine if the touch screen input was entered with a particular force.”

In other words Apple has invented a process for an individual to call 911 emergency secretly using your fingerprint.

Thus, in a situation where the device owner is forced to unlock or otherwise use his phone by an assailant, contacting emergency services in the conventional manner may not be practical. Accordingly, in conventional systems, a user is unable to comply with an assailant’s commands, while at the same time discreetly contacting emergency services.”

For example, the user may program the electronic device to recognize input entered with her pinky finger as a command to place a “911” call or otherwise contact emergency services.

In another example, the user may program the electronic device to recognize input entered with a particular sequence of fingers, such as pinky-ring-pinky, as a command to make an emergency call. Thus, regardless of what routine command the user is ostensibly entering, if the user enters the routine command with the predetermined finger or finger sequence, the user is also entering the predetermined command.

For example, a user may be ostensibly be unlocking her device, but by doing so with her predetermined “911 finger” she is also calling the police.”

It is doubtful that this feature will be available in the upcoming iPhone 8 model.

AAPL last traded at $151.15.


STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to StockwinnersStockwinners offers stock picks, option picks, daily stock upgrades, stock downgrades, and earnings reports that are delivered to your email.

This article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

Vertex Higher on its Cystic Fibrosis Drug

Vertex jumps after ‘wowing’ analysts with cystic fibrosis data

Stockwinners offers stocks to buy, stocks to watch, upgrades, downgrades, earnings, Stocks to Avoid

Shares of Vertex (VRTX) are on the rise after the company reported positive data from Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies of three different triple combination regimens in people with cystic fibrosis who have one #F508del mutation and one minimal function mutation.

Reacting to the news, several Wall Street analysts upgraded the stock to buy-equivalent ratings and raised their price targets on the shares.

BUY VERTEX

In a research note to investors this morning, Janney Capital analyst Debjit Chattopadhyay upgraded Vertex to Buy, stating that the Phase 2 data for its three triple combination programs in CF were “significantly above the most optimistic expectations.”

The analyst argued that the quality of the data should allow Vertex to potentially accelerate commercialization under the “New FDA” and importantly sets the bar very high for competition. Citing its “potential dominance of CF,” Chattopadhyay said he thinks Vertex becomes the “most logical large-cap M&A target.”

Chattopadhyay was not the only analyst upgrading the stock this morning.

His peer at Cowen also upgraded Vertex to Outperform, saying efficacy data from its triple regimens showed “breakthrough-quality” results, and will very likely “dramatically” improve the quality of life and extend the life span of 80% of the 75K patients with CF worldwide.

Phil Nadeau pointed out that he expects a launch in 2021 and $10B in franchise sales in 2025. The analyst raised his price target on the shares to $200 as he sees a 10-year path of revenue growth for Vertex.

Meanwhile, Barclays analyst Geoff Meacham told investors that he thought the Phase 2 data in CF was an “unequivocal success and constitutes a major de-risking event.” Citing more confidence in the viability of the triple combo and the likely accelerated development path, the analyst upgraded Vertex to Overweight and raised his price target on the stock to $180.

Also this morning, Raymond James analyst Laura Chico upgraded Vertex to Outperform, with a $181 price target, citing the “compelling” efficacy data for its triple-combo CF regimens.

WOW: JPMorgan analyst Cory Kasimov began his research note with “Wow. Just wow,” following last night’s data release from Vertex.

To say that the initial results for Vertex’s triple combinations beat expectations would be an understatement, Kasimov told investors, adding that the data not only sets up well to reach a large majority of the CF patient population, but also greatly increases the competitive hurdle while also enhancing the scarcity value of the company. He raised his price target on the shares to $175 and reiterated an Overweight rating on the name.

Credit Suisse, Stifel, Citi and Piper Jaffray also raised their price targets on the stock following the data release.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Competitor Galapagos (GLPG) is sliding in morning trading following Vertex’s CF data announcement.

However, commenting on the news, H.C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein said the data may also be “encouraging” in a roundabout way for Galapagos and another smaller company exploring an add-on to a CF doublet combo, Proteostasis (PTI).

If increasing the dosing of the Vertex compounds does not differentiate them further in efficacy, then this consistency in benefit “may truly be a class phenomenon,” and similar results should be expected from any competitor add-on agent out there, he suggested.

PRICE ACTION

In Wednesday’s trading, shares of Vertex (VRTX) have gained about 22% to $161.26, while Galapagos and Proteostasis have dropped over 4% and 3%, respectively.

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.

 

RB Foods Sold for $4.2 Billion

McCormick to acquire RB Foods from Reckitt Benckiser for $4.2B

Stocks to own, Stocks to buy, stocks to watch, upgrades, downgrades, earnings, Stocks to Avoid, Stocks to Buy on Margin

McCormick (MKC) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Reckitt Benckiser’s Food Division, RB Foods, from Reckitt Benckiser (RBGLY) for $4.2B, subject to certain customary purchase price adjustments.

The addition of Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce, French’s Mustard and other iconic, market-leading products strengthens McCormick’s leadership in the attractive Condiments category and advances the company’s vision to Bring the Joy of Flavor to Life.

Combined pro forma 2017 annual net sales are expected to be approximately $5B with significant margin accretion.

McCormick will integrate RB Foods into its Consumer and Industrial segments and will retain the brand names of French’s, Frank’s RedHot and Cattlemen’s.

“The acquisition of RB Foods strengthens McCormick’s flavor leadership with the addition of the iconic #French’s and #Frank’s RedHot brands to our portfolio, which will become our number two and number three brands, respectively,” said Lawrence Kurzius, Chairman, President and CEO.

“RB Foods’ focus on creating products with simple, high-quality ingredients makes it a perfect match for McCormick as we continue to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in healthy, flavorful eating.

The addition of Frank’s RedHot Hot Sauce, the clear consumer favorite in an attractive and high-growth category, French’s Mustard and the other beloved products enables McCormick to become a one-stop shop for condiment, spice and seasoning needs, providing our customers and consumers with an even more diverse and complete flavor product offering.

RB Foods’ track record of creating market-leading products and its dedicated state-of-the-art manufacturing facility are a strong complementary fit that we expect will strengthen McCormick’s business opportunities as we expand our presence in condiments, a core category for the company in the U.S. and internationally.”

STOCKWINNERS

To read timely stories similar to this, along with money making trade ideas, sign up for a membership to Stockwinners.

The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.