Drill, Baby, Drill,

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count up 3 to 698 rigs

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. rig count is up 3 from last week to 698 with oil rigs up 3 to 552, gas rigs unchanged at 144 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2.

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

The U.S. Rig Count is up 258 rigs from last year’s count of 440 with oil rigs up 210, gas rigs up 48 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2.

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

The Canada Rig Count is down 6 from last week to 95, with oil rigs down 3 to 45, gas rigs down 3 to 50.

The Canada Rig Count is up 44 rigs from last year’s count of 51, with oil rigs up 25, gas rigs up 19.

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.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is up $1.10 to $106.39 per barrel. Brent crude is up $1.42 to $108.72 per barrel. Gasoline last traded at $3.474 per gallon flat on the day.

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Musk Buys Twitter for $44B

Elon Musk to acquire Twitter for $54.20 per share in cash

Twitter (TWTR) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by an entity wholly owned by Tesla (TSLA) founder Elon Musk, for $54.20 per share in cash in a transaction valued at approximately $44B.

Twitter is taken private by Elon Musk

Upon completion of the transaction, Twitter will become a privately held company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Twitter stockholders will receive $54.20 in cash for each share of Twitter common stock that they own upon closing of the proposed transaction.

Elon Musk

The purchase price represents a 38% premium to Twitter’s closing stock price on April 1, 2022, which was the last trading day before Mr. Musk disclosed his approximately 9% stake in Twitter.

Bret Taylor, Twitter’s Independent Board Chair, said, “The Twitter Board conducted a thoughtful and comprehensive process to assess Elon’s proposal with a deliberate focus on value, certainty, and financing. The proposed transaction will deliver a substantial cash premium, and we believe it is the best path forward for Twitter’s stockholders.”

“Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of humanity are debated,” said Mr. Musk.

“I also want to make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Twitter has tremendous potential – I look forward to working with the company and the community of users to unlock it.”

The transaction, which has been unanimously approved by the Twitter board of directors, is expected to close in 2022, subject to the approval of Twitter stockholders, the receipt of applicable regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Musk has secured $25.5B of fully committed debt and margin loan financing and is providing an approximately $21B equity commitment.

There are no financing conditions to the closing of the transaction.

TWTR last traded at $51.63.

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Rail Traffic Declined Last Week!

North American rail traffic fell 7.5% for the week ending April 16

The Association of American Railroads, AAR, reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending April 16.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 489,801 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.1% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending April 16 were 221,228 carloads, down 6.8% compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 268,573 containers and trailers, down 9.2% compared to 2021. North American rail volume for the week ending April 16 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 319,064 carloads, down 6.8% compared with the same week last year, and 354,060 intermodal units, down 8.1% compared with last year.

Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 673,124 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.5%.

North American rail volume for the first 15 weeks of 2022 was 9,987,458 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.9% 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), Trinity Industries (TRN), Greenbrier (GBX), Wabtec (WAB), FreightCar America (RAIL), Union Pacific (UNP) and GATX (GATX).

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American Campus sold for $12.8B

American Campus to be acquired by Blackstone for $65.47 per share in cash

American Campus Communities (ACC) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement under which Blackstone (BX) Core+ perpetual capital vehicles, primarily comprised of Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust, alongside Blackstone Property Partners, will acquire all outstanding shares of common stock of ACC for $65.47 per fully diluted share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $12.8B, including the assumption of debt.

American Campus Communities, Inc. is the largest owner, manager and developer of high-quality student housing communities in the United States. The company is a fully integrated, self-managed and self-administered equity real estate investment trust (REIT) with expertise in the design, finance, development, construction management and operational management of student housing properties.

The purchase price represents a premium of 22% to the 90-calendar day volume-weighted average share price ending April 18, a premium of 30% over the closing stock price of February 16, the date immediately prior to the company disclosing receipt of an indication of willingness to offer to acquire the company, and a 14% premium to yesterday’s closing price.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by ACC’s board of directors and the independent Special Committee of ACC’s board and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2022, subject to approval by ACC’s shareholders and other customary closing conditions.

As a condition to the transaction, ACC has agreed to suspend payment of its quarterly dividend, effective immediately.

ACC shares are up $7.25 to $64.83.

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Hasbro questioned by shareholder!

Alta Fox urges Hasbro to address questions on Q1 earnings call

Alta Fox Capital Management, the beneficial owner of approximately 2.5% of the outstanding shares of Hasbro (HAS), urged the Company to address the following questions when it reports Q1 financial results tomorrow:

“Why has the Company pushed back the record date for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Shareholders?

Given that the Board of Directors appears to be more focused on entrenchment than value creation, we are forced to question the motivation behind moving the record date to May 9th.

We fear the Board is hoping that the delay will provide time to court friendly shareholders, who are likely to support the incumbents.

In our view, this seemingly self-serving maneuver has parallels to the defensive PIPE transactions recently initiated by other underperforming companies facing election contests.

Why is the Company forcing a costly election contest instead of accepting a modest Board refresh and a capital allocation review committee in response to shareholders’ concerns regarding Hasbro’s chronic underperformance?

In our view, investors have reason to question whether the Board is acting in shareholders’ best interest or engaging in further entrenchment to maintain the Hassenfeld family’s influence.

Why did the Company expand its Board to 13 members instead of carrying out a viable director refresh?

We contend the decision to expand the Board from 11 members to 13 members following our nomination reflects an unacceptable level of dysfunction and entrenchment in the boardroom.

Why did the Company feel it was appropriate for Cynthia W. Williams, the newly appointed President of Wizards of the Coast, to join another public company’s board within two months of being appointed to her new role?

We question why Williams would want to join the board of Aterian, a company whose stock is down almost 70% from its IPO in 2019 and which has been accused of serious wrongdoings.

We find it surprising that Hasbro’s Board allowed Ms. Williams to dilute her attention so early in her tenure at Wizards of the Coast and was comfortable associating Hasbro’s senior leadership with Aterian.

Cynthia W. Williams

How did the Board determine so quickly that a spin-off of Wizards of the Coast was ill-advised, and why will it not share this analysis with shareholders?

We believe spinning off Wizards of the Coast could help enhance Hasbro’s corporate structure and unlock the full value of the division, which has a completely different growth, margin and valuation profile than the Consumer Products and Entertainment segments.

In light of the Board’s apparent credibility issues, we find it hard to believe the Company comprehensively and objectively evaluated strategic alternatives for the unit.

We believe shareholders deserve a detailed explanation of the Board’s purported evaluation, and that the analysis should be re-examined with shareholder-appointed directors focused on creating shareholder value rather than preserving the Hassenfeld family legacy.

To date, the Company has provided little evidence of business unit “synergies” that could not be accomplished through a partnership arrangement.

Why is the Board resistant to forming a capital allocation committee when investments, such as the Entertainment One deal, have been value destructive?

It is confounding to us that Hasbro continues to assume no accountability for poor capital allocation when organic and inorganic investments have failed to produce meaningful shareholder value over many years.”

Alta Fox has filed a preliminary proxy statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with its nomination of five candidates for election to the Company’s Board at this year’s Annual Meeting.

Hasbro reports on April 19th before the market open. HAS is down 2% to $83.47.

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Epic Games receives $2B cash infusion

Sony, Lego holding group invest $2B in Epic Games

“Fortnite” maker Epic Games announced a $2B round of funding to advance the company’s vision to build the metaverse and support its continued growth.

This round includes investments from existing investor Sony Group Corporation (SONY) as well as KIRKBI, the family-owned holding and investment company behind The LEGO Group, with each party investing $1B respectively.

Epic continues to have only a single class of common stock outstanding and remains controlled by its CEO and founder, Tim Sweeney.

“As a creative entertainment company, we are thrilled to invest in Epic to deepen our relationship in the metaverse field, a space where creators and users share their time.” said Kenichiro Yoshida, Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation.

Tim Sweeney, Epic’s CEO and Founder

“We are also confident that Epic’s expertise, including their powerful game engine, combined with Sony’s technologies, will accelerate our various efforts such as the development of new digital fan experiences in sports and our virtual production initiatives.”

Epic’s post-money equity valuation is $31.5B.

The closing of the investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Other investors in Epic Games include Tencent (TCEHY), KKR (KKR), and Disney (DIS).

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