MoviePass raises prices

Helios and Matheson says MoviePass accelerating plan for profitability

MoviePass raises prices, Stockwinners
MoviePass raises prices, Stockwinners

MoviePass, a majority-owned subsidiary of Helios and Matheson Analytics (HMNY), announced the implementation of several new measures aimed at accelerating the plan for profitability.

Through these new steps, the company believes it will be able to compress its timeline to reach profitability.

Approaching the one-year anniversary of introducing its standard $9.95 price point, the MoviePass community has grown to more than 3 million members and in turn has contributed to record box office growth, responsible for approximately 6 percent of the nation’s total box office sales in the first half of 2018.

In addition, MoviePass Ventures and MoviePass Films are contributing to the company’s ancillary revenue. The company has implemented several elements of a long-term growth plan to protect the existing community and set it up for future sustainable growth.

MoviePass has implemented several new cost-reduction and subscription revenue increase measures: Actions that have been implemented are currently cutting the monthly burn by 60%.

A future increase of the standard pricing plan to $14.95 per month within the next 30 days.

First Run Movies opening on 1,000+ Screens to be limited in their availability during the first two weeks, unless made available on a promotional basis, Implementation of additional tactics to prevent abuse of the MoviePass service.

As of Q3 and beyond, MoviePass is also generating incremental non-subscription revenue of approximately $4 to $6 per subscriber per quarter: Integration of MoviePass Ventures and MoviePass Films with our own original content allows us to gain revenue by owning the films through box office, streaming, DVD, retail, transactional sales e.g. Apple and Samsung, and international rights, etc.

Partnerships with 3rd party media inventory to increase scale and reach of marketing efforts driven by data. Continued rollout and refinement of the Peak Pricing program.

Creating strategic marketing partnerships and promotions with studios, content owners, and brands. Integration of Moviefone.Com to support the media buys of brands and studios.

In an effort to maintain the integrity of the MoviePass mission, to enhance discovery, and to drive attendance to smaller films and bolster the independent film community, MoviePass will begin to limit ticket availability to Blockbuster films. This change has already begun rolling out, with Mission Impossible 6 being the first film included in the measure.

This is a strategic move by the company to both limit cash burn and stay loyal to its mission to empower the smaller artistic film communities.

Major studios will continue to be able to partner with MoviePass to promote their first run films, seeding them with a valuable moviegoing audience.

HMNY is up 7 cents to $0.88.


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Supervalu sold for $2.9 billion

United Natural Foods to acquire Supervalu for $32.50 per share in cash, or $2.9B

Supervalu sold for $32.50 per share in cash, or $2.9B, Stockwinners
Supervalu sold for $32.50 per share in cash, or $2.9B, Stockwinners

United Natural Foods (UNFI) and SUPERVALU (SVU) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which UNFI will acquire SUPERVALU for $32.50 per share in cash, or approximately $2.9B, including the assumption of outstanding debt and liabilities.

UNFI expects to finance the transaction substantially with debt and Goldman Sachs provided committed financing in the transaction.

Over time, UNFI plans to divest SUPERVALU retail assets in a thoughtful and economic manner. Upon closing, UNFI’s net debt-to-EBITDA ratio is expected to be high.

With strong cash flows, proceeds from divestitures and commitment to reducing debt, the company anticipates reducing leverage by at least two full turns in the first three years.

The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is subject to antitrust approvals, SUPERVALU shareholder approval and other customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of calendar year 2018.

UNFI Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Steven Spinner will lead the combined entity. Sean Griffin, UNFI Chief Operating Officer, will lead the SUPERVALU integration efforts, post close and lead an integration committee comprised of executives from both companies to drive the implementation of best practices from each company and the delivery of important synergies and a rapid and smooth integration.

UNFI closed at $41.18.


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Dropbox drops as Facebook mulls switch to Google

Dropbox drops as Facebook mulls switch to Google for cloud storage

Dropbox drops as Facebook mulls switch to Google, Stockwinners
Dropbox drops as Facebook mulls switch to Google, Stockwinners

Shares of Dropbox (DBX) fell in morning trading following a report that said Facebook (FB) is considering moving its cloud storage away from the file hosting service.

FACEBOOK CONSIDERING SWITCH

Facebook is considering switching to Google (GOOG, GOOGL) for email and productivity applications, The Information reported earlier, citing two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The move would be a setback for Microsoft (MSFT), whose applications Facebook currently uses. Facebook, which has about 27,000 employees, stopped using Google apps inside the company several years ago. Additionally, Facebook is also considering moving its cloud storage to Google from Dropbox, according to The Information.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

Last month, Dropbox announced a new chapter in the evolution of Magic Pocket, its custom-built storage infrastructure, saying it is deploying Shingled Magnetic Recording, or SMR, drive technology to increase overall storage density, reduce the company’s physical data center footprint and provide significant cost savings without sacrificing performance or reliability.

Dropbox said at the time that it expects to have a quarter of its Magic Pocket infrastructure on SMR drive capacity by 2019. In its debut earnings report, Dropbox reported revenue of $316.3M, up 28% from the year-ago period.

PRICE ACTION

Shares of Dropbox are down about 4% to $31.03 in morning trading following the report.


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Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved

Bristol-Myers’ Opdivo approved for MSI-H/dMMR metastatic colorectal cancer

Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved, Stockwinners
Bristol-Myers treatment for colorectal cancer approved, Stockwinners

Bristol-Myers (BMY) announced Opdivo – nivolumab – 3 mg/kg plus low-dose Yervoy – ipilimumab – 1 mg/kg injections for intravenous use received approval from the FDA for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older with microsatellite instability high or mismatch repair deficient metastatic colorectal cancer that has progressed following treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan.

Approval for this indication has been granted under accelerated approval.

Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

The application was granted Priority Review and Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA.

Among the 82 patients who received prior treatment with a fluoropyrimidine, oxaliplatin and irinotecan, 46% responded to treatment with Opdivo + Yervoy.

The percentage of these patients with a complete response was 3.7%, and the percentage of patients with a partial response was 43%.

Among these 38 responders, the median DOR was not reached; 89% of those patients had responses of six months or longer, and 21% had responses of 12 months or longer.

This trial is ongoing. Among all enrolled patients, 49% responded to treatment with Opdivo + Yervoy; 4.2% experienced a complete response, while 45% experienced a partial response.

Opdivo was discontinued in 13% of patients and delayed in 45% of patients due to an adverse reaction.

Serious adverse reactions occurred in 47% of patients.

The Opdivo + Yervoy combination is also approved in two other tumor types, advanced renal cell carcinoma and unresectable or metastatic melanoma.

Continued approval for these accelerated approval indications may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in the confirmatory trials.

BMY closed at $56.18.


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Carbon-free aluminum smelting process now a reality

Alcoa, Rio Tinto, Apple  announce ‘world’s first’ carbon-free aluminum smelting process 

carbon-free aluminum smelting process; Stockwinners
carbon-free aluminum smelting process; 

Alcoa (AA) and Rio Tinto (RIO) announced what the companies called “a revolutionary process to make aluminum that produces oxygen and eliminates all direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process.”

carbon-free aluminum smelting process, Stockwinners
carbon-free aluminum smelting process, Stockwinners

To advance larger scale development and commercialization of the new process, Alcoa and Rio Tinto are forming Elysis, a joint venture company to further develop the new process with a technology package planned for sale beginning in 2024.

carbon-free aluminum smelting process, Stockwinners
carbon-free aluminum smelting process, Stockwinners

Apple (AAPL) is also investing in the venture. Apple said that its involvement with the new process started in 2015, when Apple engineers came across the new technology at Alcoa in Pittsburgh when looking for a cleaner way to mass-produce aluminum. They were able to get Rio Tinto on board, and three years later, the three companies have formed a joint venture.

Elysis, which will be headquartered in Montreal with a research facility in Quebec’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, will develop and license the technology so it can be used to retrofit existing smelters or build new facilities. Canada and Quebec are each investing C$60M in Elysis.

The provincial government of Quebec will have a 3.5% equity stake in the joint venture with the remaining ownership split evenly between Alcoa and Rio Tinto. Apple is providing an investment of C$13M.

The company helped facilitate the collaboration between Alcoa and Rio Tinto on the carbon-free smelting process, and Apple has agreed to provide technical support to the JV partners.

Aluminum has been mass produced the same way since 1886, when it was pioneered by Alcoa’s founder, Charles Hall. The process involves applying a strong electrical current to alumina, which removes oxygen. Both Hall’s original experiments and today’s largest smelters use a carbon material that burns during the process, producing greenhouse gases.

Alcoa and Rio Tinto will invest C$55M cash over the next three years and contribute specific intellectual property and patents.

The patent-protected technology, developed by Alcoa, is currently producing metal at the Alcoa Technical Center, near Pittsburgh in the United States, where the process has been operating at different scales since 2009.

The joint venture intends to invest up to C$40M in the United States, which would include funding to support the supply chain for the proprietary anode and cathode materials.


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Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash

UPDATED with Model 3 Production Data

Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash, CEO jokes about bankruptcy

https://stockwinners.com/blog/
Tesla falls after NTSB rebuke about fatal crash

Shares of Tesla (TSLA) are lower after the company acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles and its CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April Fool’s that “Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt.”

With the quarter coming to an end, Tesla is expected to report production and deliveries results within a few days.

AUTOPILOT INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASH

In a blog post late Friday, Tesla acknowledged that its autopilot function was involved in a fatal crash that occurred with one of its vehicles.

“In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision.

The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.

The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced.

Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics' Car of the Year
Tesla Model 3 named Popular Mechanics’ Car of the Year

We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash.

Over a year ago, our first iteration of Autopilot was found by the U.S. government to reduce crash rates by as much as 40%.

Internal data confirms that recent updates to Autopilot have improved system reliability.

In the US, there is one automotive fatality every 86 million miles across all vehicles from all manufacturers. For Tesla, there is one fatality, including known pedestrian fatalities, every 320 million miles in vehicles equipped with Autopilot hardware.

If you are driving a Tesla equipped with Autopilot hardware, you are 3.7 times less likely to be involved in a fatal accident.

Tesla Autopilot does not prevent all accidents – such a standard would be impossible – but it makes them much less likely to occur.

It unequivocally makes the world safer for the vehicle occupants, pedestrians and cyclists,” the company said.

Over the weekend, Reuters reported that the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board was “unhappy” that Tesla made public information about the crash of its Model X vehicle that killed the driver last month.

APRIL FOOL’S

After teasing on Twitter that important news was coming, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted on April 1, “Tesla Goes Bankrupt Palo Alto, California, April 1, 2018 — Despite intense efforts to raise money, including a last-ditch mass sale of Easter Eggs, we are sad to report that Tesla has gone completely and totally bankrupt. So bankrupt, you can’t believe it… There are many chapters of bankruptcy and, as critics so rightly pointed out, Tesla has them *all*, including Chapter 14 and a half (the worst one)…Elon was found passed out against a Tesla Model 3, surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.

This is not a forward-looking statement, because, obviously, what’s the point? Happy New Month!”

WHAT’S NOTABLE

In a research note to investors this morning, Jefferies analyst Philippe Houchois upgraded Tesla to Hold from Underperform with an unchanged price target of $250.

The analyst noted that Tesla shares are down 32% from their September 2017 peak and that he sees a “high probability” that management and the board, when releasing first quarter unit data this week, take “more drastic action” on guidance and funding to “restore credibility.”

At the current stock price, either would be positive, Houchois contended.

The analyst believes “higher than consensus” dilution from a capital raise could be positive for the shares, if it “credibly de-risked” the Model 3 production ramp up.

Stockwinners believes this is a good place to open a position in Tesla.

MODEL 3  PRODUCTION DATA

In an email to employees today, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the Model 3 passed a production rate of 2,000 per week in Q1, Ryan Felton of Jalopnik reports.

In January, Tesla projected it would make 2,500 Model 3s per week by the end of the quarter, Felton points out.

It has been “extremely difficult” to pass the 2,000 vehicle per week rate for the Model 3, “but we are finally here,” Musk wrote in the email obtained by Felton.

PRICE ACTION

In Monday morning’s trading, shares of Tesla have dropped 7% to $247.39.


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A. Schulman sold for $2.25B

LyondellBasell to acquire A. Schulman for $2.25B

LyondellBasell to acquire A. Schulman for $2.25B. Stockwinners.com
LyondellBasell to acquire A. Schulman for $2.25B.

LyondellBasell (LYB) and A. Schulman (SHLM) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which LyondellBasell will acquire A. Schulman for a total consideration of $2.25B.

The acquisition builds upon LyondellBasell’s existing platform in this space to create a premier Advanced Polymer Solutions business with broad geographic reach, leading technologies and a diverse product portfolio.

Under the terms of the agreement, LyondellBasell will acquire A. Schulman for a total consideration of $2.25B.

LyondellBasell will purchase 100% of A. Schulman common stock for $42 per share in cash and one contingent value right per share and assume outstanding debt and certain other obligations.

In addition, the contingent value rights generally will provide a holder with an opportunity to receive certain net proceeds, if any are recovered, from certain ongoing litigation and government investigations relating to A. Schulman’s Citadel and Lucent acquisitions. LyondellBasell is using cash-on-hand to finance the acquisition.

LyondellBasell expects to achieve $150M in run-rate cost synergies within two years, primarily by leveraging its well-established approach to cost discipline and productivity, as well as its culture of operational, business and commercial excellence.

Further, the acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings within the first full year following close.

The combined businesses had revenues of $4.6B and adjusted EBITDA of $446M over the last 12 months.

The proposed acquisition, which has been unanimously approved by the respective boards of LyondellBasell and A. Schulman, is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and approval by A. Schulman shareholders.

The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018.


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Kroger sells convenience store business for $2.15B

Kroger to sell convenience store business unit to EG Group for $2.15B

Kroger to sell convenience store business unit for $2.15B. Stockwinners.com
Kroger to sell convenience store business unit for $2.15B 

Kroger (KR) and EG Group, a privately-held petrol forecourt convenience store retailer based in Blackburn, Lancashire, United Kingdom, announced a definitive agreement for the sale of Kroger’s convenience store business unit to EG Group for $2.15B.

Kroger’s convenience store business generated revenue of $4B, including selling 1.2 billion gallons of fuel, in 2016. Kroger’s supermarket fuel centers and its Turkey Hill Dairy are not included in the sale.

Kroger announced in October 2017 its intention to explore strategic alternatives for its convenience store business, including a potential sale, in conjunction with the “Restock Kroger” plan.

The company expects the transaction to close quickly as EG Group has no U.S. presence today. The companies expect to close the transaction during the first quarter of Kroger’s fiscal year.

As part of the agreement, EG Group will establish their North American headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio and continue to operate stores under their established banner names.

Kroger plans to use net proceeds from the sale to repurchase shares and to lower its net total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio.


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MediciNova reports positive MS data

MediciNova’s MN-166 shows positive risk reduction in progressive MS

MediciNova reports positive MS data. Stockwinners.com
MediciNova reports positive MS data

MediciNova (MNOV) announced the presentation of additional positive clinical data from the SPRINT-MS Phase 2b Trial of MN-166 – ibudilast – in progressive multiple sclerosis, conducted through the National Institutes of Health-sponsored NeuroNEXT network.

MN-166 demonstrated a 26% reduction in the risk of confirmed disability progression compared to placebo.

Confirmed disability progression was a secondary endpoint in this Phase 2b trial but would be considered a primary endpoint in Phase 3.

MediciNova’s power analysis has determined that a Phase 3 trial of MN-166 that enrolls approximately 700 subjects will be sufficiently powered to achieve statistical significance for confirmed disability progression.

As reported in October 2017, the SPRINT-MS Phase 2b Trial of MN-166 in progressive MS achieved both primary endpoints. MN-166 (ibudilast) demonstrated a statistically significant 48% reduction in the rate of progression of whole brain atrophy compared to placebo, and demonstrated a favorable safety and tolerability profile.

The most common treatment-emergent adverse events during the study were gastrointestinal adverse events, which occurred with a higher frequency in the MN-166 group, and upper respiratory tract infections, which occurred with a higher frequency in the placebo group.

The MN-166 (ibudilast) portfolio, which includes the Phase 2-staged lead drug compound and proprietary analogs, represents novel, first-in-class, non-opioid drugs for the treatment of drug addiction, progressive multiple sclerosis and pain.

MN-166 is a first-in-class, orally bioavailable, small molecule glial attenuator that suppresses pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1ß, TNF-a, and IL-6, and may upregulate the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10.

MNOV closed at $8.32.


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Alibaba buys a third of Ant Financial 

Alibaba to take 33% equity stake in Ant Financial 

Alibaba to take 33% equity in Ant Financial. Stockwinners.com
Alibaba to take 33% equity in Ant Financial

Alibaba Group (BABA) and Ant Small and Micro Financial Services Group announced that pursuant to 2014 transaction agreements, Alibaba will acquire a 33% equity interest in Ant Financial.

The parties have agreed to certain amendments to their 2014 transaction agreements to facilitate the transaction.

Under the terms of the amended agreements, Alibaba will acquire newly-issued equity from Ant Financial in exchange for certain intellectual property rights owned by Alibaba exclusively related to Ant Financial. There will be no cash impact to Alibaba following completion of the transaction.

Upon closing, the companies will terminate the current profit-sharing arrangement under which Ant Financial pays royalty and technology service fees in an amount equal to 37.5% of its pre-tax profits to Alibaba.

Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, said, “This transaction is a significant step for Alibaba to enhance our long-term strategic relationship with Ant Financial as we continue to pursue our mission to make it easy to do business anywhere.

Importantly, an equity stake in Ant Financial enables Alibaba and our shareholders to participate in the future growth of the financial technology sector, as well as the benefits of user growth and improved customer experience.”

The transaction was reviewed and approved by a committee of non-executive directors, the majority of whom are independent under NYSE rules, the audit committee of Alibaba’s board and the full Alibaba board of directors.

The closing of the transaction is subject to customary conditions. Alibaba will acquire the equity interest in Ant Financial through a Chinese domestic subsidiary.

Morrison & Foerster and King & Wood Mallesons acted as legal advisors, Credit Suisse acted as financial advisor and PricewaterhouseCoopers acted as tax advisor to the Alibaba Independent Committee.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, Sidley Austin LLP and Fangda Partners acted as legal advisors to Ant Financial.


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Cascadian Therapeutics sold for $614 million

Seattle Genetics to acquire Cascadian Therapeutics for $10.00 per share in cash

Cascadian Therapeutics sold for $10 per share. Stockwinners.com
Cascadian Therapeutics sold for $10 per share

Seattle Genetics (SGEN) and Cascadian Therapeutics (CASC) announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which Seattle Genetics has agreed to acquire Cascadian Therapeutics.

Under the terms of the agreement, Seattle Genetics will pay $10.00 per share in cash, or approximately $614M.

The transaction was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.

Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, Seattle Genetics will commence a tender offer on or about February 8, 2018 to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Cascadian Therapeutics for $10 per share in cash.

This represents a 69 percent premium to the closing price of Cascadian Therapeutics’ common stock on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, and a 139 percent premium to its 30-day volume weighted average stock price.

The tender offer is subject to customary closing conditions, including the tender of at least a majority of the outstanding shares of Cascadian Therapeutics common stock and the expiration or early termination of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.

Following the closing of the tender offer, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seattle Genetics will merge with and into Cascadian Therapeutics, with each share of Cascadian Therapeutics common stock that has not been tendered being converted into the right to receive the same $10 per share in cash offered in the tender offer.

The transaction is anticipated to close in the first quarter of 2018. In connection with the transaction, Seattle Genetics has secured a financing commitment in the amount of $400 million from Barclays and JPMorgan-Chase Bank.

The balance of the consideration will be provided from cash on hand.

CASC closed at $5.90.


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Brigade Capital takes stake in Kindred, opposes takeover by Humana

Brigade Capital takes 5.8% stake in Kindred, opposes takeover

Kindred Health sold for $9 a share. Stockwinners
Brigade Capital takes 5.8% stake in Kindred, opposes takeover

Brigade Capital disclosed a 5.8% stake in Kindred Healthcare (KND) and expressed opposition to the company’s proposed buyout by TPG Capital, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and Humana (HUM).

Representatives of Brigade intend to engage in discussions with Kindred’s management and board regarding, among other things, the company’s strategic alternatives and direction, and strategies to enhance shareholder value, including regarding the recently announced proposed acquisition.

On December 27, Brigade delivered a letter to the board stating its opposition to the takeover and noting the “material inadequacy of the terms of the proposed transaction.”

Brigade’s belief is that the $9.00 per share cash merger price “significantly undervalues” Kindred’s common stock. The Letter notes that from the perspective of maximizing shareholder value, Brigade believes it is premature for Kindred to engage in a sale transaction.

Over the past year, Brigade noted that the company “has overcome numerous challenges and calmed most of the headwinds against its business, positioning it for substantial stock price appreciation in 2018 and beyond.”

The activist added, “Brigade expected management to continue operating the business to enable the shareholders who have patiently supported the Issuer throughout its challenges to realize the benefits of the business improvements through their continued ownership in the going concern.

Instead, Brigade stated in the Letter, that it believes management has chosen to pursue a transaction with the Consortium that severely undervalues the Issuer and ensures that the Consortium – rather than existing shareholders – will reap the benefits of the value enhancement the improved business is expected to generate.

For these and the reasons stated in the Letter, Brigade advised the Issuer that it does not believe the proposed transaction is in the best interests of the Issuer’s shareholders and intends to actively oppose it.”

BACKGROUND

On December 19th,  Kindred Healthcare (KND) announced that its Board of Directors has approved a definitive agreement under which it will be acquired by a consortium of three companies: TPG Capital, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and Humana (HUM) for approximately $4.1B in cash including the assumption or repayment of net debt.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kindred stockholders would receive $9.00 in cash for each share of Kindred common stock they hold, representing a premium of approximately 27% to Kindred’s 90-day volume weighted average price for the period ending December 15, 2017, the last trading day prior to media reports regarding the potential transaction.

KND last traded at $9.42, two cents up on the day.


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CSX shares downgraded following CEO’s death

CSX CEO death raises questions about strategy, M&A potential

CSX CEO passes away
Shares of CSX (CSX) are off their worst levels of the session and trading fractionally higher following the death of the company’s CEO over the weekend.

 

While the news prompted a stock downgrade to Hold at TD Securities, JPMorgan analyst Brian Ossenbeck argued that Hunter #Harrison’s legacy will continue at CSX and that he sees downside in the stock being limited.
Meanwhile, Cti analyst Christian #Wetherbee pointed out that the death of the company CEO may increase the likelihood of a merger with Canadian Pacific (CP).

 

MOVING TO THE SIDELINES:

Following the unexpected medical leave of absence and subsequent death of CEO Hunter Harrison, TD Securities downgraded CSX to Hold from Buy and lowered its price target on the shares to $54 from $63. The firm argued that senior management now lacks a member with an operating background.

 

LIMITED DOWNSIDE:

Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s #Ossenbeck told investors that he believes Hunter Harrison’s legacy will continue at CSX, reiterating an Overweight rating and $63 price target on the shares. The analyst said he estimates downside in the stock to be limited to $45-$48 based on his below consensus forecasts, with U.S. tax reform and a “tighter truck market” providing positive near-term catalysts.

 

Nonetheless, Ossenbeck acknowledged that the lack of a defined management succession plan remains a near-term hurdle for CSX, and will not likely be addressed until the investor day in first quarter of 2018.

 

Voicing a similar opinion, Baird analyst Benjamin #Hartford said he believes the shares should find support in the $48-$50 level, which is where shares traded during previous periods of transition for the company.

 

While Hunter Harrison’s passing “undoubtedly” introduces incremental risk and uncertainty to the trajectory of CSX’s operating ratio improvement, and it is even more so a “show-me” story given the absence of his leadership, Hartford noted that the PSR model has been put into place, the company employs the talent needed to execute the plan, and there is no reason to diminish CSX’s expectations regarding the pace and magnitude of future progress. He reiterated an Outperform rating and $58 price target on the shares.

 

MERGER WITH CANADIAN PACIFIC

In a research note of his own, Citi’s Wetherbee told investors that he believes the death of Harrison may increase the likelihood of CSX attempting to merge with Canadian Pacific. However, the analyst noted that he is not sure a deal could be accomplished due to elevated regulatory risk.

 

Canadian Pacific and CSX may merge. Stockwinners.com
Canadian Pacific and CSX may merge.
A “large portion of the heavy lifting” related to the start of CSX’s turnaround occurred in 2017, allowing 2018 to be a year focused on executing, he contended, adding that he still believes in the company’s long-term potential. Wetherbee also pointed out that he sees Jim Foote as capable of executing Hunter’s vision, while noting that CSX’s board could move to add seasoned executives in the coming months. The analyst reiterated a Buy rating and $58 price target on the shares.

 

PRICE ACTION

In Monday afternoon trading, shares of CSX are fractionally lower to about $53 per share.


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Vipshop gets $863 million cash infusion

Vipshop receives $863M from Tencent and JD

Vips receives $863M investment. Stockwinners.com
Vips receives $863M investment.

Tencent, JD.com, Vipshop announce investment, business cooperation – Tencent Holdings (TCEHY), JD.com (JD), and Vipshop (VIPS) jointly announced that Tencent and JD.com have entered into definitive agreements with Vipshop, such that Tencent and JD.com will invest an aggregate amount of approximately $863M in cash in Vipshop at the closing of the transaction.

Pursuant to the share subscription agreement, Tencent and JD.com will subscribe for newly issued Class A ordinary shares of Vipshop in the amount of approximately $604M and approximately $259M, respectively.

The purchase price will be $65.40 per Class A ordinary share, which is equivalent to $13.08 per American Depositary Share of Vipshop, five of which represent one Class A ordinary share.

The purchase price represents a 55% premium over the closing price of the ADSs as of the last trading day on December 15.

The transaction is expected to close in the near future, subject to customary closing conditions. Upon the closing, Tencent and JD.com will beneficially own, taking into account any existing holding, approximately 7% and 5.5%, respectively, of Vipshop’s total issued shares.

The Class A ordinary shares issued to Tencent and JD.com will be subject to a two-year lock up restriction. Tencent and JD.com will have the right to appoint a director and an observer, respectively, to Vipshop’s board of directors during the two-year lockup period.

After the end of the lock-up period, for so long as Tencent and JD.com hold approximately 12% and 8%, respectively, of Vipshop’s total issued shares, or otherwise by mutual agreement with Vipshop, they will maintain director and board observer rights.

Concurrently with the entry of the share subscription agreement, Tencent and JD.com have entered into business cooperation agreements with Vipshop, effective upon closing, establishing a cooperative relationship among Tencent, JD.com and Vipshop.

Under these agreements, Tencent will grant Vipshop an entry on the interface of Weixin Wallet enabling Vipshop to utilize traffic from Tencent’s Weixin platform, and JD.com will grant Vipshop entries on both the main page of JD.com’s mobile application and the main page of its Weixin Discovery shopping entry, and will assist Vipshop in achieving certain GMV targets through JD.com’s platform.

VIPS closed at $8.44. It last traded at $12.48.


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FDA lifts clinical hold on Fitusiran

Alnylam announces lift of FDA clinical hold on Fitusiran

Alnylam announces lift of FDA clinical hold on Fitusiran. Stockwinners.com
FDA lifts clinical hold on Fitusiran

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) and Sanofi Genzyme, the specialty care global business unit of Sanofi (SNY), announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has lifted the hold on clinical studies with fitusiran, including the Phase 2 open-label extension study and the ATLAS Phase 3 program.

Alnylam and the FDA had previously reached alignment on new clinical risk mitigation measures, including protocol-specified guidelines and additional investigator and patient education concerning reduced doses of replacement factor or bypassing agent to treat any breakthrough bleeds in fitusiran studies.

The FDA has now approved the protocol amendments and other updated clinical materials for fitusiran studies.

Fitusiran is an investigational RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin for the treatment of patients with hemophilia A and B.

It is designed to lower levels of AT with the goal of promoting sufficient thrombin generation to restore hemostasis and prevent bleeding.

Alnylam suspended patient dosing in all ongoing studies of its RNA therapy fitusiran to treat hemophilia A or B, after a patient died of swelling in the brain in a Phase 2 open-label extension trial.

Fitusiran, also known as ALN-AT3SC, is designed to specifically lower levels of antithrombin — a protein that inhibits clotting — to improve production of thrombin, a clotting factor. As such, it aims to create a better balance of clotting components that would prevent bleeding events in hemophilia A and B patients.

Alnylam and the FDA had previously reached alignment on new clinical risk mitigation measures, including protocol-specified guidelines and additional investigator and patient education concerning reduced doses of replacement factor or bypassing agent to treat any breakthrough bleeds in #fitusiran studies.

The FDA has now approved the protocol amendments and other updated clinical materials for fitusiran studies.

ALNY closed at $123.66. It last traded at $128.10. SNY closed at $43.09.


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