Burford Capital Shares Soar on it’s Court Victory

Argentina ordered to pay at least $8.4B in YPF suit with claims owned by Burford

Argentina was ordered to pay at least $8.4B in damages in a U.S. lawsuit over its 2012 re-nationalization of state oil company YPF SA (YPF) in an order issued by U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The judge awarded the amount to entities backed by litigation funder Burford Capital (BUR), which acquired the right to pursue the claims for $16.6M in 2015.

The decision states in addition: “The Court also rejects the Republic’s effort to inject Burford Capital into these proceedings. This remains a case brought by plaintiffs against a defendant for its wrongful conduct towards them, and the relevant question is what the Republic owes Plaintiffs to compensate them for the loss of the use of their money, not what Plaintiffs have done or will do with what they are owed. The Republic owes no more or less because of Burford Capital’s involvement.”

Judge Loretta Preska

“Argentina has already pledged to appeal, which will likely delay payment for months or even years, but could also complicate its efforts to return to global debt markets,” according to Bloomberg’s reporting on the decision that was posted to the court’s website.

Burford Capital Limited (BUR) provides legal finance products and services worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Capital Provision, and Asset Management and Other Provision. The Capital Provision segment provides capital to the legal industry or in connection with legal matters directly and through investment in private funds. The Asset Management and Other Services segment provides services to the legal industry, including litigation insurance.

YPF Sociedad Anónima engages in the oil and gas upstream and downstream activities in Argentina. Its upstream operations include the exploration, exploitation, and production of crude oil, natural gas, and NGLs. The company’s downstream operations include the refining, marketing, and distribution of oil and petroleum products.

YPF is up 1% to $13.28. BUR is up 20% to $16.70.

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PGA TOUR and LIV Golf to Merge, Ending Lawsuits

PGA TOUR confirms deal to merge with LIV Golf

The PGA TOUR, DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour) and the Public Investment Fund announced a landmark agreement to unify the game of golf, on a global basis.

The proposed merger comes after the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have been embroiled in lawsuits regarding antitrust claims.

The deal would end all pending litigation.

The parties have signed an agreement that combines PIF’s golf-related commercial businesses and rights — including LIV Golf — with the commercial businesses and rights of the PGA TOUR and DP World Tour into a new, collectively owned, for-profit entity to ensure that all stakeholders benefit from a model that delivers maximum excitement and competition among the game’s best players.

In addition, PIF will make a capital investment into the new entity to facilitate its growth and success.

The new entity will implement a plan to grow these combined commercial businesses, drive greater fan engagement and accelerate growth initiatives already underway.

This announcement will be followed by a mutually agreed end to all pending litigation between the participating parties, the companies said.

Further, the three organizations will work cooperatively and in good faith to establish a fair and objective process for any players who desire to re-apply for membership with the PGA TOUR or the DP World Tour following the completion of the 2023 season and for determining fair criteria and terms of re-admission, consistent with each Tour’s policies.

Furthermore, the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia has been involved in promoting golf through its support for the Saudi International tournament, which is part of the European Tour. The PIF has been investing in various sectors, including sports and entertainment, as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify the country’s economy.

“We are pleased to move forward, in step with LIV and PIF’s world-class investing experience, and I applaud PIF Governor Yasir Al-Rumayyan for his vision and collaborative and forward-thinking approach that is not just a solution to the rift in our game, but also a commitment to taking it to new heights.

This will engender a new era in global golf, for the better.” Under the terms of the agreement, the Board of Directors of the new entity will oversee and direct all the new entity’s golf-related commercial operations, businesses and investments.

Did you know PGA Tour is a non-profit, tax exempt entity?

Separately, PGA TOUR Inc. will remain in place as a 501(c)(6) tax exempt organization and retains administrative oversight of events for those assets contributed by the PGA TOUR, including the sanctioning of events, the administration of the competition and rules, as well as all other “inside the ropes” responsibilities, with Jay Monahan as Commissioner and Ed Herlihy as PGA TOUR Policy Board Chairman.

Companies that offer golf products include Acushnet Holdings (GOLF) and Topgolf Callaway (MODG).

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Rig Counts declined last week!

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count down 9 to 711 rigs.

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. rig count is down 9 from last week to 711 with oil rigs down 5 to 570, gas rigs down 4 to 137 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 4.

The U.S. Rig Count is down 16 rigs from last year’s count of 727 with oil rigs down 4, gas rigs down 14 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 20, up 4 year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is up 2 from last week to 87, with oil rigs up 3 to 42, gas rigs down 1 to 45.

The Canada Rig Count is down 16 rigs from last year’s count of 103 with oil down 13, gas rigs down 3.

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 up $1.08 to $72.86 per barrel (52 weeks high of $122.10). Brent crude is up $1.07 to $77.12 per barre (52 weeks high of $123.58). Gasoline last traded at $2.702 per gallon (52 weeks high of $4.31 per gallon).

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Shares of Block lower on short seller report!

Block intends to explore legal action against Hindenburg Research

#Hindenburg Research has published a short report on Block (SQ), formerly known as Square, stating that the firm’s “2-year investigation has concluded that Block has systematically taken advantage of the demographics it claims to be helping.

The “magic” behind Block’s business has not been disruptive innovation, but rather the company’s willingness to facilitate fraud against consumers and the government, avoid regulation, dress up predatory loans and fees as revolutionary technology, and mislead investors with inflated metrics.”

The firm, which discloses that it has taken a short position in shares of Block, contends that the company “has misled investors on key metrics, and embraced predatory offerings and compliance worst-practices in order to fuel growth and profit from facilitation of fraud against consumers and the government.”

In addition, it believes “Jack Dorsey has built an empire-and amassed a $5 billion personal fortune-professing to care deeply about the demographics he is taking advantage of. With Dorsey and top executives already having sold over $1 billion in equity on Block’s meteoric pandemic run higher, they have ensured they will be fine, regardless of the outcome for everyone else.”

Block Responds

Block said in a statement: “We intend to work with the SEC and explore legal action against #Hindenburg Research for the factually inaccurate and misleading report they shared about our Cash App business today.

Hindenburg is known for these types of attacks, which are designed solely to allow short sellers to profit from a declined stock price. We have reviewed the full report in the context of our own data and believe it’s designed to deceive and confuse investors. We are a highly regulated public company with regular disclosures, and are confident in our products, reporting, compliance programs, and controls. We will not be distracted by typical short seller tactics.”

Robert Baird

Baird analyst David #Koning comments on a short report that is significantly weighing on Block shares in pre-market trading, noting that the report implies that the company’s CashApp is reasonably easy, or relatively easier than other banking services, for criminals to use and claims that CashApp is somewhat complicit in allowing this type of behavior.

However, the firm believes Block helps many underbanked access the financial markets and “like any organization probably has some clients that are criminals.” The firm views the stock as good value, but is concerned with the prevalence of any criminal activity and how this could impact investor sentiment, estimating that “in a pretty dire case” shedding 20% of accounts could impact about 8% of total gross profit. Baird has an Outperform rating and $92 price target on Block shares, which are down about 20% to $58.07 in early trading following Hindenburg Research’s short report.

KeyBanc

KeyBanc analyst Josh #Beck sees “no merit to the disparaging claims” made against Block by a “smaller outfit” that published a short report and rather views the report as “observations from a relatively novice industry outsider who is not familiar with standard operating practices and principles within the FinTech industry.”

The firm, which said Block is subject to numerous laws and regulations as a financial services provider, believes Block “fully complies with applicable regulations and laws and prevents the maximal amount of fraud possible within a business that is inherently subject to, while not immune to, any instances of fraud.” KeyBanc has an Overweight rating and $100 price target on Block shares, 

Mizuho

Mizuho analyst Dan #Dolev says Hindenburg Research’s short report “makes valid arguments,” such as the slowdown in inflows and sustainability of the instant deposit fees.

While this might increase regulatory scrutiny, other claims and risks around high, unregulated interchange fees and definition of monthly users are well known to investors, the analyst tells investors in a research note. The firm says other aspects of the report, like adding back stock based compensation after Block publicly shifted focus to include non-cash expenses in operating income, “may hold less water.”

Mizuho says the near-term bull case on Blok remains reaching better than expected profits helped by cost control. The long-term bull case remains creating a “unique” closed-loop payments network by connecting merchants and consumers, the firm adds. It has a Buy rating on the stock with a $93 price target.

Raymond James

Raymond James contends that this morning’s short report on Block issued by Hindenburg Research doesn’t include a lot of “new” news or a “bombshell” and argues that the biggest risk is potentially drawing scrutiny from regulators and politicians, which could create an overhang on the stock.

However, given the situation concerning SVB Financial (SIVB) and the current banking fallout, the firm would guess “this is way down the list of priorities” for financial regulators at this time.

The firm, which adds that “while being accused of overstating users certainly isn’t positive,” notes that there are no accusations of fraudulent accounting and the “revenue is real.” Raymond James has a Market Perform rating on Block shares.

RBC Capital

RBC Capital analyst Daniel Perlin made no change to the firm’s Outperform rating or $95 price target on shares of Block. The firm says the short report that was released today focuses on Block’s “underbanked” user base, as being a series of bad actors, enabling the overstatement of its users metrics, as well as BNPL via its acquisition of Afterpay, systematically embracing predatory pricing, the analyst tells investors in a research note.

RBC Capital’s view of the stock is unchanged, but thinks the negative overhang can persist for some time.

Shares of Block are down 20% to $58.10.

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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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AppLovin offers to buy Unity!

 ironSource drops as AppLovin’s Unity bid contingent on ironSource deal exit

Shares of ironSource (IS) are down 12%, to $4.16 in Tuesday morning trading after AppLovin (APP) announced it has submitted a non-binding proposal to the board of directors of Unity Software (U) to combine AppLovin with Unity in a stock-based transaction.

Under the terms offered, current Unity shareholders would receive approximately 55% of the outstanding shares of the combined company, with the Class A shares representing approximately 49% of the outstanding voting rights of the combined company.

AppLovin, which markets software platforms for app developers to help them find customers and bring in revenue, is offering gaming platform Unity an alternative to its recently announced a deal to buy IronSource.

The all-stock merger consideration payable in a mix of AppLovin Class A and Class C common stock would value Unity at $58.85 per share and $20B enterprise value, representing a 48% premium to the Unity share price as of July 12 and 18% to yesterday’s closing price based on the closing price of AppLovin’s Class A common stock on August 8, AppLovin stated.

The execution of a definitive merger agreement between AppLovin and Unity would be subject to approval by each company’s board of directors, the termination of the proposed acquisition of ironSource LTD, and other customary signing conditions, the company noted.

Previously, on July 13, Unity and ironSource had announced that they entered into a definitive agreement under which ironSource will merge into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unity via an all-stock deal, where each ordinary share of ironSource will be exchanged for 0.1089 shares of Unity common stock.

Under the terms of that deal, current Unity stockholders will own approximately 73.5% and current ironSource shareholders will own approximately 26.5% of the combined company.

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Alleghany sold for $11.6 billion

Berkshire Hathaway to acquire Alleghany for $848.02 per share

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A) and Alleghany (Y) jointly announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Berkshire Hathaway will acquire all outstanding Alleghany shares for $848.02 per share in cash.

Alleghany Corporation provides property and casualty reinsurance and insurance products in the United States and internationally. 

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by both boards of directors, represents a total equity value of approximately $11.6B.

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Buffett buys Alleghany

The acquisition price represents a multiple of 1.26 times Alleghany’s book value at December 31, 2021, a 29% premium to Alleghany’s average stock price over the last 30 days and a 16% premium to Alleghany’s 52-week high closing price.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Alleghany stockholders and receipt of regulatory approvals.

Alleghany will continue to operate as an independent subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway after closing.

Chairman Jefferson Kirby, who controls 2.5% of Alleghany common shares, intends to vote his shares for the transaction.

Under the terms of the definitive merger agreement, Alleghany may actively solicit and consider alternative acquisition proposals during a 25-day “go-shop” period.

Alleghany has the right to terminate the merger agreement to accept a superior proposal during the go-shop period, subject to the terms and conditions of the merger agreement.

There can be no assurances that the “go-shop” process will result in a superior proposal, and Alleghany does not intend to communicate developments regarding the process unless and until Alleghany’s board of directors makes a determination requiring further disclosure.

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Investor seeks sale of Everbridge

Ancora pushes Everbridge for sale, sees over $70 per share takeout value

Everbridge, Inc. (EVBG) operates as a software company, providing enterprise software applications that automate and accelerate organizations operational response to critical events in the United States and internationally. The company has a market cap of around $1.6B.

Ancora Holdings Group, which owns approximately 4% of Everbridge’s outstanding common stock, issued an open letter to the company’s board.

It states in part: “We have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing Everbridge’s corporate governance, executive compensation, operations and sales, and overall strategy.

Given the immense destruction of shareholder value that has occurred under the current leadership team, we call on the Board of Directors to commence an immediate exploration of strategic alternatives.

We believe Everbridge is dramatically undervalued at current stock prices, and a sale to a well-capitalized acquirer could deliver more than $70 per share, or a more than 90% premium, for shareholders based on recent valuation multiples for both public and private company peers…

We believe Everbridge is a valuable strategic asset addressing a mission critical need in a large market with vast upside potential.

We believe Everbridge is dramatically undervalued at current share prices, representing an attractive acquisition target to both strategic and financial buyers.

In our view, the issues the Company is facing are not structural, but rather self-inflicted due to incompetent leadership that has failed to execute.”

EVBG is up $3.53 to $40.12.

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Short Seller Targets Core Scientific

Culper Research short Core Scientific on ‘rigged deals,’ oversold businesses

In a recently published report titled “Core Scientific, Inc. (CORZ): Rigged Deals,” Culper Research says it is “short Core, as we think Core has wildly oversold both its mining and hosting businesses, which it cobbled together in a series of questionable transactions before dumping onto the public markets via SPAC.

Core’s acquired mining business, Blockcap, was formed in December 2020 with just $58.5 million, then flipped to Core for just 7 months later for $1.46 billion in connection with Core’s go-public.

We estimate Blockcap insiders made 20-25x their money.

On Monday, Core disclosed that its board waived the 180- day lockup on over 282 million shares, making them free to be dumped just 5 trading days from today.

We believe this shows insiders have abandoned any pretense of care for minority shareholders.”

“We think Core is no exception to what’s become a steady drumbeat of egregious projections made by many SPACs. We think both Core’s hosting business and its self-mining business have been wildly overhyped, and it’s no wonder that insiders can’t even wait 6 months to clamor for the exits,” the report reads.

“We also think Core has wildly overhyped the profitability of its self-mining business, where we estimate all-in breakeven costs of $41,723 per BTC (Bitcoin) vs. the Company’s SPAC claims of $2,700 just in power costs per BTC.

As such, we see Core as effectively using public markets to throw good money after bad while insiders set themselves up to dump billions worth of stock.”

In Thursday trading, shares of Core Scientific have dropped almost 3% to $7.50.

According to Wikipedia, being short in an asset means investing in such a way that the investor will profit if the value of the asset falls. This is the opposite of a more conventional “long” position, where the investor will profit if the value of the asset rises.

There are a number of ways of achieving a short position. The most fundamental method is “physical” selling short or short-selling, which involves borrowing assets (often securities such as shares or bonds) and selling them. The investor will later purchase the same number of the same type of securities in order to return them to the lender.

Core Scientific, Inc. (CORZ) last traded at $7.15.

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Epam shares tumble on Ukraine exposure

 Epam Systems withdraws Q1, FY22 guidance due to events in Ukraine

EPAM Systems (EPAM) announced it is withdrawing its first quarter and 2022 financial outlook due to heightened uncertainties and regional impacts resulting from military actions in Ukraine.

EPAM Systems, Inc. provides digital platform engineering and software development services in North America, Europe, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Georgia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Australia. 

“EPAM’s highest priority is the safety and security of its employees and their families in Ukraine. The company is proactively working to relocate its employees to lower risk locations in Ukraine and neighboring countries.

The company is executing business continuity plans and accelerating hiring across multiple locations in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, and India.

EPAM continues to operate productively in more than 40 countries and is committed to providing consistent high-quality delivery in all our geographies around the world,” the company said.

Shares of the Newton Pennsylvania company are down 46% to $207.75. Stock has a 52-week trading range of $198.25 to $725.40. Today’s loss took the shares back to 2020 levels, wiping out two years of gains.

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U.S. Ecology sold for $2.2 billion

Republic Services to acquire US Ecology for $48.00 per share in cash

Republic Services (RSG) and US Ecology (ECOL) have entered into a definitive agreement under which Republic Services will acquire all outstanding shares of US Ecology for $48 per share in cash, representing a total value of approximately $2.2B including net debt of approximately $0.7B.

US Ecology, Inc. provides environmental services to commercial and government entities in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Mexico, internationally. It operates through three segments: Waste Solutions, Field Services, and Energy Waste. It offers specialty waste management services, including treatment, disposal, beneficial re-use, and recycling of hazardous, non-hazardous, and other specialty waste at company-owned treatment, storage, and disposal facilities, as well as wastewater treatment services.

Republic Services, Inc. provides non-hazardous solid waste collection, transfer, disposal, recycling, and environmental services in the United States. 

The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

Republic Services intends to finance the transaction using existing and new sources of debt.

Following completion of the transaction, Republic Services expects to maintain a strong balance sheet and solid investment-grade credit rating.

The company plans net debt-to-EBITDA, as defined in our credit agreement, to return back below 3x within 18 months of closing the transaction.

The transaction was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close by the end of the second quarter, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by holders of a majority of the outstanding shares of US Ecology’s common stock.

ECOL is up $19.28 to $47.48. RSG is up 24 cents to $127.19.

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Kohl’s rejects takeover offer!

Says offer does not reflect company’s true value

Read our blog about the offer.

Kohl’s (KSS) issued the following statement:

“The Kohl’s Board of Directors (the Board) has determined, following a review with its independent financial advisors and upon the recommendation of its Finance Committee, that the valuations indicated in the current expressions of interest which it has received do not adequately reflect the Company’s value in light of its future growth and cash flow generation.

The Board is committed to maximizing the long-term value of the Company and will review and pursue opportunities that it believes would credibly lead to value consistent with its performance and future opportunities.

The Board has designated its Finance Committee to lead the ongoing review of any expressions of interest. The Finance Committee, which was formed pursuant to the 2021 settlement agreement with Macellum Advisors GP, LLC and other shareholders, is comprised exclusively of independent directors.

The Company and the Board have also engaged financial advisors, including Goldman Sachs and PJT Partners, and have asked Goldman Sachs to engage with interested parties. The Board will continue to pursue all reasonable opportunities to drive value, consistent with its fiduciary obligations. The Company looks forward to updating shareholders on its ongoing strategic initiatives and capital allocation plans at Kohl’s Investor Day on March 7, 2022.”

Shareholders Disappointed:

Macellum Advisors GP, a long-term holder of nearly 5% of the outstanding common shares of Kohl’s Corporation, issued the below statement in response to the company’s announcement that its Board of Directors has rejected recent indications of interest and adopted a two-tiered shareholder rights plan that seems particularly punitive to any investor that may seek more active engagement with the Board. Jonathan Duskin, Macellum’s Managing Partner, commented:

We are disappointed and shocked by Kohl’s hasty rejection of confirmed indications of interest.

This morning’s rejections – which come just two weeks after outreach from potential acquirers – only validates for us that a majority of the Board is entrenched and lacks objectivity when it comes to evaluating value-maximizing sale opportunities relative to management’s historically ineffective standalone plans. We doubt that interested parties were given adequate consideration or access to management, data rooms and the type of information required to inform upward adjustments to bids.

Moreover, it appears that the Board has not authorized its bankers to canvass the market and initiate substantive conversations with other logical suiters. Even if some of our fellow shareholders want the Board to compare sale opportunities to management’s go-forward strategy, we fear the Company’s actions and statements demonstrate a lack of impartiality and strategic thinking in the boardroom.”

Duskin added: “We will do everything in our power to prevent the current Board from continuing to chill a normal-course sales process. In our view, the Board’s cumbersome Friday morning press release and adoption of a poison pill that has a lower trigger for investors that may seek more active engagement with the Company demonstrate shareholders’ interests are not the top priority in the boardroom.

It seems to us that the Board is taking unprecedented steps to derail a credible process and kill interest among the growing crop of possible buyers of Kohl’s. Fortunately, the slate we plan to nominate in the coming days will be far more aligned, experienced and openminded when it comes to pursuing all paths to maximizing value.”

KSS +$1.35 to $59.94

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Cedar Fair receives take over offer!

Cedar Fair jumps after Bloomberg report of SeaWorld takeover bid

SeaWorld Entertainment (SEAS) has offered to buy Cedar Fair (FUN) for around $3.4B or $60 per share, Bloomberg reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Cedar Fair owns and operates amusement and water parks, and complementary resort facilities in the United States and Canada. Its amusement parks include Cedar Point located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo in Sandusky, Ohio; Knott’s Berry Farm near Los Angeles, California; Canada’s Wonderland near Toronto, Ontario; Kings Island near Cincinnati, Ohio; Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina; Kings Dominion situated near Richmond, Virginia; California’s Great America located in Santa Clara, California; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Worlds of Fun located in Kansas City, Missouri; Valleyfair situated near Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Michigan’s Adventure situated near Muskegon, Michigan; Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort New Braunfels in New Braunfels, Texas; and Schlitterbahn Waterpark Galveston in Galveston, Texas. 

SeaWorld Entertainment operates as a theme park and entertainment company in the United States. The company operates SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, Florida; San Antonio, Texas; and San Diego, California, as well as Busch Gardens theme parks in Tampa, Florida, and Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Cedar Fair Properties

The companies are working with advisers on the proposal and deliberations are ongoing, sources told Bloomberg.

It is unclear if the approach will lead to a transaction, they added.

Shares of SeaWorld are little changed at $59.29 following the report while Cedar Fair halted for volatility after jumping 11% to $55.59.

Six Flags Entertainment (SIX), which owns amusement parks like Cedar Fair, is up 5% to $41.60 following the report.

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Mirage Hotel sold for $1.075B

Hard Rock International to buy The Mirage Hotel & Casino from MGM

MGM Resorts International (MGM) announced an agreement with Hard Rock International to sell the operations of The Mirage Hotel & Casino (“The Mirage”). The deal, which is valued at $1.075 billion in cash. The deal is likely to be completed in the second half of 2022, subject to regulatory approvals.

The Mirage, which was opened in 1989, was acquired by MGM Resorts in 2000. Per the agreement, MGM Resorts will retain “The Mirage name and brand, licensing it to Hard Rock royalty-free for a maximum period of three years while it finalizes its plans to rebrand the property.”

MGM Resorts anticipates net cash proceeds following taxes and estimated fees to be nearly $815 million. 

Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sachs analyst Stephen Grambling notes that MGM Resorts (MGM) announced it has entered into an agreement to sell the operations of The Mirage to Hard Rock International for $1.075B in cash and $815M after taxes and estimated fees.

Concurrently, VICI Properties (VICI) announced that in connection with the deal, they have agreed to enter into a new separate lease with Hard Rock related to the operations of the Mirage with similar terms as the current MGM Master Lease, Grambling adds, highlighting that VICI has entered into an agreement to purchase MGP, of which MGM is a controlling shareholder.

The analyst believes the deal could be a strategic positive to MGM given the potential to drive deleveraging for the enterprise. He also notes the property had seen improving margins but decelerating growth pre-pandemic, and may require substantial capex to be reinvigorated. The deal therefore would allow MGM to focus on capital allocation elsewhere, the analyst argues. Grambling has a Neutral rating on MGM Resorts with a price target of $49.

CBRE

CBRE analyst John DeCree called this a “record multiple” as well as a “winner, winner, chicken dinner deal for all parties involved, plus some bystanders,” such as Wynn (WYNN) and Caesars (CZR), who have significant Las Vegas exposure.

Mirage sets a new bar for Las Vegas operating company valuation, which makes DeCree tell investors that he “can’t help but get excited about the prospects” for Caesars, which is planning to sell one of its Vegas resorts in early 2022, and Wynn, which “is sitting on what is arguably the most valuable casino resort in Las Vegas, if not the country,” according to the analyst. DeCree has Buy ratings on MGM, Caesars and Wynn shares.

MGM is up $1.26 to $41.60.

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NeoPhotonics sold for $918M

 Lumentum to acquire NeoPhotonics for $16 per share in cash

Lumentum (LITE) and NeoPhotonics (NPTN) announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Lumentum will acquire NeoPhotonics for $16.00 per share in cash, which represents a total equity value of approximately $918M.

NeoPhotonics Corporation develops, manufactures, and sells optoelectronic products that transmit and receive high speed digital optical signals for cloud and hyperscale data center internet content provider and telecom networks worldwide.

Lumentum Holdings Inc. manufactures and sells optical and photonic products in the Americas, the Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. The company operates in two segments, Optical Communications (OpComms) and Commercial Lasers (Lasers). 

Laser chips made by Lumentum

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

The purchase price represents a premium of approximately 39% to NeoPhotonics’ closing stock price on November 3, 2021.

Laser chips made by NeoPhotonics

Lumentum intends to finance the transaction through cash from the combined company’s balance sheet.

Related to the transaction, Lumentum will provide up to $50M in term loans to NeoPhotonics to fund anticipated growth, which may require increased working capital and manufacturing capacity.

The transaction is expected to close in the second half of calendar year 2022, subject to approval by NeoPhotonics’ stockholders, receipt of regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

“With NeoPhotonics, we’re making another important investment in better serving our customers and expanding our photonics capabilities at a time when photonics are at the forefront of favorable long-term market trends. At the center of our strategy is a relentless focus on developing a differentiated portfolio with the most innovative products and technology in our industry so that we can help our customers compete and win in their respective markets.

Adding NeoPhotonics’ differentiated products and technology and innovative R&D team is consistent with this strategy and together, we will better meet the growing need for next generation optical networking solutions. We are confident this transaction will make us an even better partner to our customers, while enabling our team to deliver significant, long-term value to our stockholders. We look forward to welcoming NeoPhotonics’ talented team of employees to Lumentum,” said Alan Lowe, Lumentum President and CEO.

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