Glaukos posts positive glaucoma data

iStent reduced IOP, lowered medication burden in patients

iStent reduced IOP, lowered medication burden in patients. Stockwinners.com
iStent reduced IOP, lowered medication burden in patients

Glaukos Corporation (GKOS) announced that a study published in the January 2018 issue of the Journal of Glaucoma showed that a single iStent Trabecular Micro-Bypass Stent implanted during cataract surgery in patients with severe open-angle glaucoma achieved mean postoperative intraocular pressure of 14.1 mm Hg and a 28% reduction in the mean number of glaucoma medications used after 36 months of follow-up.

The retrospective case series included 59 glaucomatous eyes with cataracts and severe visual field loss.

At baseline, the medicated mean IOP was 19.3 mm Hg and the mean number of topical glaucoma medications used per eye was 2.3. In 49 eyes followed for 24 months after iStent implantation and concomitant cataract surgery, mean postoperative IOP decreased to 14.9 mm Hg while the mean number of glaucoma medications used per eye declined to 1.6. In a consistent cohort of 32 eyes with available data through three years postoperative, the IOP reduction was maintained.

At three years, this cohort achieved a mean postoperative IOP of 14.1 mm Hg, from a baseline mean medicated IOP of 18.1 mm Hg, and a 28% reduction in mean glaucoma medications used per eye from 2.44 preoperatively to 1.75.

“While many prior studies have documented the clinical benefits of combining iStent implantation with cataract surgery in glaucoma patients who are in the mild to moderate stage of the disease, we believe this is the first published study to focus on its use in severe glaucoma patients undergoing cataract surgery,” said John Berdahl MD, a South Dakota-based ophthalmic surgeon and one of the article’s authors.

“Our study showed that severe glaucoma patients experienced sustained reductions in IOP and medication use through three years postoperative.”

GKOS closed at $29.26.


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Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down, Matt Maddox named CEO

Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down. Stockwinners.com
Wynn Resorts CEO Steve Wynn steps down

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) released the following statements today regarding Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn:

The board of Wynn Resorts reluctantly announced that it accepted the resignation of Steve Wynn as CEO and Chairman of the board. The board has appointed Matt Maddox, currently President of the company, as its CEO, and Boone Wayson as Non-Executive Chairman of the board, effective immediately.

“It is with a collective heavy heart, that the board of Wynn Resorts accepted the resignation of our founder, CEO and friend Steve Wynn,” said non-executive director of the board Boone Wayson.

“Steve Wynn is an industry giant. He is a philanthropist and a beloved leader and visionary. He played the pivotal role in transforming Las Vegas into the entertainment destination it is today. He also assembled a world-class team of executives that will continue to meet the high standards of excellence that Steve Wynn created and the Wynn brand has come to represent.”

Steve Wynn created modern Las Vegas. He transformed the city into an economic powerhouse by making it a world-wide tourist destination.

He designed, built and operated the most iconic resorts on the Las Vegas strip, beginning with the Mirage, then Treasure Island, the Bellagio, Wynn Las Vegas and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

Wynn Macau, Wynn’s first resort in the SAR of Macau in China, was designated by Forbes Travel Guide as the best resort in the world.

Along with Wynn Palace in Cotai, the company built by Steve Wynn has been recognized as having more Five Star awards than any independent hotel company in the world.

Wynn Resorts remains as committed as ever to upholding the highest standards and being an inclusive and supportive employer. In fact, more than 40% of all Wynn Las Vegas management are women; the highest in the gaming industry.

The company will continue to fully focus on its operations at Wynn Macau, Wynn Palace and Wynn Las Vegas; the development and opening of the first phase of Wynn Paradise Park, currently under construction on the former Wynn golf course; as well as the construction of Wynn Boston Harbor, which will open in June 2019.

Details of Mr. Wynn’s separation agreement will be disclosed when they are finalized.

Steve Wynn released the following statement: “In the last couple of weeks, I have found myself the focus of an avalanche of negative publicity. As I have reflected upon the environment this has created – one in which a rush to judgment takes precedence over everything else, including the facts – I have reached the conclusion I cannot continue to be effective in my current roles.

Therefore, effective immediately, I have decided to step down as CEO and Chairman of the Board of Wynn Resorts, a company I founded and that I love.

The Wynn Resorts team and I have built houses of brick. Which is to say, the institution we created – a collection of the finest designers and architects ever assembled, as well as an operating philosophy now ingrained in the minds and hearts of our entire team – will remain standing for the long term. I am extremely proud of everything we have built at this company.

Most of all, I am proud of our employees. The succession plan laid out by the board and which I wholeheartedly endorse now places Matt Maddox in the CEO seat.

With Matt, Wynn Resorts is in good hands. He and his team are well positioned to carry on the plans and vision for the company I created. I want to thank all of the employees who have made Wynn Resorts the most admired resort company in the world, and for the support I have received from them in recent weeks.

Most importantly, I want everyone to continue to be proud of this company and the many unique ways it will forever continue to delight guests.”

WYNN closed at $163.22, it last traded at $176.34.


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International rig counts rise

Baker Hughes reports January international rig count up by 6 to 960 rigs

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Rig Counts Rise

Baker Hughes (BHGE) reported international rig count for January 2018 was 960, up 6 from the 954 counted in December 2017, and up 27 from the 933 counted in January 2017.

The international offshore rig count for January 2018 was 196, up 5 from the 191 counted in December 2017, and down 10 from the 206 counted in January 2017.

The average US rig count for January 2018 was 937, up 7 from the 930 counted in December 2017, and up 254 from the 683 counted in January 2017.

The average Canadian rig count for January 2018 was 278, up 73 from the 205 counted in December 2017, and down 24 from the 302 counted in January 2017.

The worldwide rig count for January 2018 was 2,175, up 86 from the 2,089 counted in December 2017, and up 257 from the 1,918 counted in January 2017.

WTI crude is down 33 cents to $63.06 pr barrel.


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Changes to S&P MidCap 400, S&P SmallCap 600 indices

Changes to S&P MidCap 400, S&P SmallCap 600 indices

Stocks to buy, stocks to watch, upgrades, downgrades, earnings
Changes to S&P MidCap 400, S&P SmallCap 600 indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices will make the following changes to the S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600:

S&P SmallCap 600 constituent Boyd Gaming (BYD) will replace CalAtlantic Group (CAA) in the S&P MidCap 400, and Ring Energy (REI) will replace Boyd Gaming in the S&P SmallCap 600 effective prior to the open of trading on Tuesday, February 13.

S&P 500 constituent Lennar (LEN) is acquiring CalAtlantic Group in a deal expected to be completed on or about February 12 pending final approvals.

James River Group Holdings (JRVR) will replace Barracuda Networks (CUDA) in the S&P SmallCap 600 effective prior to the open of trading on Monday, February 12.

Thoma Bravo is acquiring Barracuda Networks in a deal expected to be completed on or about that date pending final conditions.

EVERTEC (EVTC) will replace Sucampo Pharmaceuticals (SCMP) in the S&P SmallCap 600 effective prior to the open of trading on Wednesday, February 14.

S&P 500 constituent Mallinckrodt (MNK) is acquiring Sucampo Pharmaceuticals in a deal expected to be completed on or about that date pending final conditions.


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Lululemon CEO resigns over misconduct accusations

lululemon CEO Potdevin resigns over misconduct accusations 

Lululemon CEO resigns over misconduct accusations. Stockwinners.com
Lululemon CEO resigns over misconduct accusations

Shares of lululemon athletica (LULU) are in focus after the company announced the resignation of chief executive officer Laurent Potdevin for “conduct” issues.

CEO RESIGNATION

lululemon announced yesterday that Laurent Potdevin has resigned as CEO and member of the board of directors, effective immediately. Potdevin had served as CEO since January 2014.

lululemon expects all employees to exemplify the highest levels of integrity and respect for one another, and Potdevin “fell short of these standards of conduct,” the company said, adding that the board has begun a search for a new CEO.

“While this was a difficult and considered decision, the Board thanks Laurent for his work in strengthening the company and positioning it for the future,” said Glenn Murphy, executive chairman.

“Culture is at the core of lululemon, and it is the responsibility of leaders to set the right tone in our organization. Protecting the organization’s culture is one of the Board’s most important duties.”

Lululemon has promoted three members of its management team — Celeste Burgoyne, Stuart Haselden and Sun Choe — to oversee more day-to-day operations, marketing, e-commerce growth, product innovation and supply chain enhancements.

According to a Bloomberg report, Potdevin’s resignation was over misconduct that spanned a range of incidents involving multiple individuals. The misconduct was not related to finances or operations, the report noted.

GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED

In the wake of Potdevin’s resignation, lululemon looked to reassure investors by backing its fourth quarter guidance of earnings per share between $1.25-$1.27 and revenue of $905M-$915M, which compares to analysts’ estimates of $1.27 and $911.67M, respectively.

In addition, the company’s growth strategies remain on track to achieve $4B in revenue in 2020.

ANALYST COMMENTARY

Following the announcement, Jefferies analyst Randal Konik said the level of management turnover at lululemon during “this critical juncture in the company’s growth trajectory gives us some pause.”

The analyst sees better opportunities elsewhere given lululemon’s “high” valuation and “less plentiful” margin opportunity. He maintained a Hold rating on lululemon with a $72 price target.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank analyst Paul Trussell said that while he finds the circumstances of Potdevin’s resignation unfortunate, he has confidence in the remainder of lululemon’s management team, particularly Glenn Murphy.

The analyst recommended using any pullback in the shares as a buying opportunity and reiterated a Buy rating with a $95 price target. Citi analyst Paul Lejuez said he views the resignation as more of a positive for lululemon.

It presents the company with an opportunity to bring in a seasoned executive to take lululemon “to the next level,” the analyst said.

Lejeuz kept a Neutral rating on the shares with an $88 price target.

Additionally, KeyBanc analyst Edward Yruma said he views the departure negatively, and notes it comes after creative director Lee Holman’s departed in November.

The analyst believes Potdevin has been an integral part of the company’s stabilized performance in recent quarters.

Canaccord analyst Camilo Lyon said he does not see the departure as a major setback, but notes there is a level of uncertainty until the position is filled. Lyon reiterated his Hold rating and $75 price target.

Furthermore, Morgan Stanley analyst Kimberly Greenberger said it is likely that investors will speculate the top two contenders for the job are Murphy, executive chairman and ex-CEO of The Gap (GPS), and Stefan Larsson, the ex-CEO Ralph Lauren (RL). If lululemon picks either, Greenberger would expect the stock to react positively.

The analyst kept an Equal Weight rating and $73 price target on lululemon.

PRICE ACTION

lululemon is down 0.75% to $76.85.


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Midstates Petroleum proposes merger with SandRidge Energy

Midstates Petroleum proposes all-stock combination with SandRidge Energy

Midstates Petroleum calls for merger with SandRidge Energy. Stockwinners.com
Midstates Petroleum calls for merger with SandRidge Energy

Midstates Petroleum Company (MPO) announced that it has proposed to combine with SandRidge Energy (SD) in an all-stock merger that would create the leading exploration and production company in the Mississippian Lime play.

Earlier today, Midstates sent a letter to the Board of Directors of SandRidge detailing the merger proposal and its strong desire to negotiate a friendly transaction.

Given the highly complementary nature of the businesses, significant shareholder overlap, and the substantial operational synergies, Midstates believes that the proposed combination is attractive strategically and financially for the shareholders of both companies.

Under the terms of the proposal, SandRidge shareholders would own approximately 60% of the combined company and Midstates shareholders would own 40%.

David J. Sambrooks, Midstates President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are ready to move forward immediately to negotiate a merger agreement to form a stronger, more formidable company.

The combined company will have zero net debt, strong liquidity, and forecasted free cash flow generation of up to $480 million over the next five years.”

Sambrooks continued, “Combining these two businesses in an at-market merger would bring undeniable benefits to shareholders of both companies.

The strategic fit and geographic overlap of both companies’ assets in the Miss Lime and NW STACK builds critical mass, creates significant synergies, and generates superior, risk-adjusted returns.”

Midstates is making this proposal public to inform both Midstates and SandRidge shareholders of the compelling value creation potential of the combination and to encourage SandRidge’s board to move towards a negotiated transaction.

MPO closed at $15.45. SD closed at $16.50.


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Corcept sinks after Teva submits application to sell Korlym

Corcept sinks after Teva submits application to sell Korlym in U.S. 

Corcept sinks after Teva submits application to sell Korlym. Stockwinners.com
Corcept sinks after Teva submits application to sell Korlym

Corcept Therapeutics (CORT) announced in a regulatory filing that it received a Paragraph IV Notice Letter advising that Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application to the FDA seeking authorization to manufacture, use or sell a generic version of Korlym in the United States.

KORLYM is a prescription medicine used to treat high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) caused by high cortisol levels in the blood (hypercortisolism) in adults with endogenous Cushing’s syndrome who have type 2 diabetes mellitus or glucose intolerance and have failed surgery or cannot have surgery.

Korlym is a glucocorticoid receptor antagonist that is indicated to control hyperglycemia associated with Cushing’s syndrome, a rare, debilitating endocrine disorder. Cushing’s syndrome is caused by prolonged exposure to elevated levels of glucocorticoids (hypercortisolism). The potent metabolic effects of excess cortisol influence many tissues and body systems, and patients often have many problems, including diabetes, obesity, muscle wasting, depression, cognitive difficulties, and psychosis.

The Notice Letter contains Paragraph IV certifications against certain of Corcept’s patents related to Korlym, the company points out. The Notice Letter also alleges that the Korlym patents, the ‘348 patent with an expiration date in August 2028 and the ‘495 patent with an expiration date in August 2036, will not be infringed by Teva’s proposed product, are invalid and/or are unenforceable.

“The Company intends to vigorously defend its extensive intellectual property rights related to Korlym,” Corcept stated.


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Barron’s is bullish on Danaher and GM

Barron’s, the weekly publication owned by the Wall Street Journal, in its latest issue mentions several names:  

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Stockwinners offers Barron’s review of stocks to buy, stocks to watch

BULLISH   MENTIONS:

Danaher among more reliable stocks– Danaher’s (DHR) results were met with cries of sell even though they were stellar as ever, sending the shares into negative territory on Monday, Ben Levisohn writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Fast-forward to Friday, the stock market was in freefall but the stock weathered the blast, he notes, adding that there is something to be said for Danaher’s consistency. While it will never be the fastest grower, it has grown sales at 4%-5%, quarter after quarter, while cutting costs and improving efficiency to grow earnings, making it one of the more reliable stocks out there, the report says.

General Motors shares could rise more than 35% – General Motors (GM) has been turning in strong profits, which have helped it fund research into autonomous and electric cars, Jack Hough writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. When Tesla’s (TSLA) stock-market value surpassed General Motors last year, it was big news, but recently the latter has edged back into the top spot, he adds. Selling at just seven times forward earnings, General Motors shares have room to rise more than 35% in the year ahead, Hough contends.

Cisco, Oracle among stocks with rising dividend estimates – Some of the large-cap companies whose dividend estimates for their current fiscal year have increased by at least 2% since July include Cisco (CSCO), Texas Instruments (TXN), UnitedHealth (UNH), Oracle (ORCL), Comcast (CMCSA), 3M (MMM), AbbVie (ABBV), Boeing (BA), Union Pacific (UNP), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Wells Fargo (WFC) and JPMorgan (JPM), Lawrence Strauss writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

TD Ameritrade adding round-the-clock trading – TD Ameritrade  (AMTD) is offering customers more social media capabilities and has added round-the-clock trading in 12 exchange-traded funds, from Sunday evening through Friday evening using its thinkorswim trading platform or TD Ameritrade Mobile Trader app, Theresa Carey writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.

Apple, Facebook facing challenges, shares still holding up well – Considering the challenges they face, both Apple (AAPL) and Facebook (FB) shares held up well, Tiernan Ray writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Apple offered a forecast for its March quarter that missed expectations, and Wall Street now thinks that the company is reaching a bit too far in pricing the iPhone X at $999-$1150, he notes. Nonetheless, Apple is still an empire very much in control of its destiny, Ray contends. Meanwhile, Facebook said people are spending less time than before on the site, but Mark Zuckerberg calmly assured the Street that he thinks it is a good thing, the report points out.

Cisco, Salesforce among most sustainable companies – Cisco (CSCO) tops Barron’s first annual list of most sustainable companies, followed by Salesforce (CRM), Best Buy (BBY), Intuit (INTU), HP Inc. (HPQ), Texas Instruments (TXN), Microsoft (MSFT), Oshkosh (OSK), Clorox (CLX) and Xylem (XYL).

Spirit Air offers plenty of potential upside – Following a steep decline, shares of Spirit Airlines (SAVE) now trade for less than 12 times forward earnings estimates, a good value or growth play, Brett Arends writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s. Long-term investors may need to be patient because short-term headwinds pop up so frequently for airline stocks, but in return for its risks, Spirit offers reasonable valuations and plenty of potential upside, he argues

BEARISH  MENTIONS:

Musk new compensation package sets wrong targets – Tesla’s  (TSLA) new 10-year compensation package, which considers that Elon Musk could grow the company’s market capitalization from the current $58B to $650B in 2028, is not shareholder-friendly as it emphasizes market cap goals, not sustainable profits, Vito Racanelli writes in this week’s edition of Barron’s.


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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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Ply Gem sold for $2.4B

Ply Gem to be acquired by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in deal valued at $2.4B

Ply Gem to be acquired by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice in deal valued at $2.4B. Stockwinners.com
Ply Gem sold for $2.4B

Ply Gem Holdings (PGEM) and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice announced a definitive agreement under which CD&R funds will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Ply Gem common stock in a go-private transaction valued at approximately $2.4B.

Ply Gem’s board of directors unanimously approved the agreement, which provides for the payment of $21.64 per share in cash to all holders of Ply Gem common stock.

The cash purchase price represents a premium of approximately 20% over Ply Gem’s closing stock price on January 30, 2018.

Promptly following entry into the agreement, stockholders holding greater than 50% of the outstanding shares of Ply Gem common stock executed a written consent to approve the transaction, thereby providing the required stockholder approval.

CD&R has also entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Atrium Windows & Doors and combine the company with Ply Gem to create an exterior building products company with total revenue of more than $2.4B in 2017.

The transactions are expected to close simultaneously in the second quarter of 2018 and are subject to the receipt of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Closing of the acquisition of Ply Gem is not subject to the closing of the acquisition of Atrium.

However, assuming both transactions close simultaneously, CD&R funds will own approximately 70% of the new privately-held company, and Atrium shareholders, which include funds managed by Golden Gate Capital, will hold approximately 30%.

The new Ply Gem will continue to be headquartered in Cary, NC, and Gary E. Robinette, currently Chairman and CEO of Ply Gem, will continue as Chairman and CEO. John Krenicki, a CD&R Operating Partner and former Vice Chairman of General Electric Company, will become Lead Director of the Board.

Ply Gem Holdings, Inc. manufactures and sells residential and commercial building products primarily in the United States and Canada.


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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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Callidus Software sold for $2.4 billion

SAP to acquire Callidus Software for $36 per share

SAP to acquire Callidus Software for $36 per share. Stockwinners.com
SAP to acquire Callidus Software for $36 per share

SAP SE (SAP) and Callidus Software (CALD) announced that SAP America, Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire CallidusCloud.

The CallidusCloud board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. The per share purchase price of $36.00 represents a 21% premium over the 30-day volume weighted average price per share and a 28% premium over CallidusCloud’s 90-day volume weighted average price per share.

The per share price represents an enterprise value of approximately $2.4B. SAP has elected to fund the transaction with existing cash balances and an acquisition term loan.

The transaction is expected to close in Q2, subject to approval from CallidusCloud stockholders, clearances by the relevant regulatory authorities, and other customary closing conditions.

The transaction is expected to be essentially neutral to SAP’s non-IFRS EPS for FY18 and accretive to SAP’s non-IFRS EPS for FY19.

Upon completion of the transaction, SAP expects to consolidate all CallidusCloud product assets within SAP Hybris solutions as part of SAP’s Cloud Business Group.

The existing management team will continue to lead CallidusCloud. The SAP Cloud Platform is to be used for the technical integration of CallidusCloud solutions.


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Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

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Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) announced that they are partnering on ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare. Stockwinners.com
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan to partner on employee healthcare

The three companies, which bring their scale and complementary expertise to this long-term effort, will pursue this objective through an independent company that is free from profit-making incentives and constraints.

The initial focus of the new company will be on technology solutions that will provide U.S. employees and their families with simplified, high-quality and transparent healthcare at a reasonable cost.

The effort announced today is in its early planning stages, with the initial formation of the company jointly spearheaded by Todd Combs, an investment officer of Berkshire Hathaway; Marvelle Sullivan Berchtold, a Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase; and Beth Galetti, a Senior Vice President at Amazon.

The longer-term management team, headquarters location and key operational details will be communicated in due course.

Health insurance companies are lower in pre-market trading on the news.

Shares of the owners of pharmacy benefit managers, including Express Scripts (ESRX), CVS Health (CVS) and UnitedHealth (UNH), are sliding after Amazon (AMZN), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM) announced that they are partnering on “ways to address healthcare for their U.S. employees, with the aim of improving employee satisfaction and reducing costs.” The three companies will pursue this objective through an independent company that is “free from profit-making incentives and constraints,” they announced earlier this morning.


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Dr Pepper Snapple to merge with Keurig

 Dr Pepper Snapple, Keurig Green Mountain announce merger agreement

Dr Pepper Snapple investors to receive special cash dividend of $103.75/share. Stockwinners.com
Dr Pepper Snapple investors to receive special cash dividend of $103.75/share.

Dr Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) and Keurig Green Mountain (MDLZ) announced that the companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), a new beverage company of scale with a portfolio of iconic consumer brands and unrivaled distribution capability to reach virtually every point-of-sale in North America.

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Dr Pepper Snapple Board of Directors, Dr Pepper Snapple shareholders will receive $103.75 per share in a special cash dividend and retain 13% of the combined company.

KDP will have pro forma combined 2017 annual revenues of approximately $11 billion. Dirk Van de Put, CEO of Mondelez International (MDLZ), which will have a significant stake in KDP, said, “We have been very pleased with our coffee partnership with Keurig, and strongly support the strategic rationale for this transaction.

We look forward to continuing to participate in the compelling value-creation and long-term growth opportunities inherent in this powerful beverage platform.”

KDP targets realizing $600 million in synergies on an annualized basis by 2021. Dr Pepper Snapple expects to pay its first quarter ordinary course dividend of $0.58 per share.

At the close of the transaction, the company expects to deliver an annual dividend of $0.60 per share. The company will deliver strong cash flow generation and accelerate its deleveraging, with a target Net Debt/EBITDA of below 3.0x within two to three years after closing.

KDP anticipates total net debt at closing to be approximately $16.6 billion and it anticipates maintaining an investment grade rating.


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Ablynx sold for EUR 3.9 billion

Sanofi acquires Ablynx for EUR 45 per share or EUR 3.9B

 Novo Nordisk offers to acquire Ablynx. Stockwinners.com
Sanofi acquires Ablynx for EUR 45 per share

Sanofi (SNY) and Ablynx (ABLX) entered into a definitive agreement under which Sanofi will offer to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares, including shares represented by American Depositary Shares, warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx at a price per Ablynx share of EUR 45 in cash, which represents an aggregate equity value of approximately EUR 3.9B.

The transaction was unanimously approved by both the boards. Under the terms of the agreement, Sanofi will launch public offers to acquire all of the outstanding ordinary shares, warrants and convertible bonds of Ablynx in cash.

The public offers are expected to be launched by the beginning of Q2.

In accordance with the Belgian requirement of certainty of funds, Sanofi has entered into a bank credit facility, BNP Paribas Fortis acting as the sole credit facility arranger.

Subject to the satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of Q2. Sanofi added, “The addition of Ablynx is anticipated to drive meaningful long-term value for Sanofi’s shareholders by enhancing its pipeline and research capabilities. Including R&D expenses, the acquisition is expected to be neutral to Business EPS in 2018 and 2019.”


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