Reata Pharmaceuticals sold for $7.3B

Biogen to acquire Reata Pharmaceuticals for $172.50 per share in cash

Biogen Inc. (BIIB) and Reata Pharmaceuticals (RETA) announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Biogen has agreed to acquire Reata for $172.50 per share in cash, reflecting an enterprise value of approximately $7.3B.

Reata has made significant advancements developing therapeutics that regulate cellular metabolism and inflammation in serious neurologic diseases.

Biogen sharply higher on data, Stockwinners

Reata’s FDA-approved SKYCLARYS is the first and only approved treatment for Friedreich’s Ataxia in the United States, with a commercial launch underway, and European regulatory review ongoing.

Ataxia is a degenerative disease of the nervous system. Many symptoms of Ataxia mimic those of being drunk, such as slurred speech, stumbling, falling, and incoordination. These symptoms are caused by damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that is responsible for coordinating movement. Ataxia treatment involves a combination of medication to treat symptoms and  therapy to improve quality of life.

People affected by Ataxia may experience problems with using their fingers and hands, arms, legs, walking, speaking or moving their eyes. Ataxia affects people of all ages. Age of symptom-onset can vary widely, from childhood to late-adulthood. Complications from the disease are serious and oftentimes debilitating. 

In addition, Reata is developing a portfolio of innovative products for a range of neurological diseases.

The transaction, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is currently anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Biogen expects this acquisition to be accounted for as a business combination.

The acquisition of Reata is expected to be slightly dilutive to Biogen’s Non-GAAP diluted Earnings Per Share in 2023, roughly neutral in 2024, and significantly accretive beginning in 2025, inclusive of associated transaction costs.

Biogen plans to update its Full Year 2023 Financial Guidance in conjunction with its third quarter 2023 earnings release.

Biogen expects to finance the acquisition with cash on hand, supplemented by the issuance of long term debt.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by Reata stockholders and the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals.

Biogen has entered into voting and support agreements with certain stockholders of Reata representing approximately 36% of the voting power of Reata’s common stock.

RETA is up 52% or $56.90 to $165.37. BIIB is up 1% to $265.58.

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Adenza sold for $10.5 billion

Nasdaq to acquire Adenza from Thoma Bravo for $10.5B in cash and stock

Nasdaq (NDAQ) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Adenza, a provider of mission-critical risk management and regulatory software to the financial services industry, from Thoma Bravo for $10.5B in cash and shares of common stock.

The acquisition accelerates Nasdaq’s strategic vision to become the trusted fabric of the world’s financial system.

Upon the closing of the transaction, Holden Spaht, a Managing Partner at Thoma Bravo, is expected to be appointed to Nasdaq’s Board of Directors, which will be expanded to twelve members.

Adenza brings an attractive financial profile, with approximately $590M of 2023E revenue, organic revenue growth of approximately 15%, annual recurring revenue growth of 18%, and an adjusted EBITDA margin of 58%.

The company has a loyal and growing client base, with 98% gross retention, 115% net retention, and a durable mix of approximately 80% recurring revenue.

The addition of Adenza is projected to enhance Nasdaq’s already strong financial profile by growing Solutions Businesses revenue from 71% of total revenue today to 77% in 2023E, increasing adjusted EBITDA margin to 57%, and adding approximately $300M of annual unlevered pre-tax cash flow.

Nasdaq is acquiring Adenza for $10.5B, comprised of $5.75B in cash and 85.6M shares of Nasdaq common stock, based on the volume-weighted average price per share over 15 consecutive trading days prior to signing.

Nasdaq has obtained fully committed bridge financing for the cash portion of the consideration and plans to issue approximately $5.9B of debt between signing and closing and use the proceeds to replace the bridge commitment.

At the closing of the transaction, Nasdaq will issue the shares to the owners of Adenza, which is a company controlled by Thoma Bravo, representing approximately 14.9% of the outstanding shares of Nasdaq.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close within six to nine months.

NDAQ is down 11% to $51.30.

Following the Adenza transaction, Nasdaq expects leverage of approximately 4.7x and investment grade ratings of BBB/Baa2 Stable.

Nasdaq is committed to reducing leverage to 4.0x in 18 months and to approximately 3.3x in 36 months. Nasdaq intends to pursue its existing capital deployment plan, including steadily increasing its dividend per share and dividend payout ratio to achieve 35%-38% within three to four years.

The company intends to repurchase shares over time to partially offset dilution from the transaction in addition to continuing to offset employee share-based compensation.

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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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Japan’s Mizuho Financial buys Greenhill

Mizuho Financial Group to acquire Greenhill & Co. for $15 per share in cash

Mizuho Financial Group, Inc. (MFG) and Greenhill & Co., Inc. (GHL) announced a definitive agreement for Mizuho to acquire Greenhill in an all-cash transaction at $15 per share, reflecting an enterprise value of approximately $550M, including assumed debt.

Greenhill & Co., Inc.provides financial and strategic advisory services to corporations, partnerships, institutional investors, and governments worldwide. The company offers advisory services related to mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, restructurings, financings, private capital raising, and other similar transactions.

Through this transaction, Mizuho will accelerate its investment banking growth strategy, building on Greenhill’s 27-year history of advising important clients on significant mergers & acquisitions, restructurings and capital raising transactions.

Following completion of the transaction, Greenhill will operate globally from its 15 locations around the world as the M&A and restructuring advisory business of Mizuho.

That business will maintain the Greenhill brand, and the existing Greenhill leadership team will remain in place. Greenhill Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Scott Bok will become Chairman of the M&A and restructuring advisory business.

Current Greenhill Co-Presidents Kevin Costantino and David Wyles will become Co-Heads of the business.

The Greenhill business will sit within Mizuho’s banking division, led by Michal Katz, Head of Banking in the Americas.

With this transaction, Mizuho will welcome Greenhill’s 370 employees, as well as the valued client relationships they have built around the world.

Both management teams are committed to a seamless transition for all clients and employees.

The transaction is expected to close by year end and is subject to approval by Greenhill stockholders, as well as required regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

GHL gained $7.88 to close at $14.66.

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Diversey Holdings sold for $4.6 billion

Diversey to be acquired by Solenis for $8.40 per share in cash

Solenis and Diversey Holdings (DSEY) announced they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Solenis will acquire Diversey in an all-cash transaction valued at an enterprise value of approximately $4.6B.

Diversey Holdings, Ltd. provides infection prevention and cleaning solutions worldwide. It operates in two segments, Institutional, and Food & Beverage. 

Upon completion of the merger, Diversey will become a private company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Diversey shareholders — other than shareholders affiliated with Bain Capital Private Equity — will receive $8.40 per share in cash, which represents a premium of approximately 41.0% over Diversey’s closing share price on March 7, 2023, the last full trading day prior to the transaction announcement, and a premium of approximately 59.0% over Diversey’s 90-day volume-weighted average price.

Bain Capital will receive $7.84 per share in cash and will rollover a portion of its shares of Diversey into an affiliate of Solenis in exchange for common and preferred units of such affiliate.

Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, Solenis is a manufacturer of specialty chemicals used in water-intensive industries, which was acquired by Platinum Equity in 2021.

“The merger presents a unique opportunity to enhance value and create a more diversified business with increased scale, broader global reach, and superior customer service capabilities. It will enable the combined company to grow and provide a number of attractive cross-selling opportunities, including meeting increasing customer demand for water management, cleaning and hygiene solutions,” said Phil Wieland, Chief Executive Officer of Diversey.

Solenis CEO John Panichella will lead the combined company following the transition and integration.

Diversey’s Board of Directors formed the Special Committee to evaluate and negotiate the transaction with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors.

Following this process, the Special Committee unanimously determined that the transaction with Solenis is in the best interests of Diversey and its shareholders, and, acting upon unanimous recommendation by the Special Committee, the Diversey Board of Directors unanimously approved the merger and recommended that Diversey shareholders vote in favor of the merger.

The Special Committee negotiated the terms of the merger agreement with assistance from its independent financial and legal advisors.

In connection with the transaction, Solenis has entered into a support agreement with Bain Capital, pursuant to which Bain Capital has agreed to vote all of its Diversey shares — which represent approximately 73% of Diversey’s outstanding shares — in favor of the transaction, subject to certain terms and conditions set forth therein.

Solenis intends to finance the transaction with a combination of committed debt and equity financing, including the contribution by Bain Capital.

The merger is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including approval by Diversey shareholders holding a majority of the outstanding shares of the Company and receipt of regulatory approvals.

Upon closing of the transaction, Diversey’s ordinary shares will no longer be listed on any public market.

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Kroger in talks to buy Albertsons

Kroger in talks to acquire Albertsons in all-cash deal, CNBC says

Kroger (KR) is in talks to buy Albertsons (ACI) in an all-cash deal that it hopes can be announced as soon as tomorrow morning, CNBC’s David Faber reported on-air, citing his sources. He could not learn of the deal price being discussed, Faber noted. Earlier, Bloomberg also reported earlier that Kroger is in discussions to merge with Albertsons.

Shares of Albertsons (ACI) are up $2.45, or 10%, to $28.12 after both CNBC and Bloomberg said the grocer is in talks to merge with industry peer Kroger (KR), whose shares are down about 1% to $45.53.

Kroger (KR) is in discussions to merger with Albertsons (ACI), Bloomberg’s Michelle Davis reports. According to people familiar with the matter, an agreement could be reached as soon as this week, but caution that no final decisions have been made.

Albertsons Companies, Inc. engages in the operation of food and drug stores in the United States. As of February 26, 2022, it operated 2,276 stores under various banners, including Albertsons, Safeway, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Acme, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Supermarkets, Market Street, Haggen, Kings Food Markets, and Balducci’s Food Lovers Market; and 1,722 pharmacies, 1,317 in-store branded coffee shops, 402 adjacent fuel centers, 22 distribution centers, and 20 manufacturing facilities.

The Kroger Co. operates as a retailer in the United States. The company operates combination food and drug stores, multi-department stores, marketplace stores, and price impact warehouses. As of January 29, 2022, the company operated 2,726 supermarkets under various banner names in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

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Investor takes position in Disney, seeks changes

Third Point lays out case for Disney to spin off ESPN

Third Point’s Dan Loeb has sent a letter to Disney CEO Bob Chapek to outline recommendations.

ESPN

Third Point said, “ESPN is a great business that currently generates significant free cash flow, enabling the Company to pay down debt and increase strategic options down the line.

In addition, we realize ESPN content is part of the bundle being offered to subscribers of other products, both in Disney’s Linear and DTC businesses.

Despite these advantages, we believe that a strong case can be made that the ESPN business should be spun off to shareholders with an appropriate debt load that will alleviate leverage at the parent Company.

The important questions to ask before commencing a spinoff are: Will both companies be better off? Will the needs of customers be better served? Can any synergies that exist between the two companies be replicated by contractual arrangements? Will the transaction contribute to creating long-term value for Disney shareholders?

While acknowledging that broader capital structure considerations may be at issue, we believe that the answer to all four of these questions is affirmative.

Employees of ESPN could be compensated in a security directly tied to their performance.

ESPN would have greater flexibility to pursue business initiatives that may be more difficult as part of Disney, such as sports betting.

Customers of ESPN and sports leagues would be better served by a focused management team driving a leadership position in sports distribution. We believe that most arrangements between the two companies can be replicated contractually, in the way eBay spun PayPal while continuing to utilize the product to process payments.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek

Lastly, as a result of this transaction, both companies will attract shareholders seeking the respective qualities of each company, allowing the Disney parent multiple to expand as its earnings growth rate increases and the remaining business is no longer haunted by the specter of cord cutting. While I understand you have considered this idea in the past, we urge the Company to retain advisors to reassess the desirability of the transaction in the current environment, recognizing that a key determination would be the proforma capitalizations, cashflow and credit profile of both companies.”

HULU

Third Point said, “We believe that integrating Hulu directly into the Disney+ DTC platform will provide significant cost and revenue synergies, ultimately reigniting growth in the domestic market.

Daniel Loeb, Third Point

We urge the Company to make every attempt to acquire Comcast’s remaining minority stake prior to the contractual deadline in early 2024.

We believe that it would even be prudent for Disney to pay a modest premium to accelerate the integration but are cognizant that the seller may have an unreasonable price expectation at this time while noting the seller has already made the decision to prematurely remove their own content from the platform. We know this is a priority for you and hope there is a deal to be had before Comcast is contractually obligated to do so in about 18 months.”

COST CUTTING

Third Point said, “Disney’s costs are among the highest in the industry, and we believe Disney significantly underearns relative to its potential. We urge the Company to embark on a cost cutting program that addresses both margins and the disposal of excess underperforming assets.”

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Emerson Electric to sell InSinkErator to Whirlpool for $3B

Whirlpool confirms pact with Emerson Electric to acquire InSinkErator for $3B

Whirlpool (WHR) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Emerson Electric (EMR) to acquire InSinkErator, the world’s largest manufacturer of food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers for home and commercial use, in an all-cash transaction for $3B.

The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to Whirlpool Corporation’s margins, adding approximately $1.25 EPS accretion in fiscal 2023.

Whirlpool also expects to generate revenue upside by capitalizing on InSinkErator’s leading consumer brand preference, an installed base that is five times larger than the rest of the industry driving a recurring sales profile, the strong underlying secular tailwinds of the U.S. housing market, and the expansion of the InSinkErator brand into new markets and product offerings.

Whirlpool plans to initially fund the acquisition through available liquidity, with new debt put in place at a later date.

The acquisition, which has been approved by the Board of Directors of both companies, is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals, and is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Whirlpool’s 2022 guidance remains unchanged.

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Hey Alexa vacuum my room!

 iRobot to be acquired by Amazon for $61/share in deal valued at $1.7B

Amazon (AMZN) and iRobot (IRBT) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire iRobot. Amazon will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7B, including iRobot’s net debt. 

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We know that saving time matters, and chores take precious time that can be better spent doing something that customers love,” said Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices.

“Over many years, the iRobot team has proven its ability to reinvent how people clean with products that are incredibly practical and inventive-from cleaning when and where customers want while avoiding common obstacles in the home, to automatically emptying the collection bin.

Customers love iRobot products-and I’m excited to work with the iRobot team to invent in ways that make customers’ lives easier and more enjoyable.”

iRobot makes the popular Roomba

Amazon will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.7B, including iRobot’s net debt.

Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by iRobot’s shareholders and regulatory approvals.

On completion, Colin Angle will remain as CEO of iRobot.

 In light of the transaction with Amazon.com, iRobot will not hold its Q2 financial results conference call, which was originally scheduled for August 10.

In addition, iRobot has withdrawn its prior 2022 financial expectations issued in early May, as well as its long-term financial targets provided in December 2021. Given the ongoing disruptions and uncertainty that could impact the company’s outlook, iRobot is suspending its practice of providing financial guidance.

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Rig Counts decline as oil retreats!

Baker Hughes reports U.S. rig count down 3 to 764 rigs

Baker Hughes (BKR) reports that the U.S. rig count is down 3 from last week to 764 with oil rigs down 7 to 598, gas rigs up 4 to 161 and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 5.

U.S. Rig Count is up 273 rigs from last year’s count of 491 with oil rigs up 211, gas rigs up 58 and miscellaneous rigs up 4.

The U.S. Offshore Rig Count is down 1 to 16, up 2 year-over-year.

The Canada Rig Count is down 1 from last week to 203, with oil rigs up 3 to 140, gas rigs down 4 to 63.

The Canada Rig Count is up 47 rigs from last year’s count of 156, with oil rigs up 45, gas rigs up 3 and miscellaneous rigs down 1.

Rig Counts Rise to a 2-year high

The Canada Rig Count is up 28 rigs from last year’s count of 126, with oil rigs up 22, gas rigs up 6.

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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Rig Counts Rise – See Stockwinners.com Market Radar to read more

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is up 72 cents to $89.24 per barrel (down from a high of $123.70). Brent crude is up $0.90 to $95.04 per barre (down from a high of $127.98). Gasoline last traded at $2.869 per gallon (down from a high of $4.31 per gallon).

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JetBlue buys Spirit Airlines

JetBlue to acquire Spirit at $33.50 per share in cash or $7.6B enterprise value

JetBlue Airways (JBLU) and Spirit Airlines (SAVE) announced that their boards of directors have approved a definitive merger agreement under which JetBlue will acquire Spirit for $33.50 per share in cash, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable upon Spirit stockholders’ approval of the transaction and a ticking fee of $0.10 per month starting in January 2023 through closing, for an aggregate fully diluted equity value of $3.8B and an adjusted enterprise value of $7.6B.

The transaction consideration of $33.50 per share implies an aggregate fully diluted equity value of approximately $3.8 billion and an adjusted enterprise value of $7.6 billion.

JetBlue expects to achieve $600M-700M in net annual synergies once integration is complete, driven in large part by expanded customer offerings resulting from the greater breadth and depth of the combined network.

The combined company is projected to have annual revenues of approximately $11.9 billion based on 2019 revenues. JetBlue expects the transaction to be significantly accretive to earnings per share in the first full year following closing.

JetBlue expects to maintain balance sheet flexibility with post-transaction leverage of 3.0-3.5x, well inside historical levels, and to continue its deleveraging trajectory as it captures synergies.”

“The completion of the acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and approval of Spirit’s stockholders.

The companies expect to conclude the regulatory process and close the transaction no later than the first half of 2024.

The four largest carriers control more than 80% of the market. Creating a low-fare, customer-centric challenger with size and scale is the best opportunity to disrupt legacy carrier pricing in the current landscape.

Even as the fifth-largest carrier, JetBlue, with Spirit, would have only 9% market share, compared to 13% for the fourth-largest airline and 23% for the largest carrier.

After the combination and with its committed upfront divestitures, the largest seat share a combined JetBlue-Spirit will have in any of its largest metro areas is 40%, compared to the 57-91% share legacy carriers have in their largest metro areas.

The airlines will continue to operate independently until after the transaction closes and their respective loyalty programs remain unchanged and customer accounts will not be affected in any way.

Following completion of the acquisition, the combined airline will be based in New York and be led by Robin Hayes. As previously announced, Spirit has terminated its prior merger agreement with Frontier. JetBlue has terminated its previously announced all-cash tender offer to acquire Spirit common stock.”

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American Campus sold for $12.8B

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

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

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

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

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

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

ACC shares are up $7.25 to $64.83.

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Hasbro questioned by shareholder!

Alta Fox urges Hasbro to address questions on Q1 earnings call

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cynthia W. Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Crane to split into two companies!

Crane plans to split into two independent public companies

Crane (CR) announced that its Board of Directors has unanimously approved a plan to pursue a separation into two independent, publicly-traded companies to optimize investment and capital allocation, accelerate growth, and unlock shareholder value.

Upon completion, Crane Co.’s shareholders will benefit from ownership in two focused and simplified businesses that are both leaders in their respective industries and well-positioned for continued success:

Crane Co. will be a leading global provider of mission-critical, highly engineered products and solutions, with differentiated technology, respected brands, and leadership positions in its markets.

After the separation, Crane Co. will include the Aerospace & Electronics and Process Flow Technologies businesses.

This year, these businesses are expected to generate approximately $1.9B in annual sales with a pre-corporate Adjusted EBITDA margin of approximately 18.5%.

The company will be well-positioned to accelerate organic growth in its large and attractive end markets, benefit from favorable secular trends, and apply its proven processes to drive growth through new product development and commercial excellence.

Richard Teller Crane, Founder of Crane Co.

Crane Co. is expected to have a strong, well-capitalized balance sheet underpinning a capital deployment strategy focused on supporting the company’s organic and inorganic strategic growth objectives, while providing a dividend in-line with peers.

Crane Co. will be led by Max Mitchell, who will continue to serve as President and Chief Executive Officer, with Rich Maue continuing to serve as Chief Financial Officer.

The company intends to continue to be listed on the NYSE under its current ticker symbol, “CR”.

Crane NXT will be a premier Industrial Technology business with substantial global scale, a best-in-class margin profile, and strong free cash flow generation.

This year, the Payment and Merchandising Technologies business that will become Crane NXT is expected to achieve approximately $1.4 billion in sales with a pre-corporate Adjusted EBITDA margin of approximately 28%.

In addition to its market leading brands, Crane NXT will differentiate itself through its technology leadership, positioning it to leverage long-term secular drivers including automation, security and productivity, across several high-growth adjacent markets.

After the separation, Crane NXT will be positioned to drive earnings growth through continued investment in the business and value-enhancing bolt-on acquisitions. Its balance sheet and strong free cash flow will also allow it to support a robust and differentiated level of capital return to shareholders that is expected to include a competitive dividend.

Crane NXT’s shares are expected to be listed on the NYSE under the ticker symbol “CXT”. A process is currently underway to identify Crane NXT’s chief executive, including evaluation of both internal and external candidates.

The executives currently leading Crane’s PMT business will continue to serve in senior positions with Crane NXT.

The separation is expected to occur through a tax-free distribution of the Aerospace & Electronics and Process Flow Technologies businesses to the Company’s shareholders.

Payment & Merchandising Technologies will be renamed Crane NXT concurrent with the separation, and the Aerospace & Electronics and Process Flow Technologies businesses will retain the Crane Co. name.

Upon completion of the separation, shareholders will own 100% of the equity in both of the publicly traded companies.

The separation is expected to be completed within approximately 12 months of this announcement, subject to the satisfaction of customary conditions and final approval of the separation by Crane Co.’s Board of Directors. Shareholder approval is not required.

Crane Co. will maintain its current capital deployment policies until the separation is completed.

CR is up $2.50 to $112.63.

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