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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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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Eli Lilly Shares Higher on Alzheimer’s Drug!

Eli Lilly TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2 met primary endpoint, all secondary endpoint

Eli Lilly (LLY) announced results of the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2 Phase 3 study showing that donanemab significantly slowed cognitive and functional decline in people with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease.

Eli Lilly announces Alimta label expanded by FDA, Stockwinners

Donanemab met the primary endpoint of change from baseline until 18 months on the integrated Alzheimer’s Disease Rating Scale, or iADRS.

The primary endpoint of iADRS measures cognition and activities of daily living such as managing finances, driving, engaging in hobbies, and conversing about current events.

All secondary endpoints of cognitive and functional decline were also met and showed highly statistically significant clinical benefits with similar magnitude.

Based on these results, Lilly will proceed with global regulatory submissions as quickly as possible and anticipates making a submission to the FDA yet this quarter.

Lilly will work with the FDA and other global regulators to achieve the fastest path to traditional approvals.

TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, evaluated the safety and efficacy of donanemab, an investigational amyloid plaque targeting therapy.

The study enrolled people with early symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease, or AD, which includes mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, and the mild dementia stage of disease, with the confirmed presence of AD neuropathology, and participants completed their course of treatment with donanemab once they reached a prespecified level of amyloid plaque clearance.

Biogen sharply higher on data, Stockwinners

Participants in TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2 were stratified by their level of the brain protein tau, a predictive biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease progression. The primary analysis population for which the study was powered was comprised of people with an intermediate level of tau and clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

In this population, the primary endpoint (iADRS) showed 35% slowing of decline, and an important key secondary endpoint showed 36% slowing of decline over 18 months.

Additional pre-specified secondary analyses showed: 47% of participants on donanemab showed no decline on CDR-SB, a key measure of disease severity at 1 year. 52% of participants completed their course of treatment by 1 year and 72% completed by 18 months as a result of achieving plaque clearance.

Participants on donanemab had 40% less decline in ability to perform activities of daily living at 18 months. Participants on donanemab experienced a 39% lower risk of progressing to the next stage of disease compared to placebo.

The study also enrolled a smaller number of people with high levels of tau at baseline, representing a later stage of disease progression.

Because these participants were predicted to progress more quickly and be less responsive to therapy, the target population for the study was the intermediate tau population. The high tau participants were combined with the intermediate tau population in an additional primary analysis of all participants enrolled. In this combined population, donanemab also demonstrated meaningful positive results across all clinical endpoints, with CDR-SB and iADRS showing 29% and 22% slowing of decline, respectively. The incidence of amyloid-related imaging abnormalities was consistent with the TRAILBLAZER-ALZ Phase 2 study.

Infusion-related reactions occurred in 8.7% of participants with most cases mild to moderate in severity. In addition to slowing cognitive and functional decline in TRAILBLAZER-ALZ 2, donanemab produced significant reductions in brain amyloid plaque levels as early as 6 months after initiating treatment, as observed using amyloid positron emission tomography brain scan, with many patients reaching amyloid levels considered negative for pathology1.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 50 million people worldwide have dementia, and the most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

In the United States, it is estimated that around 6 million people have Alzheimer’s disease. This number is expected to increase as the population ages.

The economic effect of Alzheimer’s disease is significant. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2021, the total cost of caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the United States is projected to reach $355 billion. This includes the cost of medical care, long-term care, and lost wages for family caregivers. By 2050, these costs are projected to increase to $1.1 trillion.

The economic impact is not just limited to the United States. Alzheimer’s disease has a global economic impact, with estimated costs of around $1 trillion in 2018. As the population ages, the economic impact is expected to increase.

LLY shares are up $25 to $429.15 or 6% on the day. Shares of Biogen (BIIB) which has a competing drug are down $5 to $310.03.

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What is an Inverted Bond?

Bond market predicts a recession ahead

Inverted bond chart, also known as the yield curve inversion, is a powerful economic indicator that has garnered significant attention in recent years. In simple terms, an inverted bond chart is when the yield on short-term bonds exceeds the yield on long-term bonds. This event is considered a warning sign of an impending economic recession. In this article, we will explore what an inverted bond chart is, how it works, and what it means for investors.

What is an Inverted Bond Chart?

A bond is essentially an IOU issued by a borrower, such as a company or a government, to an investor. The bond pays interest to the investor at a certain rate, also known as the yield. The yield on a bond is determined by the prevailing interest rates in the economy and the creditworthiness of the borrower. Generally, the longer the maturity of the bond, the higher the yield investors demand. This is because investors demand a premium for lending their money for a longer period, as there is more risk involved.

An inverted bond chart is when the yield on short-term bonds exceeds the yield on long-term bonds. This is a rare occurrence and happens when investors lose confidence in the economy’s future prospects. Normally, investors expect to receive a higher yield on long-term bonds because they are taking a greater risk by lending their money for a longer period. However, when investors are worried about the economy’s prospects, they demand higher yields on short-term bonds as they are more concerned about the immediate future. This demand for short-term bonds drives down their yields and causes the yield curve to invert.

How Does an Inverted Bond Chart Work?

An inverted bond chart works by reflecting the market’s expectations of future economic growth and inflation. When investors are optimistic about the economy’s future prospects, they demand lower yields on short-term bonds as they believe that interest rates will remain low in the future. This optimism drives up the yields on long-term bonds as investors are willing to lend their money for a longer period.

Conversely, when investors are pessimistic about the economy’s future prospects, they demand higher yields on short-term bonds as they believe that interest rates will rise in the future. This pessimism drives down the yields on long-term bonds as investors are less willing to lend their money for a longer period. This creates an inverted bond chart as the yields on short-term bonds exceed those on long-term bonds.

What Does an Inverted Bond Chart Mean for Investors?

An inverted bond chart is a warning sign of an impending economic recession. Historically, every recession in the United States since 1950 has been preceded by an inverted yield curve. This is because an inverted bond chart signals that investors are worried about the future prospects of the economy and are demanding higher yields on short-term bonds. This demand for short-term bonds drives down their yields and causes the yield curve to invert.

Investors should take an inverted bond chart seriously, as it indicates that the economy is likely to experience a slowdown in the near future. This can have significant implications for their investment portfolios. During a recession, the stock market tends to perform poorly, and investors may experience significant losses if they are not properly diversified. Additionally, companies may cut dividends, leading to a decrease in income for investors who rely on dividends for income.

Investors should consider adjusting their portfolios in response to an inverted bond chart. This may involve reducing exposure to stocks and increasing exposure to bonds, particularly those with short maturities. Short-term bonds are less affected by changes in interest rates and are less volatile than long-term bonds, making them a good option for investors during a recession. Investors may also consider investing in defensive stocks, such as utilities and consumer staples, as these tend to perform well during economic downturns.

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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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Stockwinners Portfolio returns 22.8% in 2022

S&P 500 declined 19.6% during the same period

The bear market of 2022 cost most investors dearly whereas Stockwinners readers were able to register double digit returns. Our experience in the past 24 years has taught us how to avoid pitfall of following crowds and Wall Street gurus. In fact, we stayed away from story stocks such Tesla (TSLA), Paypal Holdings (PYPL) and Meta Platform (META). We concentrated on small to medium cap stocks. These stocks typically do not have any exposure to overseas markets and are traded on their own fundamentals.

Russian invasion of Ukraine created unique trading opportunities for investors. The vicious invasion of Ukraine caused energy and commodity prices skyrocket thus offering opportunities in that space. In fact, one of our better performers on the year was EPAM System (EPAM). This software company has about 25 percent of its workforce located in the eastern European country. Those who bought the stock based on our recommendations were rewarded with a 23% return in two days.

Energy stocks were awakened with the invasion. Crude oil shot up to $106.50 from $70 per barrel. This price increase buoyed energy stocks. Amongst our better performers were shares of Par Pacific Holdings (PARR). The refiner shares gained fifteen percent following our recommendations.

Other commodity stocks that were featured in our portfolio included those involved in precious and rare minerals mining. Livent Corporation (LTHM) was one such name. The lithium miner was featured several times with solid returns. The returns were 14%, 12% and 18%. Sigma Lithium Corporation (SGML) was another name in the sector. It gained 14% following our recommendations.

Sierra Wireless, Inc. (SWIR) was another stock that came to our attention. The company provides device-to-cloud Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Shares were featured in August with success. Stock gained 18 percents in two weeks.

We featured put options (shorting the stock) on several names. One of the names featured was Open Text Corporation (OTEX). Put option on the name returned 325% in 17 days. The put was featured at $1.50 and it was closed 17 days later at $6.40. Another name that was featured several times was Carvana (CVNA). Shares of the used car retailer have fallen from $300 to $3.55.

A strong employment market created opportunity in placement companies. Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. (CCRN) was such name. The company places medical staff. Shares were featured in August and gained 18% in less than two weeks.

Our portfolio can be downloaded here. Additionally, one may download our selections for the past 18 years in a spreadsheet format.

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Horizon Therapeutics sold for $28.3 billion

Amgen to acquire Horizon Therapeutics for $116.50 per share in cash

The board of directors of Horizon Therapeutics (HZNP) and the board of directors of Amgen (AMGN) announced that they have reached agreement on the terms of a cash offer for the company by Pillartree, a newly formed private limited company wholly owned by Amgen, which is unanimously recommended by the company board and pursuant to which acquirer sub will acquire the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of the company.

Under the terms of the acquisition, each company shareholder at the Scheme Record Time will be entitled to receive: $116.50 for each Company Share in cash.

The acquisition represents: a premium of approximately 47.9% to the closing price of $78.76 per company share on November 29 and a premium of approximately 19.7% to the closing price of $97.29 per company share on December 9.

The acquisition values the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of the company at approximately $27.8B on a fully diluted basis and implies an enterprise value of approximately $28.3B.

Amgen has entered into a Bridge Credit Agreement, dated December 12, for an aggregate amount of $28.5B.

Having taken into account the relevant factors and applicable risks, the company board, which has been so advised by Morgan Stanley, which as financial advisor to the company board has rendered a fairness opinion, considers the terms of the acquisition as set out in this announcement to be fair and reasonable.

In providing its advice to the company board, Morgan Stanley has taken into account the commercial assessments of the company directors.

The company board has unanimously determined that the transaction agreement and the transactions, including the scheme, are advisable for, fair to and in the best interests of, the company shareholders.

Accordingly, the company board unanimously recommends that company shareholders vote in favor of the scheme meeting resolution and the Required EGM Resolutions, or, if the acquisition is implemented by a takeover offer, accept or procure acceptance of such takeover offer.

It is agreed that the acquisition will be implemented by way of an Irish High Court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement under Chapter 1 of Part 9 of the Irish Companies Act.

The acquisition will be subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the conditions, which are set out in full in Appendix 3 to this announcement, including, in summary: the requisite approval by company shareholders of the scheme meeting resolution and the required EGM Resolutions; the sanction of the scheme by the Irish High Court and the receipt of required antitrust clearances in the United States, Austria and Germany and the receipt of required foreign investment clearances in France, Germany, Denmark and Italy.

It is expected that the scheme document, containing further information about the acquisition and notices of the scheme meeting and the EGM, the expected timetable for completion and action to be taken by company shareholders, will be published as soon as practicable.

It is anticipated that the scheme will, subject to obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals, be declared effective in the first half of 2023. An expected timetable of key events relating to the acquisition will be provided in the scheme document.

Horizon Therapeutics Public Limited Company is an Irish biotechnology company, It focuses on the discovery, development, and commercialization of medicines that address critical needs for people impacted by rare, autoimmune, and severe inflammatory diseases. Its portfolio comprises 12 medicines in the areas of rare diseases, gout, ophthalmology, and inflammation.

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ForgeRock sold for $2.3 billion

ForgeRock to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $23.25 per share in cash

ForgeRock announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Thoma Bravo for $23.25 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.3B.

The offer represents a premium of approximately 53% over ForgeRock’s closing share price on October 10, the last full trading day prior to the transaction announcement, and a premium of approximately 44% over the volume weighted average price of ForgeRock stock for the 30 days ending October 10.

The transaction, which was unanimously approved by the ForgeRock board of directors, is currently expected to close in the first half of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including approval by ForgeRock’s shareholders and the receipt of required regulatory approvals.

ForgeRock, Inc. operates a digital identity platform to secure, manage, and govern the identities of customers, employees, partners, application programing interfaces (APIs), microservices, devices, and the Internet of things worldwide. It offers identity management products to automate onboarding/registration and progressive profiling, identity lifecycle and relationship management, identity provisioning and synchronization, user self-service, personalization, delegation, and privacy and consent management. 

Upon completion of the transaction, ForgeRock’s common stock will no longer be publicly listed and ForgeRock will become a privately held company.

FORG is up $7.38 to $22.53.

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KnowBe4 receives buyout offer!

KnowBe4 confirms receipt of $24 per share proposal from Vista

KnowBe4 (KNBE) confirmed the receipt of a non-binding proposal from Vista Equity Partners to acquire all outstanding shares of the Company for $24 per share in cash.

KnowBe4, Inc. engages in the development, marketing, and sale of its Software-as-a-Service-based security awareness platform. The company provides a platform incorporating security awareness training and simulated phishing with analytics and reporting that helps organizations manage the ongoing problem of social engineering.

The company also offers Security Coach, a solution to address human behavior risks through human detection and response; and PasswordIQ that would be used to mitigate risk related to password hygiene issues, such as weak or breached passwords. It serves its customers directly through inside sales teams for enterprise and small and medium businesses, as well as indirectly through channel partners and managed service providers.

The proposal represents a 39% premium to KnowBe4’s closing price on September 16, 2022.

The Company’s Board of Directors regularly considers opportunities to enhance value for its stockholders.

In response to an inquiry from Vista, the Board formed a special committee of the Board, comprised solely of independent directors, to engage with Vista and take other actions that it deems appropriate, with the assistance of independent financial and legal advisors.

Consistent with its mandate, and in consultation with its legal and financial advisors, the Special Committee will carefully review the Vista proposal and other potential value creation opportunities to determine the course of action that it believes is in the best interests of KnowBe4 and its stockholders.

KNBE is up 29% to $22.30.

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Spectrum Brands shares tumble on DOJ action

DOJ sues to block Assa Abloy deal to buy Spectrum Brands unit

On September 8th, 2021, Spectrum Brands Holdings (SPB) announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to sell its HHI segment to ASSA ABLOY (ASAZY) for $4.3B in cash, which it said represents over 14 times HHI’s expected FY21 Adjusted EBITDA. Click here to read our blog.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today to block Assa Abloy’s (ASAZY) proposed $4.3B acquisition of the Hardware and Home Improvement division of its rival, Spectrum Brands Holdings (SPB).

Assa and Spectrum are two of the three largest producers of residential door hardware in the concentrated, $2.4 billion U.S. industry, the DOJ said.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleges that the merger would eliminate important head-to-head competition between ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum, risking higher prices, lower quality, reduced innovation and poorer service in the sale of at least two types of residential door hardware: premium mechanical door hardware and smart locks.

The complaint, which seeks to enjoin the transaction under Section 7 of the Clayton Act, alleges that ASSA ABLOY and Spectrum have competed for years to be leaders in the U.S. markets for premium mechanical door hardware and for smart locks.

The proposed transaction would transform these markets, giving Assa “a near-monopoly in premium mechanical door hardware and more than a 50% share in smart locks, leaving only one significant competitor,” the DOJ said.

SPB is down 10% to $52.85.

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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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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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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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Nielsen sold for $16 billion

Brookfield Business Partners enters partnership to acquire Nielsen in $16B deal

Brookfield Business Partners (BBU) announced it has entered into a partnership to acquire Nielsen Holdings plc (NLSN) in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $16B.

Nielsen Holdings operates as a measurement and data analytics company worldwide. The company provides viewership and listening data, and analytics principally to media publishers and marketers, and advertising agencies for television, computer, mobile, CTV, digital, and listening platforms. 

The companies said, investment highlights include, “Market-leading position. Nielsen is a global leader in audience measurement and a trusted partner to its customers across the entire media ecosystem.

The Company has more than 50 years of statistically significant historical data and its scale is unmatched by competitors.

Nielsen’s measurement data underpins the $100+ billion video and audio advertising markets and its measurement data is the established industry standard by which video and audio advertising spend transacts. Resilient performance and outlook.

The Company’s history of consistent growth is driven by its valued offering and longstanding customer relationships.

Nielsen’s scale and existing market position should support the Company’s ability to consistently grow its measurement business.

Value creation potential. Nielsen is well positioned to be the leader in cross-media measurement as audience viewership behavior continues to evolve.

The development and adoption of Nielsen ONE, Nielsen’s cross-media measurement service, will deliver a unified measure of consumer viewership across all media and support the Company’s growth strategy.”

Brookfield will invest approximately $2.65B by way of preferred equity, convertible into 45% of Nielsen’s common equity. Brookfield will be actively involved in the Company’s governance.

Brookfield Business Partners expects to invest approximately $600M, and the balance of Brookfield’s investment will be funded from institutional partners.

Prior to or following closing, a portion of Brookfield Business Partners’ commitment may be syndicated to other institutional investors.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the second half of 2022.

NLSN is up $4.58 to $26.81.

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