Novadaq sold for $701 million

Stryker to buy Novadaq for $701M

The transaction will be carried out by way of a court approved plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act

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#Novadaq Technologies (NVDQ) announced that it has entered into a definitive arrangement with Stryker (SYK) pursuant to which Stryker has agreed to acquire all of the issued and outstanding shares of Novadaq for $11.75 per share in cash, implying a total equity value of approximately $701M.

Novadaq Technologies Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets fluorescence imaging products for use by surgeons in the operating room and other clinical settings in the United States and internationally. The company offers SPY Elite, a fluorescence imaging system that enables surgeons performing open procedures, such as breast and other reconstruction, gastrointestinal, and cardiothoracic surgery, to visualize microvascular blood flow and perfusion in tissue intraoperatively. It also provides PINPOINT endoscopic fluorescence imaging systems; LUNA fluorescence angiography system that provides clinicians with real-time visualization of tissue perfusion in patients.

Stryker Corporation (SYK) operates as a medical technology company.

The transaction will be carried out by way of a court approved plan of arrangement under the Canada Business Corporations Act and will require the approval of, among others, the holders of at least 66 2/3% of the Novadaq Shares present in person or represented by proxy at a special meeting of Novadaq shareholders to be called to consider the Arrangement.

The Special Meeting is expected to be held on or about August 4.

Novadaq’s board and the Special Committee have also received a fairness opinion from each of Piper Jaffray and Perella Weinberg Partners in connection with the Arrangement to the effect that, as of the date of such opinions, and subject to the assumptions, limitations and qualifications set forth therein, the consideration to be received by Novadaq’s shareholders pursuant to the Arrangement is fair from a financial point of view.

In addition to shareholder and court approvals, the Arrangement is subject to applicable regulatory approvals, including Canadian Competition Act and U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino approvals, and the satisfaction of certain other closing conditions customary in transactions of this nature. The transaction is not subject to a financing condition.

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PerkinElmer to buy EUROIMMUN for $1.3B in cash

PerkinElmer to buy Germany’s EuroImmun for $1.3B in cash

PerkinElmer reaffirms its 2017 revenue and EPS guidance

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PerkinElmer (PKI) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire EUROIMMUN Medical Laboratory Diagnostics AG. The agreement provides that PerkinElmer will acquire up to a 100% stake in EUROIMMUN.

The total purchase price of the transaction based on all outstanding shares being acquired will be approximately $1.3B in cash.

EUROIMMUN is based in Lubeck, Germany, with approximately 2,400 employees. The company has extensive expertise and capabilities across immunology, cell biology, histology, biochemistry and molecular biology.

EUROIMMUN is expected to generate approximately $310M in revenue this year, and over the last five years, the company has averaged revenue growth of 19%.

In 2016, the company generated sales in more than 130 countries worldwide, with approximately 45% of revenues in China, 30% in Europe, Middle East & Africa, 5% in the Americas and 20% in Rest of World.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is currently anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2017 following the receipt of required standard regulatory approvals. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to PerkinElmer’s 2018 non-GAAP EPS results by approximately 28c-30c. Additionally, PerkinElmer is reaffirming its 2017 revenue and EPS guidance.

PerkinElmer is reaffirming its 2017 revenue and EPS guidance following the  announcement of the EUROIMMUN acquisition.

PerkinElmer, Inc. provides products, services, and solutions to the diagnostics, research, environmental, industrial, food, and laboratory services markets worldwide. The company operates through two segments, Discovery and Analytical Solutions and Diagnostics.

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Clovis Oncology reports positive ovarian cancer results, Shares Soars

Clovis Oncology  announced topline data from the confirmatory phase 3 #ARIEL3 trial of rucaparib, which successfully achieved the primary endpoint for Ovarian Cancer.

Shares of competitor Tesaro (TSRO) tumble on the news

CLVS to submit NDA to FDAShares of Clovis Oncology (CLVS) are surging after the company this morning announced topline data from the confirmatory phase 3 ARIEL3 trial of rucaparib, which successfully achieved the primary endpoint of improved progression-free survival, or PFS, by investigator review in each of the three populations studied.

Clovis Oncology (CLVS) announced topline data from the confirmatory phase 3 #ARIEL3 trial of rucaparib, which successfully achieved the primary endpoint of improved progression-free survival, or #PFS, by investigator review in each of the three populations studied. PFS was also improved in the rucaparib group compared with placebo by blinded independent central review, or #BICR, a key secondary endpoint.

Based on these findings, the company plans to submit a supplemental New Drug Application, or sNDA, within the next four months for a second-line and later maintenance treatment indication for all women with platinum-sensitive ovarian cancer who have responded to their most recent platinum therapy. #NDA

“We are very pleased with these positive #ARIEL3 topline results that strongly demonstrate the potential of rucaparib to help women with platinum-sensitive, advanced ovarian cancer,” said Patrick Mahaffy, President and CEO of Clovis Oncology.

“These results reinforce the potentially foundational role of #rucaparib in the management of advanced ovarian cancer, as demonstrated by both investigator review and the blinded independent central review. Most importantly, we are grateful to the patients, caregivers and investigators who participated in this study. We look forward to sharing these data in greater detail at a medical meeting later this year and submitting our sNDA as rapidly as possible, with the ultimate goal of making rucaparib available to more women battling ovarian cancer.”

Possible $40 Gain

Janney Capital’s analyst Debjit #Chattopadhyay previewed some potential outcomes for the release of topline data from Clovis’ (CLVS) ARIEL3 trial, which is expected over the next two weeks. If Hazard Ratios in g+sBRCA patients are in below 0.3, he sees Clovis shares potentially trading up to $85-$100 per share, which, at the high end, would be about $40 above Clovis’ Friday closing price of $60.

In such a scenario, he thinks competitor Tesaro (TSRO) sliding to $80-$90. With HRs in the range of 0.3-0.35, which he gives a 70% probability of occurring, he sees Clovis trading at $75-$85 and Tesaro falling to $90-$100. Tesaro has a competing drug for ovarian cancer.

PRICE ACTION

In pre-market trading on Monday, CLVS is up $26 to $86.00 in heavy trading. TSRO is down $16 to $128.

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Rice Energy Sold for $6.7B

EQT will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Rice common stock for total consideration of approximately $6.7B – consisting of 0.37 shares of EQT common stock and $5.30 in cash

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EQT Corporation (EQT) and Rice Energy (RICE) announce that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which EQT will acquire all of the outstanding shares of Rice common stock for total consideration of approximately $6.7B – consisting of 0.37 shares of EQT common stock and $5.30 in cash per share of Rice common stock. That is about $27 per share.

EQT will also assume or refinance approximately $1.5B of net debt and preferred equity.

The transaction is expected to close in Q4 subject to customary closing conditions. As the vast majority of the acquired acreage is contiguous with EQT’s existing acreage position, EQT anticipates a 50% increase in average lateral lengths for future wells located in Greene and Washington Counties in Pennsylvania.

This same land synergy also complements the infrastructure footprint of EQT Midstream Partners, (EQM), where growth opportunities are expected through drop-downs and additional organic projects.

Rice Energy Inc. engages in the acquisition, exploration, and development of natural gas, oil, and natural gas liquid (NGL) properties in the Appalachian Basin.

Already a leading producer in the Appalachian Basin, this acquisition will make EQT the largest natural gas producer in the United States.

EQT will also obtain Rice’s midstream assets, including a 92% interest in Rice Midstream GP Holdings LP, which owns 100% of the general partner incentive distribution rights and 28% of the limited partner interests in Rice Midstream Partners LP and the retained midstream assets currently held at Rice.

The retained midstream assets, which EQT intends to sell to EQM in the future through drop-down transactions, are expected to generate approximately $130M of EBITDA in 2018.

The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction. Completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of both EQT and Rice shareholders, as well as certain customary regulatory and other closing conditions.

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Kenon Jumps on $942M Cash Infusion

Kenon ($KEN) unit in pact with Wuhu Chery

Qoros Automobile, a unit of Kenon, to receive $942 million in cash investment

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Qoros Automobile, which is 50%-owned by Quantum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kenon Holdings, announces that Qoros, Quantum, Wuhu Chery Automobile Investment Company Limited, which owns the other 50% of Qoros, and a new China-based investor, have entered into an investment agreement that provides for the new investor investing approximately RMB6.5B, approximately $942M, in Qoros for a controlling interest in Qoros.

The new investor’s investment is subject to a number of conditions which must be satisfied by a certain date, some of which are beyond the parties’ control and which the parties may be unable to satisfy. These conditions include regulatory approvals and completion of regulatory processes, consents from lenders and further documentation, including entry into additional agreements.

Kenon also announces that Qoros, Quantum and Wuhu Chery’s investment agreement with Yibin Municipal Government, through its investment platform company, which was announced on April 6,, will not take effect, and that Yibin will not make an equity investment in Qoros.

Kenon Holdings Ltd. (KEN) is a Singapore based holding company. It owns, develops, and operates power generation and distribution facilities primarily in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Israel. It also designs, manufactures, distributes, and services passenger vehicles through a network of independent authorized retail dealers in the People’s Republic of China.

Qoros Automotive Co. Ltd. designs, engineers, manufactures, and markets cars. It offers SUV, sedan, and other cars. The company also provides financing and insurance options, as well as test drive services. It offers its products through dealers. Qoros Automotive Co. Ltd. operates as a joint venture between Chery Automobile Co., Ltd. and Israel Corporation Ltd.

KEN last traded at $14.00 up 8.8%. Shares have a 52-week range of $8.81 to $16.00.

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Amazon’s Move on Whole Foods Creates Opportunities

Shares of virtually every major retailer that sells food is lower

Shares of Impinj (PI) surged after Amazon’s announcement

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Shares of virtually every major retailer that sells food – including Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT), Costco (COST), Kroger (KR), Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM), Dollar General (DG) and Dollar Tree (DLTR) – are down after Amazon (AMZN) announced it will acquire Whole Foods Market (WFM).

BACKGROUND

Amazon and Whole Foods announced a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will buy the natural and organic grocery chain for $42 per share in a transaction valued at approximately $13.7B, including debt. Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and “source from trusted vendors and partners around the world,” the company stated. John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas. The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.

JANA PUSH FOR SALE

The news comes after activist investor JANA Partners took an 8.3% stake in the grocery chain in April urging it to address chronic underperformance for shareholders, change the board and senior management, optimize real estate and capital allocation strategies and pursue opportunities to improve performance. Whole Foods restructured its board in May, appointing five new independent directors, which pleased JANA, but the investor remained skeptical of the company’s operational plan and had concerns about a lack of grocery experience on the board.

Speaking in an interview with Texas Monthly just this week, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey said: “Yes, we need to evolve. We need to get better, and we’re doing that. But these guys [JANA] just want to sell us, because they think they can make forty or fifty percent in a short period of time. They’re greedy bastards, and they’re putting a bunch of propaganda out there, trying to destroy my reputation and the reputation of Whole Foods, because it’s in their self-interest to do so.”

STOCK TO WATCH

Shares of Impinj (PI) surged after Amazon’s announcement due to a small connection between the RFID technology maker and Amazon. Impinj manufactures non-volatile-memory chips and radio frequency chips that are used in “tags” that can be attached to objects, and it also makes wireless scanning devices to read those tags at a distances, including for inventory management for groceries. Amazon is a member of Impinj’s industry group to promote RFID tech, though it is not yet clear if Amazon will utilize the startup’s technology

PRICE ACTION

In Friday’s trading, Wal-Mart fell over 6%, Target dropped more than 10%, Costco declined 7% and Kroger, which also cut its fiscal year profit outlook along with its earnings report last night, plunged 14%. Meanwhile, Whole Foods shares are up 27% to $41.94 and Amazon has risen 3% to $993.14 per share.

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Amazon to acquire Whole Foods for $42 per share

Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion in cash

John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market

Amazon to buy Whole Foods

Amazon (AMZN) and Whole Foods Market (WFM) announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which Amazon will acquire Whole Foods Market for $42 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $13.7B, including Whole Foods Market’s net debt.

Whole Foods Market will continue to operate stores under the Whole Foods Market brand and source from trusted vendors and partners around the world.

John Mackey will remain as CEO of Whole Foods Market and Whole Foods Market’s headquarters will stay in Austin, Texas.

Completion of the transaction is subject to approval by Whole Foods Market’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

The parties expect to close the transaction during the second half of 2017.

Amazon (AMZN) said Whole Foods (WFM) “will be obligated to pay a fee equal to $400M if the Merger Agreement is terminated (i) by the company because the Whole Foods Market board of directors has changed its recommendation of the Merger prior to the Whole Foods Market shareholder approval having been obtained, or (ii) by Whole Foods Market if, prior to the time the Whole Foods Market shareholder approval is obtained, Whole Foods Market enters into an Alternative Acquisition Agreement that provides for a Superior Proposal.

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Weight Watchers Higher on Insider Buy

Weight Watchers said in a regulatory filing that its general counsel purchased 7,110 shares in the company

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Weight Watchers (WTW) shares are getting a boost following a filing by the company’s general counsel showing he purchased shares in the weight loss company.

SHARE PURCHASE

Weight Watchers said in a regulatory filing on Thursday afternoon that general counsel Michael Colosi purchased 7,110 shares in the company.

RECENT COMPANY NEWS

In May, the Oprah Winfrey-backed diet company posted a surprise profit for the first quarter and reported revenue that also beat analysts’ expectations.

The company also said it ended the quarter with 3.6M subscribers, up 16% from a year ago. The gains prompted the company to raise its earnings per share view for fiscal year 2017.

Weight Watchers has been on a turnaround track since Winfrey took a stake in the company and agreed to become a company spokesperson in October 2015.

In addition to “the Oprah Effect,” CFO Nick Hotchkin said the company is retaining customers through technology investments and an improved weight loss program.

New CEO

Weight Watchers announced in late April that Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, Inc (HSNI), would join the company as president and CEO in July. The company had been seeking a replacement for Jim Chambers, who resigned in September 2016.

Weight Watchers recently announced results from a two-year study published in The Lancet which found that adults with obesity referred to Weight Watchers for one year lost significantly more weight and were able to keep it off for longer “compared to those who either received brief advice and self-help materials, or were referred to a 12-week Weight Watchers program.” Those on both the 12- and 52-week Weight Watchers program also had greater blood sugar control and greater reductions in body fat than those on the brief intervention program.

PRICE ACTION:

Weight Watchers closed on Thursday up 6.3% at $28.80, just off the 52-week high of $28.95 hit during the session.

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Trump plans executive order on drug prices

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The Trump administration is preparing an executive order regarding U.S. drug costs, which may express support for value-based agreements via which drug companies and health insurers make arrangements to pay for products depending on how well they work, Bloomberg reported yesterday afternoon, citing people familiar with the matter.

A first executive order on drug prices may come out soon, followed by a second, more extensive one later, sources told the news service.

Top health and budget officials in the administration will meet today to discuss the issue, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the session is private. Trump sought recommendations from the nation’s health agencies on reducing medication costs, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price told senators last week.

Unlike other advanced economies, the U.S. doesn’t directly regulate medicine prices. The pricing system is opaque, with list prices set by drugmakers and rebates negotiated in private with intermediaries like PBMs.

The industry wants the government to modify the law so that companies can reach more value-based payment agreements, whereby reimbursements are based on a drug’s results. Swiss pharma giant Novartis AG has such a “pay-for-performance” plan in place for heart failure treatment #Entresto, in which insurers pay more if the drug keeps patients out of the hospital and lowers associated costs.

Another idea discussed by the industry would allow insurers to pay by increments for very expensive drugs that essentially cure diseases.

The president has threatened on several occasions to force drugmakers to bid for government business as a way to reduce prices. He’s also talked about letting consumers import drugs from other countries with lower prices. Neither of those policies, which would likely require a change in law to be implemented in a meaningful way, are in drafts of the orders, according to one person familiar with the effort.

Publicly traded large-cap drugmakers include AstraZeneca (AZN), Bristol-Myers (BMY), Eli Lilly (LLY), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), Merck (MRK), Novartis (NVS), Pfizer (PFE), Roche (RHHBY) and Sanofi (SNY).

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BabyRuth is For Sale!

Nestle to explore strategic options for its US confectionery business

Brands for sale include Butterfinger, BabyRuth, 100Grand, SkinnyCow, Raisinets, Chunky, OhHenry! and LaffyTaffy

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Nestle (NSRGY) to explore strategic options for its US confectionery business, including a potential sale.

The review covers the US market only and is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Nestle’s US confectionery business had sales of around CHF 900M in 2016.

It primarily includes popular local chocolate brands such as #Butterfinger, #BabyRuth, 100Grand, SkinnyCow, Raisinets, Chunky, OhHenry! and SnoCaps, as well as local sugar brands such as SweeTarts, #LaffyTaffy, Nerds, FunDip, PixyStix, Gobstopper, BottleCaps, Spree and Runts.

It also comprises the international chocolate brand #Crunch.

The strategic review does not cover Nestle’s Toll House baking products, a strategic growth brand which the company will continue to develop in the US market.

Nestle remains fully committed to growing its leading international confectionery activities around the world, particularly its global brand #KitKat.

Nestle’s global confectionery sales amounted to CHF 8.8B in 2016.

Potential buyers include Hershey’s (HSY), Carlisle Group Kraft-Heinz (KHC), and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRK-B).

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Adamis Shares Jump on FDA approval of its EpiPen equivalent

FDA grants Adamis Pharma. approval for generic version of Epi Pen

Mylan shares are down on the news

 

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Adamis Pharmaceuticals (ADMP) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Adamis’ Epinephrin Injenction, USP, 1:1000 for the emergency treatment of allergic reactions including anaphylaxis.

The FDA has also approved the PFS trade name of #Symjepi. Symjepi provides two single dose syringes of epinephrine, which is considered the drug of choice for immediate administration in acute anaphylactic reactions to insect stings or bites, allergic reaction to foods, drugs and other allergens, as well as idiopathic or exercise-induced anaphylaxis.

Dr. Dennis J. Carlo, President and CEO of Adamis, stated, “We are very excited by this approval, and at the same time, are already preparing to submit our second NDA to the FDA.  This second submission is for the junior version of Symjepi. We are committed to helping patients by providing them with additional therapeutic choices.  With an anticipated lower cost, small size and user-friendly design, we believe Symjepi could be an attractive option for a significant portion of both the retail and non-retail (professional) sectors of the epinephrine market. We are currently in the process of exploring all of our commercialization options and in discussions with potential partners in order to facilitate broad patient access to this new epinephrine treatment option and to maximize the value of our important asset. In the interim, we expect to build inventory levels in preparation for an anticipated launch in the second half of this year.”

Mylan (MYL) shares are down 3% to $36.75. ADMP shares are up 30% to $5.00

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Wabco Could be Sold!

A tech company with autonomous truck ambitions could buy Wabco

Piper raised its price target for Wabco shares to $143

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With disruption seen in the automotive market amid the development of connected and autonomous vehicle technology, Piper Jaffray analyst Alexander Potter said he expects the trucking sector to follow suit, leaving Wabco Holdings (WBC) as the only truck stock that he views as worth owning.

BIG TECH EYES TRUCKS

As tech companies develop self-driving technology, Tesla (TSLA) and Amazon (AMZN) are making moves that analysts believe could potentially disrupt the trucking space.

In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Tesla Semi truck unveil set for September,” after originally announcing the electric truck in his “Master Plan, Part Deux,” released in July, writing it “will deliver a substantial reduction in the cost of cargo transport, while increasing safety and making it really fun to operate.”

Meanwhile in December, Amazon was said to be developing an app, expected to launch this summer, which will connect truckers and shippers in much the same way that Uber connects drivers and riders.

“ONLY” TRUCK STOCK WORTH OWNING

Piper’s Potter raised his price target for Wabco shares to $143 from $129 in a note to investors this morning, saying the company’s upcoming analyst day should illuminate the point that it will benefit, not be disrupted by, secular trends in the industry.

A tech company with autonomous truck ambitions could buy Wabco and then use its “dominant position” in braking/stability control to drive standardization around a suite of self-driving algorithms, the analyst argues.

However, technology companies might not consider purchasing Wabco as they have often preferred to partner with automotive suppliers in order to focus on developing software or operating systems, Potter said, but added investors underestimate the role of electronics and software/controls in Wabco products.

Ignoring a potential takeover, the analyst still believes investors should buy Wabco to benefit from growth themes like automation and connectivity. Potter said even without the self-driving, connected vehicles trend, he expects Wabco’s revenue-per-vehicle-produced to continue to rise, the European truck cycle to recover following French elections and sees upside in China during the year. He keeps an Overweight rating on the shares.

OTHERS TO WATCH

Other publicly traded companies in the trucking and logistics space include C.H. Robinson (CHRW), ArcBest (ARCB), J.B. Hunt (JBHT), Echo Global (ECHO), Expeditors (EXPD), Knight Transportation (KNX), Old Dominion (ODFL), Swift Transportation (SWFT), Werner (WERN) and XPO Logistics (XPO).

PRICE ACTION

Wabco rose 0.1% to $121.68 in early afternoon trading. Shares have a 52-week trading range of $84.48 – $126.07.

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Nike to reduce its styles by 25%

Nike to cut 2% of global workforce

Under Armour estimates lowered at Susquehanna

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Nike ( $NKE ), a Dow Jones industrial average component, is in focus today after the company announced a new business structure, which involves cutting 2% of its overall workforce. Nike had more than 70,000 employees at the end of fiscal 2016.

#Nike intends to boost its revenue to $50 billion by the end of fiscal 2020, with North America making up 40% of that target.

REALIGNMENT

Nike announced a new alignment structure called the Consumer Direct Offense, which includes cutting its global workforce by approximately 2%.

“Nike’s leadership and organizational changes will streamline and speed up strategic execution,” the company said in a statement.

 

As a result of the new alignment, Nike will reduce its styles by 25% and attempt to cut product creation cycle times in half.

Nike also said it will create the Nike Direct organization, which will be led by Heidi O’Neill, President of Nike Direct, and Adam Sussman, Chief Digital Officer.

The changes are intended to “streamline and speed up strategic execution,” said Nike in a press release. Its new “consumer direct offense” targets a dozen cities — New York, London, Shanghai, Beijing, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, Berlin, Mexico City, Barcelona, Seoul, and Milan — that are seen accounting for over 80% of its growth through 2020.

WHAT’S NOTABLE

Piper Jaffray analyst Erinn Murphy said earlier this month that she believes Nike’s innovation pipeline “has paused” while competition “remains fierce.”

In April, Nike posted third quarter revenue slightly below consensus expectations and said worldwide futures orders were down 1%, excluding the impact of currency.

The apparel maker, however, beat earnings per share estimates for the quarter. Nike is expected to report fourth quarter earnings on June 29.

COMPETITION

Nike competes most directly in the space with adidas (ADDYY) and Under Armour (UAA, UA). Separately, Under Armour got an estimate cut as one analyst says stores are “likely canceling” product orders.

#Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser told investors to sell Under Armour due to poor product segmentation in the moderate channel, which he sees pressuring its top line and margins. The analyst said sports retailers are planning the Under Armour business down because of the poor product segmentation and he said the top line may be pressured even if the Curry 4 sneaker lives up to expectations.

Nike (NKE) shares are down 2.7% in Thursday’s trading to $53.18.

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Qatar to Buy 36 F-15 for $12 billion

Qatar signed a deal to buy as many as 36 F-15 Boeing jets

Congress last year approved sale of as many as 72 F-15s to Qatar

 

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Qatar signed a deal to buy as many as 36 F-15 jets from the U.S. as the two countries navigate tensions over President Donald Trump’s backing for a Saudi-led coalition’s move to isolate the country for supporting terrorism.

The sale “will give Qatar a state of the art capability and increase security cooperation and interoperability between the United States and Qatar,” the Defense Department said in a statement.

Congress last year approved sale of as many as 72 F-15s in an agreement valued at as much as $21 billion, providing authorization for the deal completed yesterday. But that was before Qatar’s neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, severed diplomatic, trade and transport links last week in a move they said was aimed at isolating the country for its support of terrorist groups and Iran.

The F-15 sale highlights the complex position the Trump administration finds itself in, forced to balance its focus on fighting terrorism against regional rivalries between key allies. Qatar hosts the regional headquarters for U.S. Central Command, which includes a state-of-the-art air base the U.S. depends on to target Islamic State.

Qatar’s Defense Ministry said the deal would create 60,000 jobs in 42 U.S. states while reducing the burden on U.S. forces. The F-15 accord will lead to “closer strategic collaboration in our fight to counter violent extremism and promote peace and stability in our region and beyond,” the ministry said in a statement.

Last year, after the State Department approved the jet sale, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency issued a report saying that the proposed sale “enhances the foreign policy and national security of the United State by helping to improve the security of a friendly country and strengthening our strategically important relationship.”

The McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is now owned by Boeing (BA) has been exported to Israel, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

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Bank of England keeps rates unchanged

The Bank of England’s kept rates unchanged at 0.25%

Bond Buyback to continue at GBP 10B

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The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee voted by a majority of 5-3 to maintain Bank Rate at 0.25%.

The split among Bank of England policy makers widened this month as three officials called for a rate increase, warning that inflation could rise more than previously thought.

The Committee voted unanimously to maintain the stock of sterling non-financial investment-grade corporate bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at GBP 10B.

The Committee also voted unanimously to maintain the stock of UK government bond purchases, financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, at GBP 435B.

The pound jumped after the decision and was up 0.24 percent at $1.2781. Bonds fell, with the 10-year gilt yield rising 9 basis points to 1.01 percent.

Citing the pound’s recent decline, the BOE said inflation could overshoot the 2 percent target by more than previously thought. The three hawks also said that slack in the labor market appeared to have diminished.

For the majority, reasons for keeping policy unchanged included slowing consumer spending and economic growth.

The outcome of the U.K. vote complicates the prospects for Brexit talks. When the BOE updated its economic forecasts last month, it assumed that Britain’s adjustment to a new relationship with the European Union will be “smooth” — avoiding a so-called cliff edge.

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The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional and any action a reader takes as a result of information presented here is his or her own responsibility.