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6:23 pm B&G Foods prices offering of $500.0 mln 5.25% senior notes due 2025 at a price to the public of 100% of their face value; proceeds from the offering will be approximately $493 mln (BGS) :

6:22 pm Thinly traded Till Capital will be late in filing its audited financial statements - anticipates the required filings will be made on or about April 14, 2017; still in the process of converting from IFRS to U.S. GAAP (TIL) :

6:20 pm Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates signed agreement with List International Realty, which owns List Sotheby's International Realty, to now represent the Sotheby's International Realty brand in Hong Kong (BID) : The firm will be led by President and CEO, Hisashi Kitami, who also leads List Sotheby's International Realty operations in Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Singapore.

5:52 pm EXFO announces CEO transition; founder/Chairman/CEO Germain Lamonde appointed COO Philippe Morin as new CEO effective April 1 (EXFO) :

  • Morin has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and became EXFO's COO in November 2015. Before joining EXFO, Mr. Morin was Senior Vice-President of Worldwide Sales and Field Operations at Ciena (CIEN).
  • Lamonde, who will become EXFO's Executive Chairman, will maintain leadership of the acquisition strategy and remain actively involved in defining the company's growth initiatives, customer outreach and corporate governance.

5:43 pm Vanda Pharma entered into license agreement with UC San Francisco; will pay UCSF initial license fee of $1 mln and eligible to receive up to $46 mln (VNDA) :

  • Vanda will acquire an exclusive worldwide license from UCSF to develop and commercialize a portfolio of Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator activators and inhibitors.
  • Under the terms of the agreement, Vanda will pay UCSF an initial license fee of $1 million and will be responsible for all development costs. UCSF is eligible to receive up to $46 million in potential development, regulatory and sales milestones as well as single-digit tiered royalties on net sales should a product be successfully commercialized. In 2017, Vanda intends to complete the technology transfer activities from UCSF and initiate IND enabling studies for several CFTR indications.

5:31 pm HCP completed sale of a portfolio of 64 triple-net assets leased to Brookdale Senior Living (BKD) to affiliates of Blackstone (BX) Real Estate Partners at the previously announced aggregate sales price of $1.125 billion (HCP) : HCP expects to record a gain of approximately $165 million on the sale of the 64 triple-net assets and intends to use the proceeds primarily to pay down debt and for general corporate purposes.

5:30 pm WildHorse Resource Development misses by $0.15, misses on revs; updates 2017 development plan (WRD) :

  • Reports Q4 (Dec) loss of $0.11 per share, $0.15 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.04; revenues rose 39.2% year/year to $39.26 mln vs the $46.16 mln Capital IQ Consensus. Net production was 14.3 MBoe/d for the fourth quarter 2016 compared to 14.1 MBoe/d for the fourth quarter 2015.
  • 2017 Development Plan: As previously announced, WRD expects to spend $450 to $600 mln on its 2017 D&C capital budget and to bring online between 80 and 100 gross wells in 2017. WRD brought online approximately 7 gross Eagle Ford horizontal wells during the first quarter of 2017. 70% of Eagle Ford wells will come online in the second half of 2017, evenly split between the third quarter and fourth quarter 2017. While the majority of the activity in the Eagle Ford will be focused on the Burleson Main and Burleson North areas, WRD recently added a fifth Eagle Ford rig that will focus on a number of special projects such as delineating the aerial extent of the acreage position, drilling wells in the Burleson Core, and exploring new targets. WRD's broad capex range of $450 to $600 mln is based on the flexibility of the fifth Eagle Ford rig. Based on the mid-point of 2017 guidance of 23.0 -- 27.0 MBoe/d, WRD expects to grow production by 36% pro-forma for the Burleson North acquisition. In North Louisiana, WRD expects to bring online 2 gross wells in the second quarter 2017 and 7 gross wells in the fourth quarter 2017. In the second quarter 2017, WRD plans to add an additional drilling rig in North Louisiana. Currently, WRD is operating 5 drilling rigs in the Eagle Ford and 1 drilling rig in North Louisiana. During 2017, WRD plans to operate an average of 6 drilling rigs with an average of 4.5 rigs in the Eagle Ford and 1.5 rigs in North Louisiana.
  • Hedging update: As of March 29, 2017, WRD has hedged approximately 72% of its expected 2017 production (using the mid-point of WRD's guidance range). In 2017, WRD has hedged approximately 72% of expected oil volumes and approximately 89% of expected natural gas volumes (using the mid-point of WRD's guidance range). WRD's weighted average hedge price in 2017 is $53.75 per Bbl of oil and $3.21 per MMBtu of natural gas.

5:16 pm Mid Penn Bancorp to purchase stock of The Scottdale Bank (OTC: SDLJ) in merger transaction valued at approx $59.1 mln; expected to close in the third quarter of 2017 (MPB) :

  • Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of Scottdale common stock will receive approximately $59.1 million in consideration, or $1,166 per share for each share of Scottdale common stock, subject to an aggregate proration of no less than 90% common stock in Mid Penn and no more than 10% cash. The per share acquisition price equals approximately 130 percent of Scottdale's December 31, 2016, tangible book value per share.
  • Mid Penn expects the transaction will be immediately accretive to tangible book value per share and will materially increase their capital ratios. Mid Penn projects that it will have over $1.3 billion in assets upon completion of the merger.

5:11 pm Seabridge Gold announces CAD$14.3 million bought deal offering of common shares and concurrent CAD$20.0 million bought deal offering of flow-through shares (SA) : The Underwriters have agreed to purchase, on a bought deal basis, one million Common Shares at a price of CAD$14.30 per Common Share for gross proceeds of CAD$14,300,000. The Company intends to use the net proceeds from the Common Share Offering to continue to advance the Company's KSM and Iskut Projects and for general corporate purposes.

5:05 pm Williams Partners' Northwest Pipeline priced its previously announced offering of senior notes (WPZ) : The $250 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes due 2027, scheduled to be delivered on April 3, 2017, were priced with a 4.000 percent coupon and at an offering price of 99.641 percent of par, with a yield to investors of 4.044 percent. Northwest intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to repay its $185 million of 5.95% Senior Notes due 2017 upon their maturity on April 15, 2017, and for general corporate purposes.

5:04 pm Advanced Emissions Solutions confirms SEC resolution - agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $500,000 (ADES) :

  • Without admitting or denying the SEC's allegations, the company has agreed to the terms of the settlement and agreed to pay a civil monetary penalty of $500,000. The company previously established a reserve for the potential settlement of this matter which will not require adjustment. The SEC's order alleges certain negligence-based financial reporting and internal controls claims dating from 2011 to 2014. As noted in the order, the company has since made significant leadership changes, including a new senior management team and new finance and accounting personnel. The SEC also recognized the company's cooperation during the investigation.

5:03 pm CorEnergy's MoGas announced non-binding Open Season to solicit long-term commitments from shippers for firm transportation capacity on the MoGas Pipeline in eastern Missouri (CORR) : The Open Season begins at 9:00 AM Central Time, April 1, 2017 and will close at 5:00 PM Central Time, June 30, 2017. Bids must be received by 5:00 PM Central Time on June 30th. After the close of this non-binding Open Season, MoGas will follow-up with parties submitting bids.

5:02 pm Azure Power commissioned 7 MWs of solar plant capacity in the state of Maharashtra (becomes the first private solar company to power the Defence Ministry under the National Solar Mission) (AZRE) : Azure Power won this project under the National Solar Mission. The power generated is sold to Ministry of Defence establishments under a 25-year power purchase agreement at a blended tariff of INR 5.36 (~US 8 cents) per kWh. In addition, SECI will provide viability gap funding of INR 1.73 million for this project.

5:01 pm Ramaco Resources to acquire Southwestern Virginia Coal Properties (METC) :

  • Co has entered into various agreements acquiring, through its subsidiary RAMACO Resources Land Holdings, LLC, approximately 14,762 acres of coal properties in Tazewell and Buchanan Counties, Virginia and McDowell County, West Virginia, from Jewell Ridge Coal Corporation, an indirect subsidiary of The Brink's Company (BCO). As part of the transaction, Ramaco acquired several coal leaseholds adjacent to its Knox Creek operations. Among the assets acquired, Ramaco became the sublessor of Revelation Energy, which now operates several underground coal mines formerly owned by a subsidiary of SunCoke Energy, Inc. ("SunCoke"), and which still supply coal to SunCoke's nearby Jewell Coke Plant. However, Ramaco also acquired significant properties that are not subleased to Revelation in close proximity to Ramaco's Knox Creek preparation plant and Norfolk Southern loadout, which may be developed in the future.
  • As consideration for the transaction, Ramaco paid $125,000, a portion of which is recoupable from future production, and agreed to pay an overriding royalty to Jewell Ridge on production from properties not already subleased to Revelation.

4:58 pm Embraer SA confirms it has flown the E195-E2 ahead of schedule (originally scheduled for the second half of the year) (ERJ) :

4:52 pm Exelixis further reduces indebtedness by repaying $80.1 mln Silicon Valley Bank term loan (was due for repayment on May 31) and plans for early repayment of Deerfield Notes (EXEL) : Co plans to eliminate another source of indebtedness later this year by retiring the Deerfield Notes, a series of Convertible Secured Notes issued due July 1, 2018. As of December 31, 2016, the carrying balance on the Deerfield Notes was $109.1 mln with the total of $124.9 mln due at maturity. Retiring the Deerfield Notes one year ahead of their maturity date will provide the company a savings of ~$12 mln in interest expense, net of the termination fee.

4:41 pm Omega Health will redeem all of the outstanding $400 mln 5.875% Senior Notes due 2024 (OHI) :

4:39 pm Amphenol prices offering of $400 mln Senior Notes due 2020 and $350 mln Senior Notes due 2024 (APH) : The 2020 Notes will have an interest rate of 2.200% and the 2024 Notes will have an interest rate of 3.200% per annum. The 2020 Notes are being issued at a price equal to 99.922% of their face value and the 2024 Notes are being issued at a price equal to 99.888% of their face value.

4:33 pm NetList reports Q4 results; patent infringement trial against SK hynix scheduled for May 2017 at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) (NLST) :

  • Q4 EPS ($0.06) vs ($0.07) Capital IQ Consensus; revs +93% y/y to $5.5 mln vs $4 mln Capital IQ Consensus.
  • "We delivered improved financial performance in 2016, highlighted by substantial revenue growth. Our more diversified revenue stems from our Joint Development Agreement with Samsung which included Non-Recurring Engineering Fees (NRE) to support the development of HybriDIMM, our plug and play storage class memory technology, and unique access to Samsung's enterprise-grade, memory products for resale," said C.K. Hong, Netlist's Chief Executive Officer. "During the year we took significant steps toward defending our valuable intellectual property by commencing legal actions against SK hynix at the ITC and in the federal district court based on the infringement of Netlist patents. We are seeking, among other things, a ban on the importation of infringing SK hynix server memory products and look forward to the opportunity to present our case in the ITC at trial in May."

4:33 pm Worthington misses by $0.09, misses on revs (WOR) :

  • Reports Q3 (Feb) earnings of $0.55 per share, $0.09 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.64; revenues rose 8.7% year/year to $703.4 mln vs the $717.26 mln Capital IQ Consensus
    • The increase was the result of higher average direct selling prices in Steel Processing and higher tolling volume due to the consolidation of the Worthington Specialty Processing (:WSP) joint venture effective March 1, 2016.
  • The increase was the result of higher average direct selling prices in Steel Processing and higher tolling volume due to the consolidation of the Worthington Specialty Processing (:WSP) joint venture effective March 1, 2016.
  • Co said, "we had a very good third quarter performance with Steel Processing contributing near record earnings and overall, we produced year-over-year growth, which remains our focus. Sales growth, higher steel pricing and higher tolling volume helped drive Steel Processing results. In Pressure Cylinders, demand improved for our helium and camping cylinders, while oil & gas markets remained soft, however, volumes have stabilized and certain markets are showing some increased demand." McConnell added, "The Company's joint ventures also contributed steady earnings
  • "There is great energy around our Lean Transformation efforts as we accelerate the deployment of more teams, expanding our abilities, moving more quickly and reaching deeper in our Company. We believe the economy continues to strengthen though unevenly, with certain markets not as robust as others. After a record first and second quarter and a strong third, we anticipate finishing our fiscal year well."

4:33 pm Pluristem Therapeutics details two senior executive appointments (PSTI) :

  • Yaky Yanay, President of Pluristem and formerly Chief Operating Officer, will join current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Zami Aberman as Co-Chief Executive Officer and retain his title of President of the company. Mr. Yanay will no longer serve as the company's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
  • In addition, Erez Egozi has been appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer of the company. Previously, Mr. Egozi served as the company's Vice President of Finance and Secretary.

4:33 pm Apollo Global Management and Chisholm Oil & Gas announce the formation of a strategic partnership to invest in oil and gas properties in Oklahoma (APO) : The initial acquisition is comprised of approximately 53,000 acres in and around Kingfisher County, Oklahoma with approximately 3,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day of current production.

4:31 pm Silver Spring Networks enters into an agreement with the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority to establish a communication platform based on its IPv6 multi-application Radio Frequency Mesh Canopy (SSNI) : The agreement includes the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of RF mesh canopy for smart grids.

4:31 pm Diplomat Pharmacy selected to the panel for the limited-distribution drug OCREVUS (DPLO) : OCREVUS is being developed by Genentech and Roche (RHHBY).

4:28 pm ConocoPhillips confirms $13.3 bln deal with Cenovus (CVE), will add $3 bln to repurchase authorization (COP) :

The co announced it has signed a definitive agreement with Cenovus (CVE) to sell its 50 percent nonoperated interest in the Foster Creek Christina Lake (:FCCL) oil sands partnership, as well as the majority of its western Canada Deep Basin gas assets, for total proceeds of $13.3 billion. ConocoPhillips Canada will retain its operated 50 percent interest in the Surmont oil sands joint venture and its operated 100 percent Blueberry-Montney unconventional acreage position.

  • The company intends to use the cash portion of the transaction proceeds to reduce debt to $20 billion in 2017 and increase the level and pace of share repurchases. The ConocoPhillips board of directors approved an increase in the existing share repurchase authorization to a total of $6 billion, which is double the previous $3 billion authorization. The company also intends to triple its planned 2017 buybacks from $1 billion to $3 billion, with the remaining $3 billion allocated to 2018 and 2019.
  • The company's previously stated estimate of cash provided by operating activities (CFO) of $6.5 billion at $50 per barrel Brent is unchanged as CFO from the disposition is roughly offset by lower interest expense. The company does not expect any change to 2017 capital expenditures
  • The disposed assets had a net book value of approximately $10.9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2016. The transaction is subject to specific conditions precedent being satisfied, including regulatory review and approval. The company expects to record a gain on sale upon closing, which is expected in the second quarter of 2017. Additionally, the company expects to recognize a financial tax accounting benefit of approximately $1 billion in the first quarter of 2017, which results from the capital gain component of the transaction and recognition of previously unrealizable tax basis. Tax expense associated with the sale will be recorded at the time of closing.

4:25 pm OFS Capital commences an underwritten offering of 3,500,000 shares of its common stock (OFS) : The Company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for new investments in portfolio companies in accordance with its investment objective and strategies and for general working capital purposes, including to temporarily repay indebtedness (which will be subject to re-borrowing), and other working capital needs.

4:20 pm Progress Software beats by $0.07, beats on revs; guides MayQ EPS in-line, revs below consensus; reaffirms FY17 EPS and revenue guidance (PRGS) :

  • Reports Q1 (Feb) earnings of $0.34 per share, excluding non-recurring items, $0.07 better than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.27 and above prior guidance of $0.25-0.27; non-GAAP revenues rose 1.1% year/year to $91.2 mln vs the $87.5 mln Capital IQ Consensus and above prior guidance of $86-89 mln.
  • Co issues guidance for Q2 (May), sees EPS of $0.35-0.37, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.37 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q2 non-GAAP revs of $89-92 mln vs. $93.1 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Co reaffirms guidance for FY17, sees EPS of $1.64-1.69, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $1.66 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY17 non-GAAP revs of $388-396 mln vs. $391.2 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Non-GAAP operating margin was 30% compared to 24% in the same quarter last year.

4:20 pm EXFO misses by $0.01 (:GAAP), reports revs in-line; guides Q3 EPS and revenue below consensus; Founder Germain Lamonde appoints Philippe Morin as new CEO (EXFO) :

  • Reports Q2 (Feb) GAAP earnings of $0.02 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $0.03; revenues rose 11.9% year/year to $60 mln vs the $60.47 mln Capital IQ Consensus. Bookings attained US$55.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017 compared to US$59.7 million in the same period last year and US$65.9 million in the first quarter of 2017. The company's book-to-bill ratio was 0.93 in the second quarter of 2017 and 1.00 at the half-way point of 2017, leading to year-over-year bookings growth of 3.0% after two quarters.
  • Co issues downside guidance for Q3, sees EPS of $0.00-0.04, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.09 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q3 revs of $58-63 mln vs. $63.96 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
  • Germain Lamonde, the co's founder, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), has appointed Philippe Morin as EXFO's new CEO, effective April 1, 2017. Mr. Morin has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and became EXFO's Chief Operating Officer (COO) in November 2015, leading the company's global sales, go-to-market and product management initiatives. Mr. Lamonde, who will become EXFO's Executive Chairman, will maintain leadership of the acquisition strategy and remain actively involved in defining the company's growth initiatives, customer outreach and corporate governance

4:20 pm Extreme Networks up $0.50 on AVGO news - see 16:13 (EXTR) :

4:18 pm Intermolecular appoints Bill Roeschlein, currently VP of Finance and Corporate Controller, as CFO; also announces restructuring initiative that will lower costs by approx. $4 mln in 2017 (IMI) :

  • Rapidly transition IMI into a more focused and nimble organization to create more value and move more quickly towards profitability
  • Focus primarily on materials innovation services for the semiconductor industry and its supply chain
  • Strengthen existing/returning customer relationships while building the sales pipeline with new clients
  • Focus on a limited R&D program in support of key services opportunities and licensed products

Executive changes:

  • Bruce McWilliams, currently Executive Chairman, to transition to non-executive Chairman
  • Bill Roeschlein, currently Vice President of Finance and Corporate Controller to be named Chief Financial Officer following the retirement of Rick Neely

4:18 pm Raytheon increases quarterly dividend to $0.7975/share from $0.7325/share (RTN) :

4:17 pm Kingold Jewelry reports Q4 EPS of $0.63 vs $0.09 year ago; revs +27.4% y/y to $357.6 mln (no estimates) (KGJI) :

  • Outlook for 2017: Company expects to process between 70 metric tons and 80 metric tons of 24-karat gold products in 2017, Focus on continued expansion of organic growth opportunities within China. Company to conduct investor meetings in late May or early June 2017 in the United States.

4:16 pm Tech Data Chairman Steven A. Raymund will not stand for reelection as a board member and will retire as chairman at the end of his term; co appoints CEO Bob Dutkowsky as the next chairman (TECD) :

4:16 pm Aspen Insurance provides estimated financial impact of the recent U.K. Ministry of Justice decision to decrease the discount rate used to calculate lump sum awards in U.K. bodily injury cases (AHL) : Aspen expects to increase carried reserves for impacted lines of business by approximately $30 million, on a pre-tax basis, in the first quarter of 2017 as a result of the change in the Ogden rate. Approximately half of the impact relates to business that Aspen has either exited and is in run-off or where Aspen has scaled back significantly over a number of years.

4:13 pm Cenovus Energy enters into a bought-deal financing agreement to sell 187.5 mln common shares at a price of CAD16.00/share (CVE) : The gross proceeds from the Offering will be approximately $3.0 billion. The Offering is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of applicable stock exchange approvals, and is expected to close on or about April 6, 2017.

4:13 pm Closing Market Summary: Stocks Eke Out a Win on Wednesday (:WRAPX) :

Tuesday's positive sentiment lingered throughout Wednesday's session as the benchmark S&P 500 (+0.1%) chalked up its second win of the week. The Nasdaq (+0.4%) also settled higher while the Dow (-0.2%) finished a tad lower.

While the macro movement was rather subdued on Wednesday, a variety of catalysts mixed things up on the micro level. Maybe the most notable of which was the latest crude oil inventory report from the EIA, which showed a smaller than expected build of 0.9 million barrels (consensus +1.4 million). The reading awoke the bulls in the crude oil futures market and prompted WTI crude to settle 2.2% higher at $49.47/bbl. The energy sector (1.2%) capitalized on the commodity's positive performance to settle at the top of the day's leaderboard.

Amazon (AMZN 874.32, +18.32) also influenced today's price action, jumping 2.1% to push the consumer discretionary sector (+0.6%) to the second spot in the day's standings. Today's gain leaves the internet retail giant 3.3% higher since Monday when it bounced off its 50-day moving average. The positive performance was also reflected in the 2.0% increase in the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT 42.54, +0.82).

Elsewhere on the corporate front, Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX 108.01, +18.34) propped up the biotech industry after reporting that an experimental cystic fibrosis drug improved lung function. VRTX shares spiked 20.5% and led the iShares Nasdaq Biotechnology ETF (IBB 294.42, +2.41) higher by 0.8%, but it still wasn't enough to give the health care sector (unch) an edge on its peers.

The heavily-weighted financial group (-0.5%) kept the market's gain in check, but nearly all of the remaining sectors--industrials, materials, technology, consumer staples, telecom services, and real estate--failed to distinguish themselves from the broader market, settling within 0.3% of their respective flat lines. Meanwhile, the utilities space (-0.5%) finished with the financial group at the bottom of the day's leaderboard, but its impact was minimal due to its low market capitalization.

In the Treasury market, U.S. sovereign debt settled with a modest gain for the second time this week. The benchmark 10-yr yield closed four basis points lower at 2.38%.

On the data front, today's economic releases were limited to February Pending Home Sales and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index:

  • Pending Home Sales for February rose 5.5% while the Briefing.com consensus expected an increase of 2.4%. Today's reading follows an unrevised 2.8% drop in January.
  • The weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 0.8% to follow last week's 2.7% decline.

Tomorrow, investors will receive the third estimate of fourth quarter GDP (Briefing.com consensus 2.0%) and Initial Claims (Briefing.com consensus 245,000) at 8:30 ET.

  • Nasdaq Composite +9.6% YTD
  • S&P 500 +5.5% YTD
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average +4.5% YTD
  • Russell 2000 +1.0% YTD

4:13 pm Broadcom enters agreement to sell its data center center switching, routing, and analytics business to Extreme Networks (EXTR) for $55 mln in cash; transaction contingent on Broadcom closing its proposed acquisition of Brocade (BRCD) (AVGO) :

Brocade's data center networking business will be sold to Extreme for $55 million in cash, consisting of $35 million at closing and $20 million in deferred payments, as well as additional potential performance based payments to Broadcom, to be paid over a five-year term.

  • Extreme (EXTR) expects the acquisition to be accretive to cash flow and earnings for its fiscal year 2018 and expects to generate over $230 million in annualized revenue from the acquired assets.
  • The acquisition is expected to close within 60 days following the closing of Broadcom's acquisition of Brocade.
  • Co expects to close the Brocade acquisition in its third fiscal quarter ending July 30, 2017.

Extreme Networks will host a conference call at 4:30 p.m. ET today to discuss this announcement.

4:12 pm Cenovus Energy acquires ConocoPhillips' (COP) 50% interest in the FCCL Partnership and also purchases the majority of ConocoPhillips' Deep Basin conventional assets in Alberta and British Columbia for a total consideration of $17 bln; immediately accretive (CVE) :

  • Cenovus Energy agrees to acquire ConocoPhillips' 50% interest in the FCCL Partnership, the companies' jointly owned oil sands venture operated by Cenovus.
  • Cenovus is also purchasing the majority of ConocoPhillips' Deep Basin conventional assets in Alberta and British Columbia.
  • Combined, these assets have forecast 2017 production of approximately 298,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (BOE/d).
  • The acquisition is immediately accretive to key metrics, and, assuming the successful completion of a planned divestiture program, is expected to result in an 18% increase in 2018 adjusted funds flow per share compared with Cenovus's original 2018 forecast.
  • Total consideration for the purchase is $17.7 billion, including $14.1 billion in cash and 208 million Cenovus common shares. The cash component is fully financed with a portion of cash on hand, existing credit facility capacity and committed bridge loans. As part of the transaction, Cenovus has also agreed, in certain circumstances, to make contingent payments to ConocoPhillips.
  • The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to customary conditions, including the receipt of necessary regulatory approvals, and has an effective date of January 1, 2017.
  • "This transformational acquisition allows us to take full control of our best-in-class oil sands projects and to add a second growth platform across the prolific Deep Basin that provides complementary short-cycle development opportunities," said Brian Ferguson, Cenovus President & Chief Executive Officer. "The acquisition is accretive and significantly increases Cenovus's growth potential. Going forward, we plan to focus capital spending on these two value platforms. At the same time, we intend to divest a significant portion of our legacy conventional assets to help fund the transaction."

4:11 pm Progress Software acquires DataRPM for $30 mln, with $28.3 mln paid in cash, and $1.7 mln payable to DataRPM's founders in the form of restricted Progress stock (PRGS) : DataRPM is a privately-held company and provides cognitive predictive maintenance for the industrial IoT market.

4:10 pm lululemon athletica misses by $0.01, reports revs in-line; guides Q1 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus; guides FY18 EPS below consensus, revs below consensus (LULU) :

  • Reports Q4 (Jan) earnings of $1.00 per share, $0.01 worse than the Capital IQ Consensus of $1.01; revenues rose 12.0% year/year to $789 mln vs the $783.32 mln Capital IQ Consensus.
    • Comp Store Sales increased 6% y/y, gudiance was for mid-single digits.
  • Comp Store Sales increased 6% y/y, gudiance was for mid-single digits.
  • Co issues downside guidance for Q1, sees EPS of $0.25-0.27, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $0.39 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees Q1 revs of $510-515 mln vs. $552.44 mln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
    • See Comp Sales decrease in the low single digits.
  • See Comp Sales decrease in the low single digits.
  • Co issues downside guidance for FY18, sees EPS of $2.26-2.36, excluding non-recurring items, vs. $2.56 Capital IQ Consensus Estimate; sees FY18 revs of $2.550-2.600 bln vs. $2.62 bln Capital IQ Consensus Estimate.
    • Expects Comp store sales increase in low-single digits.
  • Expects Comp store sales increase in low-single digits.

4:09 pm Amgen announces that the FDA has accepted for priority review the supplemental Biologics License Application for BLINCYTO to include overall survival data from the Phase 3 TOWER study (AMGN) : The application also includes new data supporting the treatment of patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). The application aims to expand BLINCYTO's indication for the treatment of all patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor ALL and supports the conversion of BLINCYTO's accelerated approval to full approval. The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (:PDUFA) target action date is Aug. 14, 2017.

4:08 pm Tonix Pharma commences common stock offering; size not disclosed (TNXP) : Co intends to use the net proceeds from this offering to support the continued development of TNX-102 SL for the treatment of PTSD, including the HONOR study in military-related PTSD, to further develop other pipeline programs, for working capital and other general corporate purposes, and possibly acquisitions of other companies, products or technologies, though no such acquisitions are currently contemplated.

4:08 pm Sigma Designs reports EPS in-line, misses on revs; initiates expense reduction program (SIGM) :

  • Reports Q4 (Jan) loss of $0.16 per share, in-line with the Capital IQ Consensus of ($0.16); revenues fell 17.1% year/year to $42.7 mln vs the $43.29 mln Capital IQ Consensus.
  • Non-GAAP gross margin in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 was 50.6%. This compares with non-GAAP gross margin of 51.0% in the previous quarter, and non-GAAP gross margin of 49.6% for the same period in fiscal 2016.
  • "Although we are pleased with the progress we have made across many fronts, especially in our IoT space, we realize fiscal 2018 will be a transition year in our business as we begin to shift our focus from our historical target markets to an IoT focused company. While we are encouraged by the longer-term trends in our business, and how our solutions address these trends, we believe it is only prudent to take immediate actions to lower our expense structure. The actions include accelerating the transition of our development activities to lower cost regions where we already have a presence and focusing on our core product initiatives. As a result, we have initiated an expense reduction program that is designed to lower our annual operating expenses by approximately 10 percent compared with fiscal 2017."

4:06 pm Progress Software appoints Paul Jalbert, chief accounting officer, as CFO replacing Kurt Abkemeier, who will leave the company effective immediately (PRGS) :

4:05 pm Anthera Pharma announces the findings from the Extension Period of the Phase 3 SOLUTION; demonstrates comparable maintenance in key measurements of height, weight, and BMI (ANTH) :

  • The Extension Period was designed as an observational analysis of the long-term effects of Sollpura and Pancreaze as it pertains to weight, height, BMI, and safety.
  • "We are pleased to see the continued tolerability and maintenance of weight and height in all of the Sollpura treated cystic fibrosis patients with EPI during the Extension Period and in particular, increases in weight and height in patients less than 17 years of age," stated William Shanahan, Anthera's Chief Medical Officer. "The 20-Week data provides support that Sollpura may offer patients an alternative to existing, porcine-based pancreatic enzyme replacement therapies."
  • The Extension Period data concludes the Phase 3 SOLUTION trial. Anthera plans to initiate a Phase 3 trial, RESULT, (Reliable Emergent Solution Using Liprotamase Treatment) in 1H 2017, with topline data anticipated at the end of 2017 or early 2018.

4:05 pm Qiagen announces US launch of its ipsogen for certain type of leukemia (QGEN) : The ipsogen JAK2 assay is processed on QIAGEN's Rotor-Gene Q MDx system, which is a member of the modular QIAsymphony family of automation solutions that offers a full Sample to Insight workflow. It also marks the fifth FDA clearance or approval of a QIAGEN oncology-related test for personalized healthcare.

4:05 pm Amgen announces publication of Phase 2 ALCANTARA study results evaluating the efficacy and safety of BLINCYTO in patients with Philadelphia chromosome-positive relapsed or refractory B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (AMGN) :

The study, one of the largest conducted in this patient population (n=45), found that 16 patients (36 percent, 95 percent CI, 22-51 percent) achieved complete remission or complete remission with partial hematologic recovery within the first two cycles of treatment, with 14 of the 16 (31 percent, 96 percent CI, 18--47 percent) patients achieving complete remission with full hematologic recovery.

  • Additionally, results showed that median relapse-free survival (:RFS) was 6.7 months (95 percent CI, 4.4 to not estimable [NE] months), with a median follow up of 9.0 months. Median overall survival (:OS) was 7.1 months (95 percent CI, 5.6 to NE months) with or without censoring for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloHSCT), with a median follow up of 8.8 months.
  • Q4 EPS ($0.05) vs ($0.05) single analyst estimate; revs +132% to $0.8 mln vs $0.90 mln single analyst estimate. The fourth quarter 2016 revenue included $680,000 from product sales of OVA1 by ASPiRA LABS and $125,000 of service revenue from ASPiRA IVD.
  • "2016 marked a pivotal year for us with our first clinical utility publication, ACOG guideline inclusion, international distribution agreements, major reimbursement progress with Medicare, positive medical policy coverage and in network payer agreements. In addition we cleared our 2nd generation product Overa (MIA2G) and launched ASPiRA IVD. We believe the stage is well set for continued progress in 2017."

4:02 pm Cara Therapeutics commences $80 mln common stock offering (CARA) : The proceeds of the offering are expected to be used to fund the company's clinical and research development activities, including the completion of the Phase 3 program for I.V. CR845 in uremic pruritus, two Phase 3 trials of I.V. CR845 in acute pain and a Phase 2b trial of oral CR845 in osteoarthritis pain, as well as for working capital and general corporate purposes.

4:02 pm Novartis AG announces that the FDA has accepted the Biologics License Application filing and granted priority review for CTL019 (NVS) :

The co announced that the US Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) has accepted the company's Biologics License Application (:BLA) filing and granted priority review for CTL019 (tisagenlecleucel-T), an investigational chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapy, in relapsed and refractory (r/r) pediatric and young adult patients with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). This is the first BLA submission by Novartis for a CAR-T. The priority review designation is expected to shorten the anticipated review time by the FDA.

  • According to the FDA guidelines, Priority Review status may potentially shorten the window for the agency to take action on an application to within six months of the filing acceptance compared to a standard review.
  • Novartis plans additional filings for CTL019 in the US and EU markets later this year, including a BLA with the FDA for treatment of adults with r/r diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (:DLBCL) and applications for marketing authorization with the European Medicines Agency in r/r B-cell ALL and r/r DLBCL.

4:02 pm Akamai Tech to acquire SOASTA in an all-cash transaction for an undisclosed sum; co expects the SOASTA acquisition to be slightly dilutive to its adj FY 17 EPS in the range of $0.06-0.07 and to become accretive in 2018 (AKAM) :

Through its acquisition of SOASTA, Akamai plans to add several new capabilities to its Web Performance Solutions portfolio.

  • The all-cash transaction is expected to close early in the second quarter. The Company expects the SOASTA acquisition to be slightly dilutive to Akamai's Non-GAAP net income per share for FY 2017 in the range of $0.06 to $0.07 and to become accretive in 2018.
  • Additional product and financial information related to the acquisition will be discussed during Akamai's Investor Summit on Thursday, March 30, 2017 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. ET.

4:01 pm e.l.f. Beauty commences 7 mln common stock offering by selling stockholders (ELF) :

4:01 pm P.A.M. Transport announces two senior executive appointments to support the co's growth and ensure continued success as it enters advanced stages of clinical development for its PLX products (PTSI) :

  • Yaky Yanay, President of Pluristem and formerly Chief Operating Officer, will join current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Zami Aberman as Co-Chief Executive Officer and retain his title of President of the company. Mr. Yanay will no longer serve as the company's Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Yanay joined Pluristem in 2006 as Chief Financial Officer and Secretary, before being promoted to Executive Vice President in 2013 and then to President and Chief Operating Officer in 2014.
  • In addition, Erez Egozi has been appointed to the position of Chief Financial Officer of the company. Previously, Mr. Egozi served as the company's Vice President of Finance and Secretary.

3:15 pm Innoviva: Activist Sarissa Capital Management issues statement in connection with its intent to nominate a minority slate to the Board of Directors of Innoviva; urges shareholders to vote the gold proxy card (INVA) :

Highlights of statement:

  • Innoviva's claim that Sarissa has not made a serious attempt to engage constructively with Innoviva's Board and management team is not true. In fact, the opposite is true. Sarissa has been rebuffed in its attempts to have an active dialogue with independent directors at Innoviva. In fact, in the middle of discussions with the company, Innoviva suddenly filed proxy materials rejecting all of our nominees and claiming incorrectly that we want to take control of the Board. Innoviva later explained to Sarissa that it filed those proxy materials to maintain its original timeline for the annual meeting, a choice which is unnecessary under Delaware law.
  • SARISSA'S INTERACTIONS WITH INNOVIVA OVER THE LAST TWO WEEKS BEST EXEMPLIFY THE UNTRUE NATURE OF INNOVIVA'S CLAIMS.
  • Time is of the essence. We urge you to VOTE THE GOLD PROXY CARD to help us deliver the necessary change to Innoviva. It is important that you submit your GOLD proxy card AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Importantly, if you receive a white card from Innoviva, DO NOT return it, just discard it. Returning a white card, even if you withhold on Innoviva's nominees, will not be a vote for the Sarissa nominees, and it would revoke any vote you previously submitted on the GOLD CARD.

2:07 pm Tata Motors says decision by Honourable Supreme Court to ban sale of all BSIII vehicles from April 1, 2017 is an unexpected and unprecedented move that will have a material impact on the entire automotive industry (TTM) :

  • The decision by Honourable Supreme Court to ban sale of all BSIII vehicles from April 1, 2017 is an unexpected and unprecedented move that will have a material impact on the entire automotive industry, OEM's and dealer network.
  • Tata Motors has always been strongly committed to bringing stringent emission control regulations and has made significant investments in technology, product development and operations. We have been producing BSIV compliant vehicles across our entire product range of passenger and commercial vehicles and are fully BSIV ready with effect from April 1, 2017.

2:04 pm Esterline Techs completes sale of BVR Technologies to Kaney Aerospance; terms not disclosed (ESL) :

1:27 pm Versar receives two option year awards, both in support of the U.S. Army Reserve 88th Regional Support Command valued at $12 mln (VSR) :

  • The two awards have an aggregate value of $12,001,282. The 88th RSC has a 19-state area of responsibility with nearly 365 facilities for which it is responsible.
  • Tony Otten, Chief Executive Officer of Versar, said, "These two option year awards are testaments to the excellent support our Professional Services Group provides to the 88th RSC, a highly valued client. Versar will continue to provide the 88th RSC with exceptional staff and service."

1:16 pm Mylan N.V. receives complete response letter from FDA regarding its ANDA for generic Advair Diskus (MYL) : The co commented on the status of its abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) for its generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) Advair Diskus. In conjunction with Mylan's GDUFA goal date, the company received a complete response letter from FDA regarding its ANDA for generic Advair Diskus. Mylan is in the process of reviewing this response and will provide an update on its application as soon as practicable once it has completed its review and discussed the FDA's feedback with the agency.

1:00 pm Midday Market Summary: Stocks Trade Flat at Midday (:WRAPX) :

There's been some action at the micro level in the first half of Wednesday's session, but it hasn't translated to much macro movement as the major averages hover in the neighborhood of their unchanged marks. The S&P 500 trades flat while the Dow (-0.3%) and the Nasdaq (+0.3%) are nestled on opposite sides of the benchmark index.

The energy sector (+1.1%) leads its peers by a relatively wide margin this afternoon following the latest crude oil inventory report from the Energy Information Administration. The EIA reading showed a smaller than expected build of 0.9 million barrels (consensus +1.4 million), which awoke the bulls in the crude oil futures market. The energy component trades 2.0% higher at $49.33/bbl, after being up around...


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