Banking & Finance

Rumor Friday (APR 13, 2007)


What preceeds “Merger Monday”?  The answer isn’t really Sunday.  It’s “Rumor Friday,” of course. 

This week we even heard about private equity guys admitting the deals are getting crazy because of the financing available.  By the size of this list, you can tell that there is no way under the sun that these can all occur.  It’s truly an M&A world gone wild.  Oh well, here is the list of stocks that have been rumored to be in merger discussions or potential targets this week, and there are probably a dozen or more others:

Sallie Mae (SLM)….media saying it could go to private equity, of course.  This even has Nelnet(NNI) and First Marblehead (FMD) up in hopes that if one student loancompany gets gobbled it means the others could too (or at least maybethe worst could be behind)…. who knows.

MedImmune (MEDI) exploring alternatives….”put itself up for sale.”

Halliburton (HAL) for Weatherford (WFT)….WFT up 3% today as a result.

Midwest Air (MEH) snubbing Airtran (AAI) again, Airtran says the bid is high enough.  Do you believe them?

Cott (COT) in talks with private equity firms on a Cadbury Beverage combination…..stock up 28%….”Welcome Back Cot…..”

IPSCO (IPS)….up $20 since earlier in the week, company confirmed “talks that could lead to a sale,” but not with whom…..

Palm (PALM) re-rumored as potential bait for Dell (DELL), these rumors just won’t die.

Novastar Financial (NFI) exploring options….a Takeunder for subprime slime?

Bell Canada (BCE) now under potential takeouts by the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund, so to speak.

Alcoa (AA) survived its earnings after a crummy history…..many think this one still gets gobbled…..

Dow Chemical (DOW) rumors of a private equity buyout just won’t die,even if they deny the rumor and fire 2 executives for “holdingunauthorized talks” with outside parties.

Wyndham Worldwide (WYN) could be the next buyout for its valueaccording to Cramer, as the only Cendant piece that hasn’t made thegrade.

Kroger (KR) denied it is interested in going private…..maybe WallStreet recalls that grocery store margins are low.  The good news isthat you can now get a huge portion of the items you can at WholeFoods, without the “Whole Paycheck” price.

NASDAQ (NDAQ) held talks with the Oslo Stock Exchange.  Supposedly nodeal is imminent, but right now if you are an exchange you arebasically takeover bait (hence, our BAIT SHOP).

ABN AMRO (ABN) still on deck…..who, what, when, where????? Barclays (BCS)?

Gold Fields Ltd. (GFI) went up on what may have been a fake “buyout rumor or interest” from a Mr. Pastorini…..can you say “Weird?”

Interest in rails after Warren Buffett disclosed stake in BurlingtonNorthern Santa Fe Corp (BNI)….looks like Buffett feels differentlyabout rail companies than airline companies.

Magna International confirmed its role in ongoing Chrysler talks, part of DaimlerChrysler (DCX).

Is there any irony to looking at “merger rumors” or speculation on a FRIDAY 13TH?

Jon C. Ogg
April 13, 2007

Jon Ogg can be reached at; he does not own securities in the companies he covers.

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