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Providian Financial (PVN:NYSE) is a diversified consumer lending company. They recently sold some of their credit card portfolio to J.P. Morgan (JPM:NYSE). It has been reported that Barclay's may buy part or all of the remaining company for cash.

This possibility is reflected in the current option activity: there are large sellers of long term options and buyers of near term options. The reasoning behind this is that if the stock is taken over at a higher price, the near term options, with less over all option premium, may even rise in price while the long term options would drop in price.

The discrepancy in the price may infer that option players are putting a very high probability on a deal happening.
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