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Stocks To Watch: Alltel, Google, Hologic, JC Penney, Merril, Microsoft


Today's big stories and some stocks with potential to move...


Stocks to watch for Monday, May 21:

  • Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) is launching a product that lets companies clamp down remotely on security breaches on employee laptops.
  • TPG and Goldman Sachs (GS) agreed to purchase wireless operator Alltel (AT) for about $27.5 billion. The pact marks the biggest step yet by private equity into the wireless business and could presage more ambitious efforts by buyout firms.
  • Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA) said it has agreed to acquire jewelry manufacturers Bel-Oro International and Aurafin LLC. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2007, were not disclosed. The two companies will be combined into the newly formed Richline Group and will continue to market under multiple brands. Dennis Ulrich, currently the president of Bel-Oro, will become chief executive of the new group.
  • The Ontario Securities Commission accepted a new settlement agreement with Eugene Melnyk, founder and chairman of Toronto pharmaceutical company Biovail (BVF).
  • Constellation Energy Group (CEG) said that Chief Financial Officer E. Follin Smith has stepped down to spend more time with her family. The utility said it has named John Collins, who currently serves as chief risk officer, as CFO, effective immediately. Smith will continue to serve the company in a consulting capacity through February 2008, the company said.
  • Google (GOOG) is discussing an alliance with that could help both compete more effectively with Microsoft.
  • Hologic (HOLX) is buying Cytyc (CYTC) for $6.2 billion in stock and cash, in a deal to combine two big players in women's health care.
  • J.C. Penney's (JCP) shareholders rejected a proposal to amend the company's vote standard in board elections. The Plano, Texas, retailer said holders did approve a proposal regarding certain severance agreements with senior executives during the company's annual meeting.
  • Merrill (MER) is taking a stake of slightly less than 20% in an $8 billion hedge fund, GSO Partners, known for helping private-equity firms finance deals.
  • Microsoft (MSFT) is buying Razorfish parent aQuantive for $6 billion, its largest purchase ever. The 85% premium follows deals by Google, Yahoo and others, signaling competition for top online-ad assets.
  • NuStar Energy (NS) said it has filed a shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that will allow the company to offer up to $3 billion of various types of securities. NuStar is an oil and gas transportation and storage limited partnership.
  • Pfizer (PFE) announced leadership changes for its research and finance organizations, in the most dramatic move yet by CEO Jeffrey Kindler to turn the drug giant around.
  • Scottish Re Group (SCT) said it has initiated a search for a replacement for Chief Executive Paul Goldean. The reinsurer said Goldean will assume the role of chief administration officer after transitioning his duties to the incoming chief executive.
  • Sigma Designs (SIGM) said that Chief Financial Officer Mark Kent has resigned his position to pursue another opportunity. Kent will provide the necessary transitional support until a new CFO has been named, said the maker of silicon-based media processors and wireless chipsets.

Market Update:

  • Asian trading closed with the Hang Seng +0.11%, Nikkei +0.90%, Sensex +0.81%, Taiwan +1.34% and Shanghai +1.04%.
  • A quick look across the pond finds the CAC -0.03%, DAX +0.31%, FTSE +0.34%, ATX +0.01%, Swiss Mkt. +0.28% and Stockholm +0.51%.
  • Crude oil is trading higher +0.29 to 66.27 while gold is lower -1.2 to 660.8 this morning.
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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