<THE EVENING NEWS>
Friday, April 23, 1999
DJIA 10689.67 -37.51 (-0.35%) S&P 500 1356.85 -1.98 (-0.15%) Nasdaq 2590.69 +29.08 (+1.14%) Russell 2000 431.73 +2.88 (+0.67%) 30-Year Bond 94 31/32 unch 5.60 Yield
Coffee maker and marketer Chock Full O'Nuts (NYSE: CHF) brewed up gains of $3 3/32 to $9 15/32 after confirming last night that it spurned an unsolicited buyout offer from Sara Lee Corp. (NYSE: SLE) that would have paid its shareholders $10 1/2 per share, about a 65% premium to yesterday's closing price. The companies had been talking about a combination since last summer but couldn't agree on a price. Chock Full O'Nuts called the offer inadequate and "an attempt to take advantage of commodity price fluctuations and depressed values for microcap stocks to acquire a leading brand [and] a major competitor ... at an unfair price." What's a fair price? CEO Marvin Haas suggested that Sara Lee broke off discussions centering on an $11 per share proposal in October; whether Sara Lee will boost its offer is unknown but according to an SEC filing, its objective "is to acquire." Sara Lee's coffee and tea division reported sales of $2.8 billion in fiscal 1998, down slightly from the previous year, while Chock Full O'Nuts had sales of $394.4 million for its last fiscal year.
Online auctioneer uBid Inc. (Nasdaq: UBID) gained $18 to $69 1/8 following its announcement of a first-quarter loss of $0.27 per share before a one-time change, down from last year's $0.12 loss but better than the $0.34 loss First Call's panel of analysts were looking for. Registered users rose about 47% to 377,000 since the end of the fourth quarter. uBid, the child of Creative Computers (Nasdaq: MALL), currently sells close-out and refurbished consumer electronics and computing products on its website, in contrast to eBay, which connects buyers and sellers of just about every kind of merchandise available. uBid may be interesting to watch in the coming months, however, since it plans to launch the "uBid Auction Community," a service similar to eBay's. More than 300 merchants have applied for space in the auction community, the company said. Such a service carries significantly higher margins, since uBid wouldn't have to buy the merchandise as it does now but would instead simply function as a go-between.
QUICK TAKES: Online auctioneer eBay (Nasdaq: EBAY) was bid up $28 1/8 to $200 1/8. The company announced a new "personal shopper" feature last night that will notify users of specific items up for sale through e-mail using keywords and a price range... Networking products company 3Com (Nasdaq: COMS) moved up $3 1/2 to $25 13/16 as traders alerted news services to the resurfacing of buyout rumors... Airline operator Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) moved up $1 15/16 to $35 1/8 as ING Baring Furman Selz started the company with a "strong buy" rating... E-commerce intermediary Priceline.com (Nasdaq: PCLN) added $11 5/8 to $88 following its placement on Goldman, Sachs & Co.'s "recommended list."
Online brokerage E*Trade (Nasdaq: EGRP), which announced plans to split its stock 2-for-1 after the market's May 21 close, advanced $8 1/16 to $104 1/16. It would represent the stock's second such split of 1999... Specialty chemicals maker Rohm and Haas (NYSE: ROH) moved up $1 3/4 to $40 1/2 after agreeing to buy Morton International (NYSE: MII) in a cash-and-stock merger that supplants its previously withdrawn tender offer for the shares, which was unsuccessful... Network connectivity products maker Osicom Technologies (Nasdaq: FIBR), beat up recently on news of a disappointing Japanese contract, regained $1 5/16 to $6 7/8 after CEO Par Chadha said Osicom wants "to reassure its shareholders and the financial markets that the company's core products and potential for growth in its core business... remain on solid ground."
Specialty credit card company CompuCredit Corp. (Nasdaq: CCRT) rose $2 3/8 to $14 3/8 in its first day of trading. The company sold five million shares of stock for $12 each... Natural gas company Connecticut Energy (NYSE: CNE) got $11/16 to $32 after Energy East Corp. (NYSE: NEG) agreed to buy the company for $617 million or $42 per share in cash and stock. Energy East lost $1 1/4 to $25... Online new music company Launch Media (Nasdaq: LAUN) rose $6 3/8 to $28 3/8 in its first trading session. The company sold 3.5 million shares for $22 apiece... Cable TV operator MediaOne Group (NYSE: UMG) raced ahead $7 7/8 to $77 3/8 today on news of a buyout offer from AT&T (NYSE: T). MediaOne had already agreed to be acquired by rival Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSK) about a month ago. Comcast advanced $3/16 to $67 13/16 this morning while AT&T lost $3 3/8 to $53 3/8; head back to today's Breakfast With the Fool for more.
Elsewhere, Internet marketing company Net Perceptions (Nasdaq: NETP) grabbed $15 13/16 to $29 13/16 on its maiden voyage. The company sold 3.65 million shares for $14 per stub... Cable TV operator Cox Communications (NYSE: COX) plugged in $1 1/4 to $73 3/4 after announcing that it will buy cable systems serving more than 260,000 customers in Fairfax County and Fredericksburg, Virginia, from Media General (AMEX: MEG.A) for $1.4 billion in cash. Cox expects to close the deal late this year... Paging company SkyTel Communications (Nasdaq: SKYT) flew ahead $1 9/16 to $17 1/4 following reports in The Wall Street Journal that the company, which recently hired an investment banker, could be sold for as much as $1.5 billion, about a 50% premium over the stock's current price... Human antibodies supplier Serologicals Corp. (Nasdaq: SERO) advanced $1 3/16 to $7 11/16 following last night's news that the company authorized a buyback of up to $20 million of company stock.
Albany International (NYSE: AIN) up $3/8 to $22 5/8; Q1 EPS $0.38 vs. $0.35 last year; estimate: $0.34
American Power Conversion (Nasdaq: APCC) up $5 1/8 to $34 5/16; Q1 EPS $0.36 vs. $0.28 last year; estimate: $0.32
Ansys Inc. (Nasdaq: ANSS) up $2 to $8 1/2; Q1 EPS $0.22 vs. $0.17 last year; estimate: $0.18
Bemis Co. (NYSE: BMS) up $1 1/4 to $34 1/2; Q1 EPS $0.35 vs. $0.41 last year; estimate: $0.38
BroadVision Inc. (Nasdaq: BVSN) up $3 7/8 to $64 3/8; Q1 EPS $0.11 vs. loss of $0.02 last year; estimate: $0.09
IDG Books Worldwide (Nasdaq: IDGB) up $2 3/16 to $20 1/2; fiscal Q2 EPS $0.31 vs. $0.39 last year; estimate: $0.29
K-Swiss Inc. (Nasdaq: KSWS) up $4 3/4 to $42 1/8; Q1 EPS $1.15 vs. $0.31 last year; estimate: $0.75
Lam Research Corp. (Nasdaq: LRCX) up $2 5/16 to $36 7/16; fiscal Q3 EPS loss of $0.38 vs. loss of $0.13 last year; estimate: loss of $0.48
Molecular Devices Corp. (Nasdaq: MDCC) up $5/8 to $24 1/2; Q1 EPS $0.20 vs. $0.15 last year; estimate: $0.19
Optika Inc. (Nasdaq: OPTK) up $1 7/8 to $5 1/2; Q1 EPS loss of $0.04 vs. loss of $0.19 last year; no estimate
Pixar (Nasdaq: PIXR) up $1/2 to $42; Q1 EPS $0.02 vs. $0.08 last year; estimate: breakeven
Student Loan Corp. (NYSE: STU) up $3 1/8 to $41; Q1 EPS $1.16 vs. $0.84 last year; no estimate
Synopsys Inc. (Nasdaq: SNPS) up $1 13/16 to $45 1/16; fiscal Q2 pro forma EPS $0.60 (before charges) vs. $0.44 last year; estimate: $0.60