Shares of market analytics firm MSCI Inc. (NYSE:MSCI) jumped 13.5% in early morning trading Wednesday before dropping back and giving back all but 2% of those gains as of 12:15 p.m. EDT.
Obviously, something big happened this morning -- but what?
Early in the day, Britain's Evening Standard newspaper reported that MSCI was the subject of a takeover bid from rival data services firm S&P Global Inc. (NYSE:SPGI) -- a bid of $120 a share, which was rejected as "too low" by MSCI management.
Just the suggestion that MSCI (now trading at $98 and change) might be worth 20% more was enough to send the stock off to the races. But according to the report, MSCI was holding out for an even bigger bid of $130 a share from S&P Global. If that were true, it would imply an even greater value lay in MSCI shares, setting off a real, honest-to-goodness frenzy among investors to scoop up the shares before S&P's bid was made official.
Sad to say, the report appears not to have been true. By midday, MSCI had issued a statement dispelling rumors of the imminent buyout, assuring investors: "We are not in discussions with any third party, and we have not received any offer or indication of interest."
Which pretty much puts a kibosh on the rally. So what's the upshot? If you bought MSCI shares in hopes of reaping a quick windfall, you're now the proud owner of a richly priced stock that sells for 36.5 times earnings -- and seems unlikely to get bought out. Granted, the stock still pays a modest 1.2% dividend and is projected to grow at 18.3% annually over the next five years. Maybe you think that's good enough to be worth holding on to, and maybe not.
For S&P Global, however, it's apparently too high a price to be of interest.