Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of Chinese online gaming company Shanda Interactive (Nasdaq: SNDA) were ringing up a big score today as investors pushed shares up as much as 21% in intraday trading on a potential buyout offer.

So what: Shanda announced today that it had received a "preliminary non-binding proposal letter" from a group interested in taking the company private. That group includes the company's president and CEO, his wife (a board member), and his brother (the COO and a board member). As of Sept. 30, that group already owned 68% of Shanda's outstanding shares.

The offer would have the buyer group paying $41.35 per share, or roughly 24% more than Friday's closing price. The transaction is expected to be financed with debt and the buyer group says it's received a "Highly Confident" letter from JPMorgan Chase regarding the financing.

Now what: The key thing to keep in mind here are the words used in the company's press release such as "preliminary" and "non-binding." The management group proposing the buyout does already own a very considerable chunk of the company, but with the deal still in the early stages, investors may not want to treat this as a sure thing. With that in mind, for investors that are lukewarm on the stock but haven't found a good selling opportunity, this may be it. For investors that are more comfortable with the company, though, as of this writing, there's still nearly a 5% gap between the current price and the offer price, so it could be worth sticking around to realize that.

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