Penn Millers Holding Corporation (PMIC) to be bought, shares take off

Posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Penn Millers Holding Corporation (Nasdaq: PMIC) shares vaulted 23.4% as Thursday’s session wound to a close to $20.12, on word of a possible takeover by ACE Ltd. Volume for the stock totaled 581,000 shares, or about 100 times its daily average.

A news release out Sept. 8 revealed that the company, which provides property and casualty insurance through its wholly owned subsidiary, Penn Millers Insurance Company, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement on Sept. 7, to be acquired by a subsidiary of ACE Limited for $20.50 per share in cash.

The purchase price represents a premium of 39% over the $14.75 per share closing price of PMIC on August 15, the date of its announcement that it was reviewing strategic alternatives. It also represents approximately 101% of book value (108% of fully diluted book value) of Penn Millers at June 30.

The release quotes Penn Millers CEO Douglas A. Gaudet thus: “This transaction delivers outstanding returns to our shareholders and additional benefits to our policyholders, agents, brokers, and employees. We are excited to join ACE, one of the largest and most respected insurance companies in the world.

Gaudet continued, “We believe ACE’s national platform and product capabilities will provide strong growth opportunities to our well-established agency network. Our state-of-the-art loss control and claim services in agribusiness and other specialty niches will round out ACE’s agricultural insurance capabilities.”

Based in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Penn Millers Holding Corporation provides property and casualty insurance through its wholly owned subsidiary, Penn Millers Insurance Company.

Buyout target Caliper Life Sciences Inc. (CALP) leaps

Posted on Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Caliper Life Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: CALP) surged 40.2% to $10.36 a share after PerkinElmer Inc. (NYSE: PKI) said it would buy the maker of genomic-detection technologies for about $600 million, or $10.50 a share, in cash. Volume for the stock topped 26 million shares, where it normally would trade in 403,000 in an average day.

A news release dated September 8 stated that the Hopkinton, MA-based Caliper was being bought by PerkinElmer, Inc., a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environment.

The combined technology platforms will expand PerkinElmer’s deep portfolio of solutions and services for global customers including:

  • Broader offerings for molecular, cellular, animal and tissue imaging to enable translational medicine research;
  • Addition of a world-leading microfluidics platform for genomics and proteomics applications, for improved detection and screening through low sample use and efficiency;
  • High-value sample preparation technologies for key scientific workflow areas such as Next Generation DNA Sequencing

Caliper CEO Kevin Hrusovsky, noted in the same release, “We are delighted to become part of PerkinElmer. For 10 years, Caliper has partnered with strategic customers to develop a compelling suite of discovery technologies for broad life science applications.”

Hrusovsky added, “I am excited by both PerkinElmer’s ability to leverage its global reach for the delivery of solutions and the opportunity to accelerate the development of important advances that make a difference in improving human and environmental health. I am confident this is the correct strategic direction at this time for Caliper customers, shareholders and employees, and we are looking forward to becoming part of one of the leading companies in our industry.”

Hrusovsky is anticipated to join the PerkinElmer senior leadership team following the close of the transaction.

The total purchase price represents a premium of 42% for Caliper Life Sciences shareholders, relative to the closing price of $7.39 on Wednesday, September 7, 2011, the last trading day prior to today’s announcement.
Caliper Life Sciences is a premier provider of cutting-edge technologies enabling researchers in the life sciences industry to create life-saving and enhancing medicines and diagnostic tests more quickly and efficiently.

Conn’s Inc. (CONN) jumps on earnings estimates

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Conn’s Inc. (Nasdaq: CONN) shares leapt 33.6% to $7.27 after the electronics and furniture seller projected 2012 earnings above estimates. Volume for the stock topped 926,000 shares, more than triple its daily average.

A news release dated September 7 revealed that the company’s total revenues were $184.4 million, down 13.5% from the same period in the prior fiscal year, on a same store sales decline of 12.8%; However, retail segment retail gross margin increased 320 basis points to 28.9%.

What’s more, adjusted diluted earnings per share were $0.17 for the second quarter of fiscal 2012, excluding the impact of the term loan payoff and store closings, as compared to adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.06 for the same period in the prior fiscal year, on a higher number of shares outstanding in the current year period.

The Company initiated earnings guidance, for the fiscal year ending January 31, 2012, of adjusted diluted earnings per share of $0.65 to $0.75.

The release quoted Conn’s chairman Theodore Wright as saying, “We are pleased with our progress on improving margins and reducing our cost of capital. While softer industry conditions resulted in sales slightly below our expectations, the changes made to date position us to drive improved profitability.”

The Company is a specialty retailer currently operating 71 retail locations in Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma: with 23 stores in the Houston area, 18 in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, eight in San Antonio, three in Austin, five in Southeast Texas, one in Corpus Christi, four in South Texas, six in Louisiana and three in Oklahoma.

Mela Sciences Inc. (MELA) wins Europe nod, stocks skyrocket

Posted on Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Mela Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: MELA) shares surged 56.9% to $3.52, a day after the developer’s diagnostic device to help detect skin cancer won European Union approval. Volume for the stock topped 4.8 million shares, towering over a daily average of 261,000.

A news release dated September 6 noted that the company, located in Irvington, N.Y., had received CE Mark approval for MelaFind®, allowing the company to market its MelaFind device to dermatologists across the E.U. The company intends to initially market MelaFind in Germany, which has the highest incidence of melanoma in Europe.

The CE (Conformité Européenne, or “European Conformity”) Mark approval allows the company to market MelaFind freely across the 27 nations that comprise the E.U. The EU is the world’s largest economic bloc with over 500 million residents and annual economic output of over $16 trillion.

The same release quoted CEO Joseph Gulfo as saying, “We’re extremely pleased to receive the CE Mark for MelaFind. With more than 81 million people, Germany represents a significant opportunity for the company and an ideal market to launch MelaFind in the E.U.

Gulfo continued, “Given the high rates of melanoma seen in the German population, we believe MelaFind has the potential to make a deep impact on the disease there. In order to achieve our initial goals for the commercial development phase of the launch, we plan to utilize a direct sales force that will focus on strategically placing MelaFind systems in the top dermatology practices in several key cities throughout the country.”

MELA Sciences is a medical technology company focused on developing MelaFind®, a non-invasive and objective multi-spectral computer vision system intended to aid in the detection of early melanoma.

Temple Inland Inc. (TIN) jumps on International buyout

Posted on Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Temple Inland Inc. (NYSE: TIN) shares rallied 25.5% to $30.91 a piece Tuesday after International Paper Co. (NYSE: IP) raised its raised its offer for the shipping-box maker. Volume for Temple topped 27.6 million shares, nearly eight times its daily average.

A news release out September 6 noted that the Memphis-based Temple and International announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement under which International Paper will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Temple-Inland for $32.00 per share in cash, plus the assumption of $600 million in Temple-Inland’s year-end debt. The total transaction value is approximately $4.3 billion.

The combination, which has been approved by the Boards of both companies, offers numerous benefits for the shareholders and customers of both companies, and is consistent with International Paper’s focus on achieving and sustaining cost of capital returns throughout the cycle. The transaction is expected to be accretive to International Paper’s shareholders in year one after closing. It is expected to close in the first quarter of 2012.

Temple-Inland Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Doyle R. Simons was quoted in the release as saying, “this transaction creates value for both Temple-Inland and International Paper shareholders. The combined company will be positioned to be a leader in providing high quality products for its customers.”

Temple-Inland Inc. is a manufacturing company focused on corrugated packaging and building products. The fully integrated corrugated packaging operation consists of seven mills and 59 converting facilities.