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Friday's Small-Cap Winners & Losers

Ion Media Networks (ION) surged more than 28% on the promise of a tender offer. Together with Citadel Limited Partnership, NBC Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric (GE), has proposed exercising its right -- set out in late 2005 -- to acquire all of the shares held by controlling Ion shareholder Lowell Paxson.

The companies will commence their tender offer for the remainder of Ion shares upon FCC approval of the Paxson purchase, or May 6, whichever is earlier. The purchase price, as determined by a formula also set out in late 2005, is estimated at about $1.41 a share as of Jan. 17. Ion shares were adding 29 cents to $1.31. GE was recently down 78 cents, or 2.1%, to $37.22.

Whittier Energy (WHIT) shot up on word it will sell itself to Britain's Sterling Energy for $11 a share, or about $188 million including Whittier liabilities. The transaction is expected to close within the first quarter. The Houston-based company was up $1.98, or 22.7%, to $10.71.

Easylink Services (EASY) was also riding high on an acquisition report. Internet Commerce Corporation (ICCA) has offered to buy the Piscataway, N.J.-based information-technology company for $5.00 a share in ICC stock and/or cash, or $60 million -- a premium of about 78% to Easylink's average closing price for the past 30 days.

If accepted, ICC expects the transaction to close in the second quarter. Easylink shares were up 67 cents, or 18.5%, to $4.30. ICC shares were losing 16 cents, or 5%, to $3.06.

Callaway Golf (ELY) jumped after the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company said 2006 sales will probably total about $1.02 billion, topping the $993.3 million Thomson Financial consensus. Excluding items, the golf-equipment maker expects profits between 50 cents and 52 cents a share, up from 38 cents in 2005. Shares were rising $1.64, or 11.7%, to $15.68.

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