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Dippin' Dots Melts: Deals to Watch

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Dippin' Dots on Friday filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Paducah, Ky - after struggling to fend off foreclosure efforts by Regions Financial (RF) as a result of a $11.1 million debt.

The inventor of "the ice cream of the future", will draw up a reorganization plan for its finances and operations to continue manufacturing its novelty bead-based ice cream products that are a hit at theme parks, concert halls and stadiums.

In its filing, the company listed assets of $20.2 million and debt of $12 million.

In its earnings Friday, Plains Energy (PXP) said it struck a $600 million dollar sale of shale assets in the Granite Wash to Linn Energy (LINE - Get Report), in a move to lower debt and overall interest costs by 40%. Plains said in a statement that it's also struck a deal to sell an additional $185 million of gas assets.

A Plains asset sale along with joint venture sales by AES (AES - Get Report) and Anglo American signal that in volatile markets, some companies are looking at venture and asset sales as a way to grow or raise cash opportunistically and quickly .

In its Friday earnings announcement, Plains reported a loss of $88.3 million or 62 cents a share as a result of losses on energy hedges and a minority investment in Freeport McMoran (FCX - Get Report) - in its operations Plains earned 45 cents a share beating analyst estimates surveyed by Bloomberg.

Plains shares rose over 6% in early trading to $35.43 a share, the company's stock is up over 10% year to date, beating the S&P 500.

In its earnings, Plains CFO Winston Talbert said that with the sales and debt reduction, Plains could lower its interest expense by up to 40%. As of its most recent quarter, Plains held over $3.6 billion of debt, of which Talbert said $2.1 billion is callable in the next 18 months. Talbert said, "With the current low interest rate environment, PXP sees a unique opportunity to reduce its interest costs 30% to 40% by year-end 2012 thereby increasing profitability, shareholder return and cash flow."

On Tuesday, Marathon Oil (MRO - Get Report) said in its earnings announcement that it would exit $3 billion in oil and gas investments, while it also completed a $3.5 billion shale purchase from KKR (KKR).
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