Updated from 8:03 a.m. ET to include Electronic Arts, Best Buy news.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- These stocks were making headlines before Thursday's opening bell.
Electronic Arts (EA):
Shares of the game developer were surging following a report saying the company was attracting buyout interest from private equity firms.The New York Post, citing undisclosed sources, said the company, whose titles include The Sims and Medal of Honor, has been approached by KKR and Providence Equity Partners about a potential transaction but characterized the discussions as "early days." The stock was up more than 11% at $14.54 on volume of less than 500,000. Best Buy (BBY)" Richard Schulze, the founder and former chairman of Best Buy, reiterated his offer to acquire the consumer electronics retailer for between $24 and $26 per share on Thursday. In a letter to the company's board, Schulze requested permission to "form a group and conduct basic due diligence so that he can present a fully financed offer for the company," according to a press release. "I am deeply concerned about the direction of the company and, as Best Buy's largest shareholder, I cannot simply stand aside. I still hope to work with the Board on a mutually beneficial transaction - but you should know that I am not going away," he stated in the letter. "All I am asking is your permission to conduct due diligence and form a group so that I can quickly be in a position to give the Board a fully financed offer for your consideration. My need for due diligence is limited to financial data and the standard corporate information necessary to secure financing." Schulze said he expects the offer to be "financed through a combination of private equity investment, my own substantial equity investment and debt financing." The stock closed Wednesday's regular session at $19.36. Cisco (CSCO): Shares of the Dow component were on the rise ahead of the open after the networking giant topped Wall Street's expectations for its quarterly results and announced a healthy 75% boost to its quarterly dividend. Chief Financial Officer Frank Calderoni said Cisco is committed to returning a minimum of 50% of its free cash flow to shareholders on an annual basis through dividends and buybacks. "Our financial strength gives us the confidence to commit and execute against this strategy, in order to provide meaningful return to our shareholders," he stated in a press release. Cisco shares closed Wednesday's regular session at $17.35, and were last quoted at $18.47 in pre-market trades. Wal-Mart (WMT) The Bentonville, Ark.-based retailing giant reported second-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $4 billion, or $1.18 a share, with net sales totaling $113.5 billion, up 4.5% year-over-year. Total revenue came in at $114.3 billion. Excluding fuel, same-store sales rose 2.5% in the quarter. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a profit $1.17 a share in the July-ended period on revenue of $115.8 billion. "Walmart had a strong second quarter, and I'm pleased with the earnings and overall results," said Mike Duke, the company's president and CEO, in a press release. "We had positive comp sales in Walmart U.S. and Sam's Club, as well as each of our International markets, reinforcing that customers rely on Walmart to help them save money and live better." Wal-Mart said it now sees earnings from continuing operations of $1.04 to $1.09 a share for the third quarter and it lifted its outlook for the full year to $4.83 to $4.93 a share, up from a prior range of $4.73 to $4.92 a share. The current consensus views are for a profit of $1.05 a share in the third quarter and $4.93 a share for the year. Sears Holdings (SHLD): Sears posted a loss from continuing operations of $132 million, or $1.25 a share, for its fiscal second quarter with revenue coming in at $9.47 billion. The company said same-store sales fell 2.9% in the quarter at its namesake domestic stores, while Kmart saw a comparable sales decline of 4.7% and Sears Canada's same-store sales dropped 7.1%. The company's adjusted loss for the quarter, excluding items, was 86 cents a share. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was for a loss of 86 cents a share on revenue of $9.63 billion. Sears said it expects to close its partial spinoff of Sears Canada in the second half of 2012 and complete its Sears Hometown transaction in the third quarter. The stock was up 2% to $57.70 in pre-market action.
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