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Shutterfly Soars, Twitter Stalls: Tech Winners & Losers

Stocks in this article: SFLY TWTR GS VITC KR WBMD AAPL GOOG JD AMZN EBAY

NEW YORK (TheStreet) Shutterfly (SFLY) shares jumped 14.6% to $49.87 amid reports that the company was looking for a buyer.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg reported that Shutterfly hired the boutique investment bank Qatalyst Partners to find a buyer. The sources claimed that potential buyers included e-commerce companies and private equity firms, and may not lead to a transaction.

Shutterfly allows users to apply their digital images to objects such as photo albums, magnets, and mugs. The company's earnings per share in the last fiscal year was 19 cents a share, down from 55 cents a share in the prior fiscal year. As of yesterday's close, shares had declined 12% year to date.

A Shutterfly spokesperson declined to comment.


Twitter (TWTR) shares were slightly higher, rising 0.81% to $42.39 following yesterday's appointment of a new CFO.

Anthony Noto, the former Goldman Sachs  (GS) managing director who spearheaded Twitter's successful IPO in November of last year, has joined Twitter as its new CFO. Last month, Noto left Goldman, where he was co-head of the technology, media and telecom investment banking group, to join Coatue Management, a technology-based hedge fund.

From 2008 to 2010, he served as CFO of the National Football League. Noto replaces Mike Gupta, who will become Twitter's Senior Vice President of Strategic Investments.

Noto tweeted yesterday morning, "I could not be more excited about joining the Twitter team & helping them reach every person in the world."


Shares of Vitacost (VITC) surged 27.1% to $7.98 after it was announced that the company would be acquired by Kroger (KR).

"We are excited to join such a tremendous organization and believe this will be an outstanding partnership," stated Jeffrey Horowitz, Chief Executive Officer of Vitacost.com in the press release.  "This transaction represents a significant premium for our shareholders and the company will benefit by leveraging Kroger's scale and resources to further drive the online healthy living industry to new heights."

Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the United States, signed a definitive agreement to purchase Vitacost, which sells vitamins and other health products online, for $8 per share in cash, or roughly $280 million. Kroger will finance the deal using debt.

Kroger shares were down slightly, falling 0.10% to $49.48.


WebMD (WBMD) shares climbed 4.4% to $52.06 in response to an analyst's upgrade.

Steven A. Rubis of Stifel Nicolaus upgraded the online health information company to "buy" from "hold," giving it a $60 price target. Rubis cited advertising sales growth and strong industry trends. "We believe industry trends and sponsorship activity suggest WebMD advertising growth estimates likely increase rather than decrease," the analyst wrote in the note.

This week, WebMD released its own health tracking mobile app, Healthy Target, built into the company's flagship app. Healthy Target will compete with Apple's (AAPL) new Health app and the forthcoming Fit app from Google (GOOG).


After yesterday's jump due to analysts' reports, JD.com  (JD) shares fell 2.9% to $28.83.

On Monday, JD, which is China's largest e-commerce direct seller, received bullish coverage from several rating agencies. Notably, Bob Peck of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey raised the price target to $35. Peck wrote, "Not only does JD have an early mover advantage and a top management team, but there are 10 large growth drivers that are creating a substantial opportunity for eCommerce in China and JD particularly." These advantages include growth in Chinese incomes and marketplace businesses.

JD consists of two major segments: direct sales, which is similar to Amazon (AMZN) and accounts for 97% of revenues, and Marketplace, which is similar to eBay (EBAY). These segments grew 64% and nearly 120% last quarter, respectively.


--Written by Laura Berman in New York

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