(Updated to include commentary from Commercial Metals' CFO and for closing stock prices.)
NEW YORK (
) -- Shares of
shot higher by as much as 14% Monday on speculation of a possible takeout.
The rumor, cited by
and later on
, tagged two names as potential acquirers: the once-acquisitive mini-mill giant
( GNA), a mini-mill steel producer controlled by Brazil's Gerdau SA.
Bill Larson, Commercial Metal's chief financial officer, told
that Monday's deal chatter may have been sparked after he canceled a trip to an industry investor conference, hosted by
in New York, where he was scheduled to speak this Friday.
But, he said, the cancellation was due to an unforeseen personal conflict, about which he wouldn't be more specific. "People have asked why I'm not going to be there," he said. "I'm honored that I'll be missed."
When asked if he could put the rumors to bed by denying them outright, he cited the standard corporate policy of not commenting on market speculation.
One analyst who covers the metals industry said the odds were long that any truth lay in the rumors, though he wouldn't rule anything out.
He based his skepticism on Commercial Metals' core business: producing steel products (rebar, load-bearing beams) used in commercial construction -- just about the most downtrodden steel end-market there is. (The analyst wished to remain anonymous because he hadn't been authorized to speak with the press.)
This isn't the first time that Commercial Metals, based in Irving, Texas, has been the subject of takeover rumors. Last year, market scuttlebutt singled out
as a potential buyer.
Commercial Metals shares ended a frenetic trading session Monday at $16.43, up $1.34, or 8.9%. Volume reached 11.2 million shares, more than six times the stock's daily average turnover over the last three months.
Last year, like many steel names, the company's shares rallied hard off their March lows. The stock touched a 52-week high of $21.29 in late September after falling as far as $8.83 during the worst of the bear market.
-- Written by Scott Eden in New York
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Scott Eden has covered business -- both large and small -- for more than a decade. Prior to joining TheStreet.com, he worked as a features reporter for Dealmaker and Trader Monthly magazines. Before that, he wrote for the Chicago Reader, that city's weekly paper. Early in his career, he was a staff reporter at the Dow Jones News Service. His reporting has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Men's Journal, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, and the Believer magazine, among other publications. He's also the author of Touchdown Jesus (Simon & Schuster, 2005), a nonfiction book about Notre Dame football fans and the business and politics of big-time college sports. He has degrees from Notre Dame and Washington University in St. Louis.