Wednesday's Winners & Losers: Marvel Entertainment

Shares move lower after the CEO of the company's movie studio unit leaves to run his own company.
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Updated from 11:58 a.m. EDT

Shares of

NRG Energy

(NRG) - Get Report

were among the top performers on the

NYSE

Wednesday, jumping 16% after

Mirant

(MIR)

disclosed an unsolicited bid for the power producer.

The offer, worth about $8 billion plus the assumption of debt, was "flatly rejected" last week, Mirant said. Mirant said it offered $57.50 a share in cash or 2.25 shares of Mirant for each NRG share that investors hold, representing a 34% premium over NRG's closing price of $43.01 on Tuesday. "We were disappointed that you would reject so quickly on behalf of your shareholders, without any discussion with us, our acquisition proposal of May 10, 2006, which provides your shareholders a substantial premium to their share price and the opportunity to participate in the additional value creation we expected from the combined company," Mirant wrote in a letter dated May 30.

NRG, meanwhile, issued a press release late Tuesday saying that it rejected the offer because the proposal "is not in the best interests of NRG shareholders." NRG said its stock is poised to appreciate further as it capitalizes on industry trends. "In this regard," NRG said, "we note that the premium reflected in your proposal is far less than the annual compound average growth rate of NRG's share-price appreciation." Shares of NRG recently were trading up $7.04 to $50.05, while Mirant shares dropped $1.35, or 5%, to $23.90.

Shares of

West Corp.

(WSTC)

surged 12% after the provider of communications outsourcing systems agreed to be acquired by a private investment group. The deal, which values West at $4.1 billion, was led by Thomas H. Lee Partners and private investment firm Quadrangle Group. Under the agreement, all shareholders except the company's founders will receive $48.75 a share in cash, a 13% premium over Tuesday's closing price of $43.15. West founders Gary and Mary West will convert 85% of their current stock holdings into $42.83 a share, and keep about 15% of their ownership in the surviving company. The Wests own about 56% of the company's common stock. West shares recently were up $5.23, or 12%, to $48.38.

Gander Mountain

(GMTN)

tumbled 24% after the outdoor-products retailer posted weaker-than-expected first-quarter results. The company reported a loss of $23 million, or $1.61 a share, on sales of $155.6 million. Same-store sales fell 10.4%. On a pro forma basis, which includes a tax benefit, the company would have posted a loss of $13.8 million, or 97 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected a loss of 70 cents a share, including the tax benefit, on sales of $158 million. Last year, the company posted a first-quarter pro forma loss of $10.5 million, or 74 cents a share, on sales of $135.3 million. "Since many of our stores are unprofitable during our seasonally small first quarter, the increase in our first quarter loss over last year is primarily the result of having, on average, an additional 16 stores open during the period," the company said. Shares were down $2.16 to $6.63.

Shares of

Marvel Entertainment

(MVL)

fell 3% after the entertainment licensing company said the chief executive of its Marvel Studios unit resigned to run his own production company. Marvel said it signed an agreement to have Avi Arad produce films for Marvel under his own production company, Avi Arad Productions. Arad will continue to produce

Spider-Man 3

, its sequels and Marvel's own production of

The Hulk

and

Iron Man

movies. Arad also will continue to serve as creative advisor to Marvel for the rest of 2006. Michael Helfant, currently president and operating chief of Marvel Studios, and Kevin Feige, the studio's president of production, will replace Arad and run the studio unit together. Marvel shares were recently down 53 cents to $19.29.

Shares of

Ceradyne

(CRDN)

rose 2% after the body-armor maker said it received orders totaling more than $18 million. The company received three ceramic body-armor delivery orders, worth more than $15.8 million, from the U.S. Marines. Shipments are expected to begin during the third quarter and be completed by the end of the year. Ceradyne also received an initial $2.3 million armor contract from AM General. The company's armor will be used in the latest-generation Humvee. Shipments will begin in June and be completed during October. Shares were trading at $43.81, up 74 cents.

Costco

(COST) - Get Report

shares traded actively after the wholesale-club operator posted third-quarter earnings that fell a penny below expectations. For the quarter ended May 7, the company earned $235.6 million, or 49 cents a share, up from $209.8 million, or 43 cents a share, a year earlier. Sales rose to $13.27 billion from $12 billion. Analysts expected earnings of 50 cents a share on sales of $13.17 billion. Shares were trading down 45 cents, or 1%, to $53.11.

NYSE volume leaders included

Seagate Technology

(STX) - Get Report

, down 41 cents to $23.10;

Lucent Technologies

(LU)

, unchanged at $2.54;

General Electric

(GE) - Get Report

, up 12 cents to $34.17;

Exxon Mobil

(XOM) - Get Report

, down 17 cents to $60.03;

Pfizer

(PFE) - Get Report

, up 14 cents to $23.72;

Reliant Energy

(RRI)

, up 46 cents to $11.78; and

Chevron

(CVX) - Get Report

, up 63 cents to $59.08.

Nasdaq

volume leaders included

Microsoft

(MSFT) - Get Report

, up 2 cents to $23.17;

Sun Microsystems

(SUNW) - Get Report

, up 7 cents to $4.62;

Sirius Satellite Radio

(SIRI) - Get Report

, up 14 cents to $4.53;

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

, up 20 cents to $18.01;

Cisco Systems

(CSCO) - Get Report

, up 1 cent to $19.78; and

JDSU

(JDSU)

, up 6 cents to $3.02.