Dow Crumbles Amid Tech Weakness; Merger Monday Gets Early Start -- ICYMI

Markets today: It was a rough day for the markets on Monday as shares of Apple (AAPL) tumbled, sending technology shares and the Dow sharply lower. Concern about a mounting trade war with China also weighed on stocks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 602 points, the S&P 500 declined 2%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq slid 2.8%. Goldman Sachs (GS) , Home Depot (HD) and Boeing (BA) , were the Dow's leading laggards in addition to Apple.

Merger Monday got started a bit early this week as SAP (SAP) said Sunday it would shell out $8 billion to acquire Qualtrics, a Provo, Utah-based consumer-experience management software provider. The agreement comes at the eleventh hour, pre-empting a planned Qualtrics initial public offering later this week that was expected to raise $495 million. The IPO would have doubled the $2.5 billion valuation the company chalked up in a 2017 funding round backed by Sequoia, with reinvestments from Accel and Insight Venture Partners. Elliott's long pursuit of athenahealth (ATHN) ended Monday as the firm said it would acquire the healthcare company for $5.7 billion in cash alongside private equity firm Veritas Capital. As Ron Orol points out for us today, it's unclear whether Elliott is truly satisfied with its acquisition and partnership. Elliott's efforts at athenahealth, after all, began in May 2017, at which time its interests appeared to be purely activist-oriented. Elliott launched a traditional activist campaign, urging athenahealth to consider its strategic opportunities, which suggests Elliott may have preferred someone else buy the company, so it could profit on its 8.9% stake and move to its next investment. Now, it plays the long game.

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