Midday Movers: VA Linux Lower on Takeover News; Mannesmann and Vodafone Reported to Make Merger Official - TheStreet

VA Linux Systems (LNUX) was dropping 8 3/8, or 6.1%, to 128 1/2 after it said it will acquire Andover.Net (ANDN) . Shares of Andover.Net were getting a lift from pleased investors who sent the stock up 9 5/8, or 26.7%, to 45 5/8. VA Linux said each share of Andover.Net will be exchanged for 0.425 a share of VA Linux.

For more on this

story, check out the coverage from

TheStreet.com/NYTimes.com's

joint newsroom.

Mannesmann

(MNNSY)

of Germany said yes to a friendly get-together with

Vodafone AirTouch

(VOD) - Get Report

in a stock swap valued at $198.9 according to

Bloomberg

.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

Ericsson

(ERICY)

climbed 3 11/16 to 84 1/16 after it agreed to buy $1.5 billion in flash-memory chips from

Intel

(INTC) - Get Report

in a pact over three years. Intel was rising 2 3/4 to 102 3/4.

Ford

(F) - Get Report

offered free

Hewlett-Packard

(HWP)

computers and printers and cut-rate Internet access to its 350,000 employees worldwide.

H-P also formed a joint venture with

Eastman Kodak

(EK)

that the companies hope will offer more printing options for film developing.

Motorola

(MOT)

moved up 4 7/8 to 149 1/16 after it said it signed a $1.5 billion mobile communications deal with Turkish wireless phone system operator

Telsim

.

The board of Norway's

NCL

,

(NRW)

a cruise concern, recommended to its shareholders that they accept

Carnival

(CCL) - Get Report

and

Star Cruises'

takeover

bid. Carnival climbed 5/16 to 45 5/16 while NCL lost 5/16 to 16 3/4.

Nokia

(NOK) - Get Report

tacked on 3 to 189 after it said it won a mobile network deal from Italian operator

Blu

worth about $175.3 million.

Verio

(VRIO)

rose 1 3/4 to 64 and

Lycos

(LCOS)

lifted 1 13/16 to 74 7/8 after the companies said they have teamed up to offer e-commerce services to merchants.

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

(

Earnings estimates from First Call/Thomson Financial; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified.

)

Amazon.com

(AMZN) - Get Report

popped 11 3/4, or 16.1%, to 80 9/16 after it posted a pro forma fourth-quarter loss of 55 cents a share, wider than both the 28-analyst estimate of a 48-cent loss and the year-ago 7-cent loss. The company promised it would start reversing years of red ink this year as expansion finally paid off. Investors and analysts were only too happy to accept the good news.

Today,

Credit Suisse First Boston

reiterated its strong buy rating on Amazon.

Merrill Lynch

analyst Henry Blodget raised his near-term rating to buy from accumulate and set a 12- to 18- month price target of 100.

Banc of America Securities

also upped the stock, to strong buy from buy and boosted its price target to 130.

AnnTaylor

(ANN)

said its January same-store sales rose 2.8% and said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents to 51 cents, below the 13-analyst estimate of 57 cents. Banc of America cut AnnTaylor to buy from a strong buy. Merrill Lynch lowered its intermediate-term rating on Ann Taylor to neutral from buy. Merrill maintained its long-term buy rating on the stock. Ann Taylor shares were off 4 5/8, or 21.4%, to 17.

Keebler

(KBL)

added 7/16 to 22 7/8 after it reported fourth-quarter earnings of 50 cents a share, ahead of the 11-analyst estimate of 44 cents and the year-ago 39 cents. First Boston analyst David Nelson raised the stock to strong buy from buy.

Wal-Mart's

(WMT) - Get Report

lost 1 3/8 to 57 after it said January same-store sales rose 4.1%. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, also said it will take a non-cash charge of 5 cents a share because of a change in its accounting for membership revenue.

Offerings and stock actions

Robertson Stephens

priced 5 million shares of

Centra Software

(CTRA) - Get Report

above range at $14. The company supports live business collaboration over the Internet.

Delta & Pine

(DLP)

added 7/16 to 16 7/8 after it set a buyback of up to $50 million in stock.

Winstar Communications'

(WCII)

gained 4 1/8 after it declared a 3-for-2 stock split.

Analyst actions

Merrill Lynch upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

Adobe Systems

(ADBE) - Get Report

to buy from accumulate. Adobe added 3 to 64 1/4.

Merrill raised its 12-month price target on

Altera

(ALTR) - Get Report

to 76. Altera climbed 3 1/4 to 72 27/16.

Lehman Brothers

upgraded

British Telecommunications

(BTY)

to buy from outperform.

ABN Amro

cut its pretax profit forecasts on the stock by 3.7% for 2000 and by 13.5% for 2001, while First Boston also cut its 2000 pretax forecast by 11%, and 2001 forecasts by 17.5%.

J.P. Morgan

raised the stock to buy and

Deutsche Bank

cut its price target while maintaining a strong buy rating. British Telecommunications gained 2 1/2 to 159.

Lehman Brothers raised its earnings estimates and price target on

ASM Lithography

(ASML) - Get Report

. Lehman raised its earnings-per-share estimate in 2000 to $2.40 from $2.33 and raised its estimate for 2001 to $3.45 from $3.15. Lehman raised its one-year price target to 180 from 165. Shares gained 3 3/4 to 136 5/8.

Lehman raised its earnings estimates and price target on

Cymer

(CYMI)

. Lehman raised its per-share earnings estimate for 2000 to $1.45 from $1.40 and for 2001 to $2.30 from $2.25. The firm raised its price target to $85 from $75. Cymer rose 1 1/8 to 58 5/8.

Warburg Dillon Read

initiated coverage of

Endocare

(ENDO)

with a buy rating and a 12-month price target of 17. Shares gained 1 5/8, or 13.4%, to 13 3/4.

Goldman Sachs

raised

Praxair

(PX)

to trading buy from market outperform. Praxair rose 1 3/8 to 40 3/8.

Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

initiated coverage of

Spectrasite

(SITE) - Get Report

at strong buy with a price target of 25. Shares lost 1 1/8, or 5.2%, to 20 7/16.

Merrill upgraded its intermediate-term rating on

Tommy Hilfiger

(TOM)

to accumulate from neutral. Tommy tacked on 1 1/8, or 8.6%, to 15.

Miscellany

Humana

(HUM) - Get Report

inched up 1/16 to 8 3/8 after it said it named Michael McCallister as CEO, placing a company veteran in charge of the struggling HMO.

The board of troubled toymaker

Mattel

(MAT) - Get Report

will hold an emergency meeting today in New York to discuss the fate of CEO Jill Barad, who may be pressured to step down after a series of disappointing quarters,

Reuters

reported, citing a source inside the company. Shares rocketed higher during yesterday's session, ending up 1 7/16, or 13.9%, to 11 13/16 on rumors Barad may be leaving the company. Lately Mattel was slipping 3/8 to 11 7/16.

TheStreet.com's

Herb Greenberg wrote a

piece on Mattel's struggles late last year. The company is slated to release its earnings for the fourth quarter next week.

World Wrestling Federation Entertainment

(WWFE)

announced it is forming a new professional football league, the

XFL

. In response, Merrill Lynch downgraded its long-term rating on the stock to accumulate from buy. Merrill kept is intermediate-term rating at accumulate because of "the positive momentum of the wrestling business."

The Heard on the Street column in

The Wall Street Journal

says the number of parent companies spinning off high-growth units has soared along with valuations of Internet and high-tech companies. Potential spinoffs, according to the story, include

IDT

(IDTC)

and its offshoot

Net2Phone

(NTOP)