Shares of Longview Fibre ( LFB) were among the NYSE's winners Monday, soaring 32% after the paper and container manufacturer received an unsolicited buyout offer from two investment firms. Obsidian Finance Group, a private equity firm, and Campbell Group, a timber investment management company, have offered to buy Longview for $26 a share in cash, representing a 35% premium over Friday's closing price of $19.25. The firms said they have made several attempts to discuss the buyout with Longview during the last several months, but Longview has refused to discuss the proposal. "We urge Longview Fibre's board of directors to reconsider its decision not to pursue discussions regarding our proposal," Obsidian said in a statement. "We believe our proposal provides an excellent opportunity for Longview Fibre's shareholders, employees and customers." The company's shares were trading up $6.13 to $25.38. iVillage ( IVIL) rose 5% after the company, which operates Internet sites geared toward women, agreed to be acquired by NBC Universal for about $600 million. The deal will pay iVillage shareholders $8.50 a share in cash, representing a premium of 7% over Friday's closing price of $7.98. NBC Universal, which is 80% owned by General Electric ( GE) and 20% owned by Vivendi Universal ( V), said the addition of iVillage would help the company bring its digital sales to about $200 million in 2006. "iVillage immediately gives us scale and a profitable, established platform to expand our digital efforts, especially in the rapidly growing areas of health and women's interests," NBC Universal said in a statement. The acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter. Shares of iVillage were trading up 41 cents to $8.39. Shares of Wynn Resorts ( WYNN) jumped 13% after the hotel and casino company agreed to sell the right to build a casino in Macau to Australia's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited for $900 million. The subconcession, which is subject to Macau government approval, will allow PBL to own and operate hotel casino resorts in Macau. "Because of our current focus in Macau, our board of directors decided that any decision we make must enhance the vitality and future of Macau," Wynn said in a statement. "Making it possible for PBL to enter was a positive and dynamic step toward upgrading and expanding the quality of investment in Macau. What's good for Macau is good for Wynn Resorts." Shares of Wynn were up $8.06 to $72.47.
Exide Technologies ( XIDE) slumped 17% after the battery manufacturer lowered its earnings forecast for the fiscal fourth quarter and warned of potential debt problems. The company now sees earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $105 million to $110 million, down from an earlier view of at least $123 million. Exide blamed the shortfall on a "decline in sales in North America of transportation batteries following an unusually warm January and a reduction in sales in the Industrial Energy Europe division following recently implemented price increases." Exide warned that it would be in default of its senior credit facility if its EBITDA falls below $123 million for the quarter, so it has contacted its creditors about amending or waiving the covenant. "If an amendment or waiver to the senior credit facility cannot be obtained or cannot be obtained on a timely basis, the company's business would be significantly and adversely impacted," Exide said in a regulatory filing. Shares were trading down 68 cents to $3.30. Shares of Fresh Del Monte ( FDP) rose 3% after the company said it plans to buy up to $300 million in stock as part of a new three-year stock repurchase program. "Today's announcement demonstrates the ongoing confidence we have in the underlying fundamentals of the company and shows our commitment to deliver long-term shareholder value," the company said. "We believe that the company is undervalued at the current price levels and believe that repurchasing shares is an attractive and low-risk means to return capital to our investors." Shares were trading up 48 cents to $18.59. NYSE volume leaders included Lucent Technologies ( LU), up 5 cents to $2.91; BellSouth ( BLS), up $3.37 to $34.83; AT&T ( T), down 62 cents to $27.37; Qwest ( Q), up 22 cents to $6.81; Nortel Networks ( NT), up 4 cents to $3.27; Vodafone ( VOD), up $1.16 to $22.16; and Time Warner ( TWX), down 15 cents to $17.28.
Nasdaq volume leaders included JDSU ( JDSU), up 3 cents to $3.74; Cisco Systems ( CSCO), up 40 cents to $21.44; Intel ( INTC), up 20 cents to $20.52; Finisar ( FNSR), up 32 cents to $4.40; Research In Motion ( RIMM), up $9.73 to $81.65; Oracle ( ORCL), up 10 cents to $12.89; Sun Microsystems ( SUNW), up 10 cents to $4.53; and Microsoft ( MSFT), up 10 cents to $27.03.