Shares of First Republic Bank ( FRC) were among the NYSE's winners Monday, soaring 40% after the investment services company agreed to be acquired by Merrill Lynch ( MER) for $1.8 billion in cash and stock. Merrill Lynch will pay the equivalent of $55 a share, half of which will be paid in cash. The price represents a 44% premium over First Republic's closing price of $38.30 on Friday. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter. Merrill Lynch expects the purchase to be modestly accretive to earnings by the end of 2008. Shares of First Republic were trading up $15.42 to $53.72, while shares of Merrill Lynch fell 81 cents to $93.72. Laureate Education ( LAUR) vaulted 13% after the education company agreed to a $3.1 billion management-led buyout. The investor group, led by CEO Douglas L. Becker and including Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Citigroup Private Equity and SAC Capital, will pay $60.50 a share. The price represents a 23% premium over Laureate's closing price Jan. 4, the day before the company's special committee authorized the negotiation of an agreement. Shares recently were trading at $61.40, up $6.99. Mosaic ( MOS) rose 2% after the animal feed products company posted in-line second-quarter earnings, with better-than-expected revenue. For the quarter ended Nov. 30, the company earned $65.9 million, or 15 cents a share, on revenue of $1.52 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 15 cents a share and revenue of $1.48 billion. During the year-earlier period, Mosaic earned $55 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $1.5 billion. The year-earlier results included derivative losses of $7.5 million. Shares were trading up 42 cents to $20.37.