Updated from 2:19 p.m. EDTRare Hospitality ( RARE) was among the Nasdaq's biggest winners Friday, with shares soaring 35.9% after the restaurant owner agreed to be acquired by Darden Restaurants ( DRI). Darden, owner of chains such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden, will pay $38.15 a share for Rare, a 39% premium over the stock's closing price Thursday. The deal values Rare, operator of the LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille chains, at $1.4 billion including debt. The transaction is expected to close in October. Shares of Rare closed up $9.87 to $37.38. Darden shares slipped $1.03, or 2.6%, to $38.93. Shares of Whole Foods ( WFMI) jumped 7.6% after a judge ruled that it won't block the grocer's purchase of rival Wild Oats ( OATS). The Federal Trade Commission had sought to halt the deal under the belief that it would create a natural-foods monopoly. The FTC said Friday afternoon that it will appeal the judge's decision and seek an emergency stay to stop the $565 million merger. Still, shares of Whole Foods closed up $3.13 to $44.30, while Wild Oats closed up $2.71, or 17.8%, to $17.92. Outside of deals, Kohl's ( KSS) closed 8% higher after posting better-than-expected earnings and lifting the bottom end of its guidance. The retailer posted a second-quarter profit of $269.2 million, or 83 cents a share, topping its own forecast for EPS of 81 cents to 85 cents. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial projected earnings of 82 cents a share.
For the full year, Kohl's projected earnings of $3.77 to $3.87 a share, up from its prior forecast of $3.75 to $3.87. Analysts expect earnings of $3.86 a share for the year. Shares of Kohl's closed up $4.63 to $62.88. Among the losers, WNS Holdings ( WNS) sank 16.5% after the outsourcing-services provider announced that one of its big mortgage-business customers will stop all of the work that WNS does for it. The customer, First Magnus Financial, was expected to account for about 5% of WNS' revenue for the period running from July 1 through March 31. WNS expects to release revised guidance related to the move. Shares tumbled $4.05 to $20.45. Boston Scientific ( BSX) fell 1.7% after the medical-device maker said it plans to explore the sale of its cardiac and vascular surgery businesses. The company said it is in discussions with several potential buyers, and it expects the process to take a "number of months." The news follows the company's announcement last month that it is mulling a sale of its fluid-management business. Earlier this month, the company nixed plans to spin off its endosurgery group. All the changes come as Boston Scientific has been seeking to reduce debt in the wake of its mammoth acquisition of rival Guidant last year. Shares of Boston Scientific closed down 22 cents to $12.52.