Entertainment and cable company Comcast ( CMCSA) said fourth-quarter net income rose 6.6% to $1.02 billion, or 36 cents a share, from $955 million, or 33 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding costs related to the NBCUniversal transaction and other special items, fourth-quarter earnings were 35 cents a share. Revenue increased 7.2% to $9.72 billion, from $9.07 billion. Analysts expected Comcast to earn of 32 cents a share in the quarter on revenue of $9.58 billion. Shares of Comcast popped 5.6% to $25.50 in premarket trading Wednesday.
Agricultural products company Deere ( DE) said first-quarter net income roughly doubled to $513.7 million, or $1.20 a share, from $243.2 million, or 57 cents a share, in the same period last year. Total net sales and revenue for the first quarter increased about 27% to $6.12 billion from $4.84 billion last year. On average, analysts were expecting earnings of 99 cents a share on revenue of $5.67 billion. Deere shares were rising 4.1% to $97.45 in premarket trading.
Sanofi-Aventis ( SNY) said Wednesday it agreed to buy U.S. biotechnology company Genzyme ( GENZ) for $74 a share cash, or $20.1 billion. Sanofi, the French drugmaker was rising 0.5% to $34.67 in premarket trading, while Genzyme sgares were up 1.7% to $75.53.
PC giant Dell ( DELL) soundly beat Wall Street's profit expectations despite a negligible miss on the top line. Shares of Dell popped 7.2% to $14.91 in premarket trading Wednesday.
Mining giant BHP Billiton ( BHP) announced Wednesday that it plans to return $10 billion to its shareholders after soaring iron ore and copper prices drove its first-half profit up 71.5%. The stock slid 2% to $92.68.
Retail discount chain Family Dollar Stores ( FDO) has received a takeover bid from Trian Fund, controlled by Nelson Peltz. The fund said it offered to acquire Family Dollar for $55 to $60 a share in cash. Trian already owns an 8% stake in Charlotte, N.C.-based Family Dollar. Family Dollar surged 28.5% to $56.50 in premarket trading.
Devon Energy ( DVN) said fourth-quarter earnings declined 16%, but the profit topped analysts' estimates when certain items are stripped out. Devon shares were unchanged at $88.10.
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