Under the terms of the deal, Par, a Woodcliffe, N.J.-based maker of both generic and proprietary drugs, now enters a go-shop period that allows it to solicit a superior proposal from third parties through Aug. 24. If another offer doesn't materialize, the transaction is expected to close in 2012, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions. MasterCard ( MA) and Visa ( V): The credit card companies announced their agreement late Friday to settle class action litigation with U.S. retailers. Visa said it's paying $4.4 billion, while MasterCard said its share of the cash portion of the settlement is $790 million. Visa expects to record a $4.1 billion charge in the June-ended quarter in relation to the settlement. The agreement settles claims by retailers that credit card companies conspired to fix the fees they charge retailers and opens the door for retailers to begin charging consumers extra to use credit cards. Shares of both Visa and MasterCard were moving higher in premarket action.
The firm also lowered price targets and earnings estimates on Atmel ( ATML), Linear Technology ( LLTC), Maxim Integrated Products ( MXIM), Nvidia ( NVDA) and ON Semiconductor ( ONNN). Shares of Texas Instruments closed Friday at $27.02, down 8% so far in 2012. Panera Bread ( PNRA): Panera Bread should be in focus Monday after Piper Jaffray lowered its rating on shares of the bakery-cafe operator to underweight from overweight, citing turnover in the management team. "Based on our 'human capital trumps financial capital' thesis we recognize a high degree of execution risks until executive positions are filled," the firm wrote. "We recognize this thesis may be construed at the very best as 'contrarian' given the company retains a strong balance sheet (ie $200+ million cash), positive same-store sales trends and a healthy level of unit growth. In the short-term we do very strongly believe our FY12 estimates remain achievable." Piper left its estimates for the second quarter and the whole of fiscal 2012 intact but lowered its earnings view for fiscal 2013 to $6.43 a share from $6.62 a share. "Looking forward however, we have reduced confidence (which resulted in our lowered projections) based on a lack of relative upside to mix shift, pending assessment of comp volatility based on National TV advertising and again...overall strategic and tactical execution risks," said the firm, which dropped its 12-month price target to $129 from $165. Panera shares closed Friday at $147.31, up 1.5% so far in 2012. -- Written by Michael Baron in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Michael Baron.