Stocks to Watch: Time Warner, Dell, Ciena

NEW YORK -- Time Warner ( TWX) plans to spin off Time Inc., the magazine unit that publishes Time, Sports Illustrated and People, into a separate company.

The spinoff likely will take place by the end of 2013.

Time Warner had been in talks in recent weeks with Meredith ( MDP) to combine Time Inc.'s lifestyle titles with all of Meredith's offerings. But the talks broke down over a value for the combined company, among other things.

Carl Icahn reportedly has acquired a stake of about 100 million shares in Dell ( DELL), giving the activist investor a roughly 6% ownership in the PC maker.

Icahn is expected to file a 13D on Dell very soon, CNBC reported Wednesday. Icahn purchased his shares over the last two weeks.

People familiar with the situation told CNBC that Icahn has met with advisers for Dell's special committee and urged them to pursue a leveraged recapitalization of the company, rather than the $13.65 a share leveraged buyout by Michael Dell and Silver lake that has been agreed to.

Dell's Wild Takeover Ride Continues

Johnson Controls ( JCI) said Wednesday it's exploring a sale of its automotive electronics business. But the company denied a Reuters report that it was looking to sell its auto interiors unit, saying it has no "current intention" to do so.

Networking specialist Ciena ( CIEN) is forecast by analysts Thursday to post a fiscal first-quarter loss of 13 cents a share on revenue of $448.3 million.

5 Hated Earnings Stocks Poised to Pop

Grocery chain Kroger ( KR) is expected by analysts to report fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents a share on revenue of $24.01 billion.

Costco Wholesale ( COST), the warehouse retailer, said Thursday that same-store sales in February rose 6%, higher than analysts' expectations.

Smithfield Foods ( SFD), the pork producer, is expected by Wall Street to earm 51 cents a share in its fiscal third quarter on revenue of $3.53 billion.

-- Written by Joseph Woelfel

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