Tuesday Briefing-May 24, 2016: Monsanto and Bayer Make Headlines with Mega-Merger

May 24, 2016


Monsanto and Bayer continue to dominate the Sentifi Top Attentions list after the German industrial giant announced its $62 billion offer for the U.S. company. At the same time, Germany’s Aixtron made it to the list after receiving an offer from a Chinese investment firm, making M&A one of the hottest topics on Sentifi and among the crowd. Read on to find what else the crowd is discussing.


1/ Monsanto Company: Trades below Bayer’s offer [986% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Monsanto shares upped 4.4% to $106 after receiving the official bid from Bayer. The concern here is the shares price is still below Bayer’s $122-per-share bid, indicating the uncertainty from shareholders regarding the possibility of the deal. If approved, Bayer and Monsanto would form the largest agrochemical company in the world, further concentrating power in an already consolidated seed and chemical industry. It would spell a price increase and limited options for farmers.

2/ Bayer: Announces a $62 billion bid for Monsanto [831% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Bayer decided to go public with its bid for Monsanto which came in at $62 billion including a boost of $1.5 billion in synergies in three years. Bayer’s shareholders have been vocal about their disinterest in the deal, warning Bayer not to pay too much for Monsanto. Since the rumors of the merger, Bayer shares had fallen 14%, and they fell another 5.7% after the announcement of the bid.

3/ Aixtron: Receives a buyout offer from a Chinese investment fund [703% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Fujian Grand Chip Investment made a €670 million offer for the German semiconductor supplier Aixtron, the second buyout offer from a Chinese firm to a German engineering company within a week. The Aixtron management is hoping the deal would give them more access to China’s market as well as support for their business goals.

4/ Xenoport Inc: To be acquired by Arbor Pharma [478% increase in voices in the last 24h]

U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company Xenoport shares soared 6% after it agreed to a $467 million takeover offer from Arbor Pharma. Though some investors are disappointed the buyout price is below where Xenoport’s shares were traded last fall, most of them are favorable of the deal.

5/ Ryanair Holdings: Forecasts slow growth, warns of Brexit [412% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Terror scares and falling fuel prices prompt a earnings forecast readjustment at Ryanair. (Bloomberg)

Terror scares and low fuel prices have prompted Ryanair cut its ticket prices and lower its earnings forecast by 5% as a result. The company also warns Brexit would lead to a loss of job creations and investments from the company in the U.K. It’s another disapproval of Brexit from a company as the markets are inching toward the June 23 referendum. Chief Executive Micheal O’Leary also said the company would extend its share buyback program from €800 million to €1.1 billion.



6/ MITIE: Revenues fall, yet profits increase  [393% increase in voices in the last 24h]

The outsourcing company MITIE saw its full-year revenues fall 1.8%, yet its profit increased 133%. Good profit notwithstanding, the company issued a profit warning due to changes to the minimum wage and living wage initiatives. It further voiced its opinion on Brexit, though very subtly, that it could lead to job losses which would translate to delayed or cancelled projects. The company’s shares fell 1.4% after the earnings report.

7/ Cigna Corp: Merger with Anthem Inc could be delayed [392% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Cigna and Anthem are on a rocky path to their $54 billion merger as the companies are accusing each other for violating the merger agreements. Cigna shares fell more than 4% while Anthem shares fell 1.7%. The conflict revolves around Anthem’s lawsuit against Express Scripts Holding Co, and the submissions of information to antitrust regulators. An analyst from Leerink Partners predicted the deal had less than 50% chance of closing.

8/ AXA Winterthur: Drops $2 billion tobacco investment [390% increase in voices in the last 24h]

AXA severs its ties with the tobacco industry.

AXA announced it would stop investing in the tobacco industry altogether and sell its €1.7 billion tobacco investments. The tobacco industry keeps losing ground after it failed to reject the U.K. government’s demand to show graphic warnings of the dangers of smoking on the packaging. AXA CEO further said investing in the tobacco industry no longer makes sense.



9/ Viacom: CEO sues Sumner Redstone’s daughter [392% increase in voices in the last 24h]

Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is suing Shari Redstone, the daughter of Sumner Redstone, after he got removed from the Redstone’s family trust last week. Dauman is accusing Shari Redstone of manipulating her father to seize control of the company.

10/ Embargo: U.S. lifts Vietnam arms embargo [369% increase in voices in the last 24h]

The U.S. President Barack Obama lifted the 50-year arms sales embargo on Vietnam during his three-day trip to the country. The decision was met with both praise and rebuke, as it helps tighten the relationship between the old foes in the face of growing threat from China, but it takes away U.S.’s leverage for political and human rights reforms.

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