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Merrill Lynch to Buy First Republic Bank

Citigroup to buy UK online bank; Bristol-Myers, Sanofi reportedly in merger deal; plus more stocks in the news Monday

From Standard & Poor's Equity ResearchCitigroup (C) is to buy Egg Banking plc, the world's largest pure online bank, from Prudential plc (PUK) for $1.127 billion cash, subject to adjustments at closing. Citigroup expects the deal to be accretive to earnings pewr share in its first year.

First Republic Bank (FRC) agrees to be acquired by Merrill Lynch (MER) in a deal valued at $1.8 billion. Terms are $55 per First Republic Bank share in cash, and stock.

Bowater (BOW) and Abitibi-Consolidated (ABY) will combine in an all-stock merger of equals. Terms: 0.06261 share of new co. per Abitibi share; 0.52 share of new co. per Bowater share. The combined company will be called AbitibiBowater Inc.

According to, b>US Airways (LCC) could lift its hostil offer for Delta Air Lines (DALRQ) by $1 billion. The move would be part of a last-ditch effort to gain backing for the acquisition, which has failed to win wide support from Delta's creditors' committee, according to the report.

Molecular Devices (MDCC) agrees to be acquired by MDS Inc. in a deal valued at $615 million. Terms: $35.50 in cash per Molecular share.

Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Sanofi-Aventis (SNY) are reportedly in a friendly merger deal.

Synagro Technologies (SYGR) agrees to be acquired by The Carlyle Group in a deal valued at $772 million, including debt assumption. Terms: Synagro holders will get $5.76 per share in cash.

Verizon Communications (VZ) posted 62 cents vs. 64 cents fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) as higher costs offset a 26% revenue rise. The company targets 2007 capital investments of $17.5 billion to $17.9 billion and share buybacks similar to the 2006 level.

Laureate Education (LAUR) agrees to be acquired by an investor group for $60.50 per share cash, at a total value of about $3.8 billion. The investor group is led by Laureate Education's Douglas Becker, Kohlberg Kravis, Citigroup Private Equity, S.A.C. Capital, others.

Broadcom (BRCM) says a federal jury in San Diego found that Broadcom had not infringed two patents for digital video compression owned by Qualcomm.

Schering-Plough (SGP) posted 12 cents vs. 7 cents fourth quarter GAAP EPS on a 14% revenue rise.

Mattel (MAT) posted 75 cents vs. 69 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 14% revenue rise.

Phelps Dodge (PD) posted $6.50 vs. 60 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 43% revenue rise.

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