Finally, a hint of relief for AST Research, the troubled PC maker. On Feb. 27, Samsung agreed to pay $378 million for a 40% stake in the company. AST's shares rose 13% on the news. But Wall Street is worried about near-term earnings dilution and has refused to value the stock anywhere near the $19.50 to $22 the Korean electronics giant is paying for most of its shares. AST, which traded above 30 early last year, was late to market with new computers last fall. It lost $62.2 million on sales of $1.1 billion in the six months ended Dec. 31. The deal should end AST's cash problems: By the time it's completed in June, AST will have received a $250 million cash infusion from Samsung.

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