Halliburton Shares Lower after Debt Downgrade

Vivendi to acquire USA Networks assets; Amgen makes $16 billion bid to buy Immunex; plus more of today's stocks on the move

Immunex (IMNX ) agrees to be acquired by Amgen in a $16B deal. Terms: 0.44 AMGN share, $4.50 cash for each IMNX share.

Take-Two (TTWO ) shares were halted by Nasdaq, pending news. Barron's reports that letters the SEC sent to Take-Two suggest regulators are concerned about the company's revenues and expense accounting.

Wachovia upgrades NCI Building (NCS ) to buy from market perform. On Friday the company posted $0.39 4Q EPS from operations.

Comverse (CMVT ) says it was selected to provide its voicemail solution to Verizon Wireless.

Buca Inc. (BUCA ) reaffirms $0.14 4Q EPS guidance. The company agrees to acquire nine-unit Vinny Testa's in Boston for about $18M in cash. It expects the acquisition will contribute to EPS in 2002. Buca increased ist credit line to $50M.

Lehman initiates coverage of Chicago Bridge (CBI ) with strong buy.

Granite Broadcast (GBTVK ) agrees to sell its KNTV-TV station to GE's NBC unit for $230M cash.

Shares of Halliburton (HAL ) were lower after Moody's cut its ratings on the company's senior unsecured debt and commercial paper. Moody's cited concerns about the company's asbestos claims issues.

Security Capital (SCZ ) agrees to be acquired by GE's GE Capital unit for $26 per share in either cash or a combination of cash, shares of PLD currently held by Security Capital.

Merrill downgrades Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY ) to near-term buy from strong buy.

Alpha Industries (AHAA ) plans to acquire Conexant Systems' (CNXT ) wireless business. Prudential reiterates its buy rating.

Nuance (NUAN ) announces resignation of CFO Graham Smith.

P&O Princess (POC ) says it is rejecting CCL's Dec. 16 unsolicited bid for the company. It says it committed to merger with RCL. CCL reportedly says it will "go hostile" with bid for Princess and has no interest in RCL.

Moody's Corp (MCO ) sees $0.34 to $0.36 4Q EPS, above $0.30 consensus. It cites higher than expected levels of issuance in debt capital markets.

WR Berkley Corp (BER ) sets $12M after-tax reserve for potential losses arising from Enron's (ENE) bankruptcy. The company will cease its writing business with exposures to large national risks beginning Jan. 1, 2002 and will focus primarily on its regional surety reinsurance business.

Partnerre (PRE ) files a $600M shelf registration statement.

King Pharmaceutical (KG ) sees $1.24 to $1.32 2002 EPS from operations on $1.1B to $1.2B in revenues.

Standard Microsystems (SMSC ) posts $0.55 vs. $0.13 3Q EPS on 38% revenues rise. It sees modestly positive 4Q net income from continuing operations and excluding impact of payment from Intel in fiscal 2002, it sees double-digit fiscal 2003 revenue growth.

Kinder Morgan Energy (KMP ) plans to buy Tejas Gas from InterGen for about $750M cash.

Cendant (CD ) plans to acquire Equivest Finance (EQUI ) for about $100M. Terms: $3 cash per Equivest share. Cendant raises its 2002 EPS forecast by $0.01 to $1.26.

Dean Foods (DF ) posts $0.80 vs. $0.66 2Q EPS on 4.3% revenues rise. Dynegy Inc. (DYN ) cuts its 2002 EPS forecast to the range of $2.30 and $2.35, down from previous $2.50 to $2.60 guidance. The change reflects restructured capitalization, continued slowdown in economy, lower crude oil and natural gas liquids pricing.

Ryder System (R ) sees $1.51 to $1.58 2002 EPS and reaffirms $1.46 to $1.48 2001 EPS from operations.

CS First Boston upgrades JB Hunt Transport Services (JBHT ) to buy from sell.

Isis Pharmaceutical's (ISIP ) GeneTrove unit initiates a collaboration with Chiron (CHIR ). Chiron gains access to Isis's application of antisense technology, target validation, license to specific patents within functional genomics suite of patents.

Morgan Stanley upgrades Network Associates (NETA ) to outperform from neutral.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK ) says FDA issued non-approval letter for Augmentin XR Extended Release Tablets (amoxicillin/clavulanate potassium 1000mg/62.5mg).

Vivendi (V ) is set to form a joint venture to own USA Networks (USAI ) entertainment assets, Universal Studios' assets. Vivendi will own 93% of joint venture, USA to own 5.4%. The deal is valued at $10.3B.

Mylan Labs (MYL ) raises 3Q EPS forecast to range of $0.54 to $0.56. The company cites stronger-than-expected sales for established portfolio of generic pharmaceuticals, contributions from newer generics. The company maintains 4Q EPS guidance.

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