PartyGaming Shares Plunge

M&A news stirs utility issues; plus more of Tuesday's European stocks in the news

From Standard & Poor's European MarketScope

United Kingdom

PartyGaming plunged over 33.5% Tuesday after saying that while the online gaming market and poker in particular, continues to show strong year-over-year growth, the rate of growth is continuing to moderate.

The utility sector was in the spotlight Tuesday. E.On fell 0.79% after it confirmed that it is considering a cash bid for Scottish Power, which rose 3.39% on the news. Centrica, of the UK, was also higher, rising 2.36%. In the meantime, Scottish Power has announced a restructuring program.

Pace Micro plunged 14.73% after saying first half results will be " commensurately" affected by shipment delays.


Endesa and Gas Natural shares resumed trading Tuesday. Endesa rallied 8.1% after Gas Natural, last night, launched an unsolicited €22.7 billion cash and stock bid for 100% of Endesa. The offering would be 35% in cash and 65% in shares. The €21.3 per share offer represents a 12% premium to Endesa's closing price on Monday. The move would involve the sale of up to €9bn of Endesa's assets, in order to meet with antitrust approval, while Gas Natural would also take on debt of around €19.8 billion as of June 30. The market capitalization of Gas Natural is approximately half that of Endesa's €22bn. Gas Natural shares declined 3.47%.

Meanwhile, Iberdrola shares rose 3.58% on news of the potential Endesa/Gas Natural deal. Shares in the energy group began trading late due to the high level of volumes. Iberdrola announced that it has signed an agreement with Gas Natural whereby it will buy certain Endesa assets from Gas Natural if the latter's bid for Endesa is successful. The agreement covers power generation and electric distribution facilities in Spain, power generation facilities in Europe (SNET in France) and certain gas distribution systems in Spain. The assets are estimated to be worth €7 billion to €9 billion.


Patients using Sanofi-Aventis's blood-thinning drug Lovenox have been found to suffer less from bleeding than those in standard therapies, with 57% suffering fewer major bleedings. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Sanofi-Aventis's Ambien CR CIV for the treatment of insomnia. Sanofi shares roes 1.03% Tuesday.


Property developer Stefano Ricucci is in negotiations with France's Lagardere to sell his 20.9% stake in the Italian media group RCS Media, according to Finanza & Mercati. The paper adds that Ricucci and Lagardere are looking for an agreement on the price which could be c.€5.5-6 per RCS share. RCS shares fell 1.5% Tuesday.

Shares in Fiat traded 0.7% higher on the back of the launch of its revamped Punto model. In addition, Fiat chairman, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, is understood to have confirmed that the group will achieve its 2005 target of a positive net result.


Swiss/Swedish engineering giant ABB gained 1.5% Tuesday on news that it has set new mid-term targets for the 5-year period to 2009, including focus on growth, operating margin, use of capital and cash generation. The company expects revenue compounded annual growth rate in the period in excess of 5%, an EBIT margin of at least 10%; and net margin above 5%.

Chiron defines Novartis (+0.58%) offer inadequate U.S.-based Chiron says that Novartis's US$4.5 billion offer for the remaining stake in Chiron is "inadequate". Novartis shares were up 0.58%. Germany

Germany will extend control on the sale of companies that make military equipment to foreign investors, in a move that would allow the government to block the sale of DaimlerChrysler's MTU Friedrichshafen unit. DaimlerChrysler shares were 0.22% lower Tuesday.

Merrill Lynch's upgrade of Deutsche Bank to buy from hold propels the stock higher by 3.81%.

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