Amgen to Buy Abgenix for $2.2 Billion Plus Debt

Merck announces business initiatives, Bear Stearns makes a settlement offer to the SEC related to the mutual fund trading investigation, plus more stocks in the news Thursday

Amgen (AMGN ) agreed to acquire Abgenix (ABGX ) for about $2.2 billion in cash, plus the assumption of debt, or $22.50 cash per share. Amgen expects the dilution of adjusted earnings per share (EPS) in 2006 and 2007 in the range of 5 cents to 10 cents.

Merck (MRK ) announced initiatives that will position it to deliver top-line growth and double-digit earnings per share growth, excluding charges, over the next three to five years. Beyond 2010, the drug company expects to deliver sustained revenue and EPS growth fueled by a strong pipeline.

Bear Stearns (BSC ) posted $2.91 vs. $2.61 fourth quarter EPS on a slightly higher total revenue rise. It raises its quarterly dividend to 28 cents and sets a $1.5 billion stock buyback. It also submits a $250 million offer to the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve an investigation relating to mutual fund trading.

Fairmont Hotels (FHR ) forms a special committee of four independent directors to advise its board with respect to a partial takeover bid by affiliates of Carl Icahn. The committee will also evaluate options for maximizing shareholders' value.

Goldman Sachs (GS ) posted $3.35 vs. $2.36 fourth quarter EPS on 9% higher total investment banking revenue.

Apollo Group (APOL ) posted 73 cents vs. 58 cents first quarter earnings per share on 18% higher total consolidated revenue. It sees 57 cents to58 cents second quarter EPS on revenue in excess of $584 million, and $2.85 to $2.91 in fiscal year 2006 on revenue in excess of $2.578 billion.

Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE ) reaffirms its $1.27 to $1.30 2005 EPS. It sees $1.27 to $1.32 2006 EPS (including stock option expense.) It also raises its quarterly dividend 50% to 24 cents per share.

E*TRADE Financial (ET ) sees $1.30 to $1.45 2006 EPS, excluding 5 cents in acquisition-related costs, on revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion. It plans to exit the remaining portion of E*TRADE Professional.

Activision (ATVI ) expects third quarter EPS to be "significantly" lower than expected due to weaker-than-expected sales and competitive pricing. It says the fourth quarter will also be negatively impacted.

Abbott Laboratories (ABT ) sees $2.66 to $2.72 2006 EPS, and reaffirms its 75 cents to 77 cents fourth quarter 2005 EPS guidance, both excluding specified items. It expects to achieve low double-digit EPS growth in 2007.

International Speedway (ISCA ) sees $780 million to $800 million fiscal year 2006 revenue, and $3.20 to $3.30 EPS, excluding potential legal expenses associated with a Kentucky Speedway, LLC civil action.

Lennar (LEN ) posted $3.54 vs. $2.29 fourth quarter EPS on a 42% revenue rise. It reaffirms its $9.25 fiscal year 2006 EPS goal.

Host Marriott (HMT ) raises its quarterly dividend to 12 cents from 11 cents.

SFBC (SFCC ) says its independent counsel review is completed, and the report rejects Bloomberg's allegations related to the company. It found the central allegation "wholly unsupported" as to the company. It sees $1.56 to $1.61 2005 GAAP EPS and $1.80 to $1.86 in 2006.

Pier 1 Imports (PIR ) posted 8 cents third quarter loss vs. 22 cents EPS on a 6.5% same-store sales drop and 2.4% total sales drop. It cut its fourth quarter same-store sales estimate to the negative mid-single-digits, unless the second half of December is significantly better than current trends.

Tier Technologies(TIER ) is to delay the filing of Form 10-K for fiscal year 2005 (ending September) due to discovered accounting errors. It expects to restate financial results for fiscal year 2002-fiscal year 2004. It currently expects a fourth quarter loss of 7 cents to 8 cents, before the impact of restatements.

SunLink Health Systems (SSY ) retains SunTrust Robinson Humphrey to assist the company in evaluating strategic alternatives. It notes it has received two previous acquisition proposals, including one from North Atlantic Value LLP for $11.00 per share cash.

Fuelcell Energy (FCEL ) posted 40 cents fourth quarter loss vs. 44 cents loss as lower costs and expenses offset a 10% revenue drop.

Altria Group (MO ) The Illinois Supreme Court overturns a $10.1 billion verdict in Altria Group's Price "Lights" case.

NBTY (NTY ) filed to extend time to file the 10-K. It preliminarily posts 17 cents vs. 30 cents fourth quarter EPS on a 2.1% sales drop (excluding Solgar sales).

Collegiate Funding Services (CFSI ) agrees to be acquired by JP Morgan Chase (JPM ) in a $663 million deal, at $20 cash per Collegiate Funding Services shares.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.