Lucent, Alcatel Discuss Hookup

Bayer offers to buy Schering; Google to join S&P 500 index; plus more stocks in the news Friday

Lucent Technologies (LU) and Alcatel (ALA) confirm they are engaged in talks about a potential merger of equals that is intended to be priced at market. They say they will have no further comment until an agreement is reached or talks are terminated.

Ciena (CIEN) plans to close its Shrewsbury, N.J. facility, and lay off 62 employees to generate $7 million to $8 million in annualized cost savings. It sees $3.8 million to $8.1 million in restructuring charges.

Check Point Software (CHKP) withdrew its offer to acquire Sourcefire and says the companies will explore an alternative business relationship.

Bayer (BAY) offers to acquire Schering (SHR) in a €16.3 billion deal, at €86 cash per Schering share.

Google (GOOG) is to be added to the S&P 500 after close of trading on Mar. 31, replacing Burlington Resources, which is being acquired. S&P announced plans on Friday to shuffle names such as Matria Healthcare (MATR) and First Commonwealth Financial (FCF) in its 600 index as well.

Palm (PALM) posts 19 cents vs. 10 cents third quarter earnings per share (EPS) under non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) on a 36% revenue rise. It sees 22 cents to 23 cents fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS (or 33 cents to 34 cents GAAP EPS), on revenue of $400 million to $405 million.

Cephalon (CEPH) says the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommends against approval of Sparlon for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in children and adolescents.

Wyeth (WYE) says the jury in cases of Suzan Talbot v. Wyeth, Sharon Thacker v. Wyeth, Ernestine Vigil v. Wyeth and Jorie Williams v. Wyeth rules in favor of plantiffs in phase 1 of the trial. Phase 2 is set to begin on March 27.

3COM (COMS) posts 8 cents third quarter loss vs. 14 cents loss (GAAP) on a 10% revenue rise.

Campbell Soup (CPB) is to explore alternatives, including possible divestiture, for its businesses in the UK and Ireland. It notes that UK and Irish businesses have annual sales of about $490 million.

Lafarge North America (LAF) says its special committee has unanimously determined that the tender offer of Lafarge to acquire all of Lafarge at $75 per share is inadequate. It recommends stockholders reject it.

Wet Seal (WTSLA) posts 5 cents fourth quarter loss vs. $1.31 loss (GAAP) on 45% higher same-store sales and 19% higher total sales. It targets a fiscal year 2007 same-store sales increase in the mid-single-digit range.

Finish Line (FINL) posts 58 cents vs. 57 cents fourth quarter EPS (including items) on 10% higher net sales and flat same-store sales.

Tim Hortons (THI) an initial 29 million shares were offered at $23.162 per share.