Friday, April 15, 2011

Stocks In Focus: MRK, CRUS, BRNC

Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and its subsidiary Centocor Ortho Biotech Inc., today announced that the companies have reached agreement to amend the distribution rights to Remicade and Simponi, which treat chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. This agreement concludes the arbitration proceeding Johnson & Johnson initiated in May 2009, requesting a ruling related to the distribution agreement following the announcement of the proposed merger between Merck and Schering-Plough. Under the terms of the amended distribution agreement, Merck's subsidiary, Schering-Plough (Ireland) will relinquish exclusive marketing rights for Remicade and Simponi to Johnson & Johnson's Janssen pharmaceutical companies in territories including Canada, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, effective July 1, 2011. Merck will retain exclusive marketing rights throughout Europe, Russia and Turkey . The retained territories represent approximately 70 percent of Merck's 2010 revenue of approximately $2.8 billion from REMICADE and SIMPONI, while the relinquished territories represent approximately 30 percent. In addition, all profit derived from Merck's exclusive distribution of the two products in the retained territories will be equally divided between Merck and Johnson & Johnson, beginning July 1, 2011. Merck (NYSE: MRK) also said Friday that it continues to expect 2011 non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) to be in the range of $3.64 to $3.76, excluding certain items. The 2011 non-GAAP EPS target range excludes the $500 million one-time payment to Centocor as well as related tax impacts of the arbitration resolution, purchase accounting adjustments, restructuring costs and merger-related expenses. The 2011 GAAP EPS target range includes the entire impact of the arbitration settlement and is now expected to be in the range of $1.89 to $2.17. A reconciliation of anticipated 2011 EPS as reported in accordance with GAAP to non-GAAP EPS that excludes certain items is provided in the table below. Merck also continues to expect full year 2011 revenue to grow in the low to mid-single digit percent range from the base of $46.0 billion in the full year of 2010.

Cirrus Logic, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRUS) slumped more than 6% in Friday's pre-market trading after it announced preliminary unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter and for fiscal year 2011, which ended March 26, 2011. Revenue for the quarter is expected to be approximately $91.4 million, in line with guidance, representing a 46 percent increase over the $62.6 million in revenue for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2010, and a 4 percent decrease from $95.6 million in the third fiscal quarter. Revenue for fiscal year 2011 is expected to be approximately $369.6 million, a 67 percent increase over $221 million fiscal year 2010 revenue. Gross margin for the quarter is expected to be approximately 50 percent, below previously issued guidance of 54 to 56 percent. 

Bronco Drilling Co. (NASDAQ: BRNC) on Friday agreed to be bought by Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) for $315 million, or $11 a share.The $11.00 per share purchase price represents premiums of 6% and 24% over the closing price of Bronco's common stock on the NASDAQ on April 14, 2011 (the date of signing of the definitive agreement) and the average closing price for the 90-calendar day period ending on April 14, 2011, respectively.

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