U.S. futures markets are pricing a positive open Friday morning as markets overseas opened in green territory. This comes one day after British Parliament member Jo Cox was shot dead. Investigators are still searching the motive behind the shooting, but many suspect it was politically motivated, as Cox had been a supporter of the U.K. staying in the European Union. Campaign activities ahead of the June 23 Brexit referendum have been suspended.
Shares of Elizabeth Arden (RDEN) skyrocketed more than 48% before the bell on news that Revlon (REV) will be buying the cosmetics and fragrance company for approximately $870 million. Under the terms of the agreement, Revlon will acquire all of the outstanding shares for $14 per share in cash. Revlon expects cost synergies of approximately $140 million by eliminating duplicative activities, leveraging purchasing scale and optimizing the manufacturing and distribution networks.
Viacom (VIAB) shares were up slightly in early trading after Sumner Redstone replaced five directors from National Amusements, the trust that controls both Viacom and CBS (CBS); Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman is among the ousted members. National Amusements filed papers with a Delaware court to confirm the move. Those changes are still subject to a court ruling.
Analysts at RBC Capital Markets upgraded the stock to Sector Perform. They said management change seems inevitable, which will lift an overhang. RBC has a price target of $45 for Viacom.
Shares of Lumber Liquidators (LL) rose as high as 17% in pre-market trading after the company agreed not to resume sales of laminate flooring made in China. (Sales of the flooring ceased in May 2015.) As part of a broader recall program, Lumber Liquidators also agreed to continue to test Chinese-made laminate flooring in households and provide remediation if the flooring is found to emit elevated levels of formaldehyde, according to a statement released by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The company has been a target of short-sellers, most famously Whitney Tilson, who shorted shares due partly to the levels of formaldehyde found in its flooring.
Salesforce.com (CRM) was a loser in the bidding war for LinkedIn (LNKD), according to reports. The company, which offers cloud-based employee and sales software applications, is said to have been advised by Goldman Sachs in the negotiations. It ultimately lost the bid to Microsoft (MSFT), which bid $26.2 billion for LinkedIn. Salesforce recently acquired Demandware (DWRE) for $2.8 billion. In an interview with CNBC earlier this month, Salesforce CEO said: "We're not winning every deal."
-- Written by Carleton English and Anders Keitz