Mike Thiessen

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  • Post-Split, Kraft Foods Continues to Shuffle Brands

    By Mike Thiessen - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: KRFT, MDLZ, NSRGY

    Less than a year after its blockbuster split with now-independent Mondelez International (NASDAQ: MDLZ), Kraft Foods (NASDAQ: KRFT) has announced plans to separate its already-truncated roster of brands into two distinct divisions. Although the internal split technically occurred in early July, its impacts continues to be felt throughout the company and beyond. It is entirely possible that this move will set up a future spin-off that sees Kraft Foods split more »

  • Why This Bidding War is Heating Up

    By Mike Thiessen - August 16, 2013 | Tickers: KBALB, KKR, LVB

    Many investors believed that it would be just a matter of time before another player jumped into Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts's (NYSE: KKR) bid for Steinway Musical Instruments (NYSE: LVB). Their collective wish came true with the Aug. 12 announcement that privately-held investment firm Paulson & Company had decided to raise KKR's offer price by more than 10 percent. The new proposal is widely regarded as superior to KKR's more »

  • How This Online Travel Retailer Could Possibly Recover

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: EXPE, OWW, PCLN

    The shares of Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE) fell dramatically after the company reported their earnings, from $65 per share before the report to a low of $45.75 in the week following. Expedia missed earnings and lowered guidance for the second time in a row. There was a very modest recovery in the stock price most recently to $51 per share. The decline was the result of an earnings miss combined more »

  • What Will Happen With a Better Offer on the Table?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: CQB, DOLE, FDP

    According to recent reports, produce distributor Dole Foods's (NYSE: DOLE) long-running bidding war may finally be nearing an end. After trying unsuccessfully to take the firm private with a rather low offer for the bulk of its outstanding shares, CEO David Murdock upped his bid significantly and won the unanimous approval of Dole's board. Although this deal is still subject to customary closing conditions like a shareholder approval more »

  • What Are the Problems that a Debt-Fueled Stock Buyback Won't Solve?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: DNKN, SBUX, THI

    Beloved Canadian fast-food giant Tim Hortons (NYSE: THI) has announced plans to expand the scope of its recent buyback initiative amid widespread griping by rank-and-file shareholders. The move comes on the heels of rumors that the company's CEO is fighting for his job and could presage further announcements from the profitable but debt-burdened purveyor of coffee, donuts and breakfast sandwiches.

    Tim Hortons's volatile shares have lagged the broader more »

  • How is a New CEO, a Buyback Program, and a Few News Tricks, Working for This Company?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: FB, GRPN, OPEN

    It is often said that the fast-moving social media landscape behaves like the weather in San Francisco: If it's foggy and gray one moment, wait five minutes for sunshine and warmth. Although Groupon (NASDAQ: GRPN) is actually based in Chicago, it is nevertheless Exhibit A for this increasingly relevant truism. In late 2012, the company appeared to be on the ropes. Beset by cratering earnings figures and a rudderless more »

  • How Can Apple Still Grow Its Bottom Line?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, GOOG

    Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) shares have rebounded off of lows but are still undervalued according to some investors. Others argue that earnings and margins will flatten and contract in terms of the latter, making the shares fairly or even overvalued. The risk/reward on Apple at this point looks somewhat attractive. It does not appear the Street is very aggressive in pricing in success from upcoming production introductions and cost reduction more »

  • Does Jeff Bezos Know What He's Doing With the Washington Post?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 15, 2013 | Tickers: AMZN, NYT, WPO

    The ramifications of Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) founder Jeff Bezos' out-of-nowhere decision to invest $250 million of his own money in the Washington Post Company's (NYSE: WPO) flagship newspaper extend far beyond the narrow world of newspaper publishing. Although Rupert Murdoch's 2007 purchase of the Wall Street Journal sent similar shockwaves through the industry, Bezos' foray into print represents the first time that a technology entrepreneur has "crossed over more »

  • Why Should This Spin-off Be Welcomed?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: A, HBIO, TMO

    Harvard Bioscience’s (NASDAQ: HBIO) management announced on May 1, 2013, a plan to spin-off Harvard Apparatus Regenerative Technology (HART). The deal will occur after a failed attempt at an initial public offering earlier in the year for HART. HART is a loss incurring, high risk, high reward story, while Harvard Bioscience is steadily profitable. The losses from HART have contributed to flatish share performance for many years prior to more »

  • How Will This Acquisition Effect a Stagnant Bank?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: NA, AMTD, TD

    National Bank of Canada (TSX:NA) has reached an agreement with Toronto Dominion Bank (NYSE: TD) to buy the group's institutional services unit known as TD Waterhouse Institutional Services for $242.1 million. The agreement is still subject to regulatory approval, but both parties expect it to be finalized before the end of the year. The merger expands National Bank's already robust institutional services division and may provide more »

  • What Are Blackberry's Options After Its Long, Painful Decline?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: AAPL, BBRY, GOOG

    Although it did not come as much of a surprise, Blackberry's (NASDAQ: BBRY) recent announcement that it would explore "strategic alternatives" nevertheless made headlines on both sides of the border. As the darling of Canada's technology industry, Blackberry's slide into irrelevance has been lamented and memorialized thousands of times over. At this point, its very ability to turn itself around on its own has come under serious more »

  • What is the Most Recent Saga at This Boring Retailer?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 14, 2013 | Tickers: JCP, KSS, M

    The latest developments in the J.C. Penney (NYSE: JCP) saga were the stuff of a half-baked television drama. After sending an angry, petulant open letter to the company's shareholders and various media organizations, activist investor Bill Ackman got into an explosive boardroom confrontation with his peers on the J.C. Penney board of directors. While the exact circumstances of the almost physical confrontation have not been made public more »

  • Poor Earnings and Stagnant Growth Are Fueling Cable Merger Talks

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: CHTR, LMCA, TWC

    The U.S. pay-TV space is once again abuzz with speculation about the potential for blockbuster mergers and takeovers that could reshape the industry. The latest catalysts for these rumors come in the form of lackluster earnings reports from a slew of big-name cable companies. After years of growth, it appears that the U.S. public's appetite for cable and satellite television services has plateaued. As new media companies more »

  • How Will This Bid Benefit Investors?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: CSE, PACW, USB

    Los Angeles-based business lender PacWest Bancorp (NASDAQ: PACW) recently made a juicy offer for cross-town rival CapitalSource (NYSE: CSE). Valued at around $2.3 billion, the cash-and-stock deal would create a fairly large bank that could immediately challenge regional competitors for dominance in the small and mid-cap lending space. In fact, the combined bank would be among the 10 largest commercial banks in the entire state and could boast combined more »

  • Is This Offer Too Low, and What Can Investors Do About It?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: M, SKS

    Well-known Canadian retailer Hudson's Bay has officially inked a deal with Saks (NYSE: SKS) that will result in the combination of the two storied firms. With a total value of nearly $3 billion, this is not a small merger. Moreover, it has the potential to reorder the retail landscape on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. 

    Although most market-watchers and handicappers are confident that Hudson's Bay more »

  • How Will This Deal Affect the Healthcare Industry?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: CYH, HCA, HMA

    Franklin, Tennessee-based Community Health Systems (NYSE: CYH) is on the cusp of picking up an attractive prize in its favored healthcare niche. According to reports, the company will pay about $4 billion in cash and assume nearly as much debt to merge with Health Management Associates (NYSE: HMA). The combination will create a sizable healthcare system that could be better-positioned to compete in the rapidly changing U.S. healthcare landscape more »

  • As the Government Gets Out, What Should an Investor Do?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: F, GM, TM

    After years of struggling to make ends meet, North America's automobile companies are finally emerging from the basement. General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford (NYSE: F) and Chrysler continue to turn profits on a consistent basis and have launched ambitious expansion drives that could remake the global automobile industry. Foreign automakers like Toyota (NYSE: TM) and Honda are also doing quite well. Given this momentum, it should come as no more »

  • Why is This MLP an Opportunity for Investors?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: DVN, LNCO, LINE

    Devon Energy (NYSE: DVN), an independent oil and gas exploration company focused on U.S. and Canadian assets, is planning on spinning off its natural gas gathering and processing assets in Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming into a midstream MLP (Master Limited Partnership) to be filed in Q3 2013 for an initial public offering contingent on market conditions.

    Devon will be the general partner of the MLP, and Devon will use more »

  • After the Crash, Which Fertilizer Stocks Are Safe?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: AGU, POT, MOS

    By now, most investors are aware of the gut-wrenching turmoil that wracked the global fertilizer industry during the last trading days of July 2013. As a result of a huge Russian firm's decision to pull out of a popular, lucrative potash trading consortium, prices for most well-known fertilizer stocks fell by as much as 25 percent in the blink of an eye. Although more diversified firms enjoyed some protection more »

  • Which Financial Firm Just Blew Away the Competition and Still Looks Cheap?

    By Mike Thiessen - August 13, 2013 | Tickers: FBRC, GS, MS

    By definition, under-the-radar stock picks are tough to find and even harder to time. By the time the market catches on to a particularly compelling name, it could well be past its top. It is frustratingly difficult to find truly great stocks that produce value year after year.

    It is by no means certain that FBR Capital Markets (NASDAQ: FBRC) is one such stock. However, it is impossible to deny more »

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