In the news this morning, ConAgra Foods is buying Ralcorp, Dollar General is joining the S&P 500 and General Motors plans to launch an all-electric car. Also in the news this morning, a shareholder files what is likely to be the first in a long line of suits against Hewlett Packard over recent acquisitions gone bad and the White House is reportedly close to appointing a career regulator to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Con Agra (CAG) will buy Ralcorp (RAH) for about $4.95 billion or $90 per share. The merger will create the largest private-label packaged food company in North America. The purchase price is a 28% premium to Ralcorp's Monday closing price of $70.23. The combined company is expected to have total sales of about $18 billion annually.
The discount retailer will be added to the S&P 500, replacing Cooper Industries (CBE), which is being acquired by Eaton Corp. (ETN) at the close of business on Friday. Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig expects Dollar General (DG) to get a boost of about 6% from the addition.
The company plans to debut an all-electric car at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show. The company says the car will have a better range than lower price tag than rivals. The Spark EV will initially be sold in California, Oregon, Canada and South Korea.
McMoRan Exploration (MMR) fell sharply Monday after the company said it still needs to conduct a measurable flow test at a well in the Davy Jones section of the Gulf of Mexico. The company gave a similar update on October 19, causing concern among investors about whether or not the project is taking longer than expected.
A shareholder in the tech giant is suing the company alleging the company concealed problems with its acquisitions of Electronic Data Systems and Autonomy. Allen Nicolow, who owns 200 shares of Hewlett Packard (HPQ) stock, claims management knew the deals were bad long before publically acknowledging the issues. Other suits are likely to follow.
The White House will reportedly nominate Elisse Walter to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission. Walter has previously worked at the NASD and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission as well as working under outgoing chairwoman Mary Shapiro at FINRA.