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In the news: A food merger, a new electric car, a lawsuit for HP and a new chief at the SEC

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.

ConAgra Foods
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.

Dollar General
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.

General Motors
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
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.

Hewlett Packard
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.

Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.