Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three brief items

1. Trident Microsystems

Trident, based in Santa Clara, Calif., is a designer and marketer of integrated circuits and associated software. It recently concluded a deal with a Dutch company, NXP Semiconductors, buying NXP's television systems and set-top box business lines.

Pursuant to this deal, NXP is receiving "newly issued shares of Trident common stock equal to 60% of the total shares outstanding post-closing, including approximately 6.7 million shares that NXP will purchase at a price of $4.50 per share, resulting in cash proceeds to Trident of $30 million."

The deal resolves a proxy contest that had been brewing. The disaffected stockholders, led by Spencer Capital Management LLC, had been complaining of Trident's poor performance. Now they seem to concede that Trident is trying a new direction, and they are giving that new tack a chance, withdrawing their intent to nominate a slare of directors.

"They also serve who only stand and threaten."

2. Prepackaged bankruptcy for CIT.

CIT, the bank holding company (NYSE: CIT) the survived a near-death experience in July, has seen its stock price return to ... a little above a dollar.

It continues to work to reduce its $30bn debt load by at least $5.7bn through a debt exchange, and is also soliciting votes for a pre-packaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which it will use if too few bondholders agree to the debt exchange.

Now Carl Icahn has stepped in, contending that the company's plans are unfair to bondholders, and he has a better idea. It isn't yet clear (to me at any rate) just what his angle on this is. I'm guessing he isn't helping those bondholders out of a charitable impulse.

3. Cerberus consolidates the gun and ammo industry

Cerberus, the hedge fund and private equity fund group that took something of a beating in the automotive industry, is now working on a new business plan.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Cerberus has been in the market for small guns-and-ammo operations see here. It has bought seven of them over three years, and now it has consolidated them into one, and plans to take that one public.

In the first half of 2008, Cerberus owned gun operations lost $6.1 million. In the first half of this year, they made $23 million. That sounds like a nice turnaround.

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