The investigation into Chesapeake Energy Corporation(NYSE:CHK)and Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon has been stepped up by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. This is in regards to a controversial perk that granted the CEO a substantial share in each of the wells of the natural gas producer. As disclosed by Chesapeake on Friday, the investigation follows after nine days since the SEC filing said that the finances of the CEO no intentional wrongdoing by the Chief Executive.
SEC’s regulators in Fort Worth, Texas, have been studying the Founder Well Participation Program which grants McClendon up to 2.5% interest in each well that is drilled by Chesapeake. He is also supposed to cough up his share of well costs. According to an investigation carried out by Reuters last April, it was found that CEO had made arrangements to borrow around $1 billion from one of the investors at Chesapeake called EIG Global Energy Partners, which had been secured by his interest in the wells. Following that, the board has stated that the Founder Well Participation Program will come to an end in the month of June in 2014.
An oil analyst at Oppenheimer, Fadel Gheit stated that there was a sense of confusion because the board had just declared that everything was fine. Apparently, the board does not have a tight grip on the situation and the saga continues.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had advised Chesapeake that an informal enquiry that had taken place in May was continuing as an investigation for information. Both the company as well as the CEO are providing information. Chesapeake, which is the second leading natural gas producer in the United States witnessed its shares go down by 2% on the New York Stock Exchange.
Top 3 Gainers: Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA), Eros International (NYSE:EROS), Borqs Technologies’ (BRQS)
Zynga (NASDAQ:ZNGA) is up 2.5% after Benchmark reiterated its Buy rating in a look-ahead at Q2 earnings. The firm’s expecting a beat and solid guidance for Q3, and it’s raising its guidance for the fiscal year.
Tailwinds from the pandemic won’t dissipate easily, Benchmark suggests, and the videogame maker’s acquisition of Peak (and with it new “forever franchises” in Toon Blast and Toy Blast) will drive audience, bookings, margins and free cash flow, it says. The firm has an $11 price target, now implying 14% upside.
Eros International (NYSE:EROS) is up 5.8% today, making up the last week’s lost ground, after news that its streaming service Eros Now is partnering with Sony India (SNE +2.3%).
That will mean Eros Now’s app is pre-installed on selected Sony smart televisions in India, along with availability on a large base of existing models (Bravia E series and newer).
The country over the past year has seen a 25% growth in demand for smart TVs, fueled by overall industry growth of 15%, to a record 15M units/year.
Borqs Technologies’ (BRQS) personal safety tracker sees strong market with increased orders from the electronics retail chain in the US.
The boost in product demand comes ahead coronavirus pandemic that provides company to expect delivery of 250K units this year. It reflects over 3x the volume delivered in 2019, the year of its launch.
Borqs’ mobile personal safety devices designed particularly for senior citizens come with panic button, location tracking, and fall detection.
Biotech movers: Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Celgene Corporation (CELG)
Pfizer Inc. (PFE) said on Thursday it received a request for documents as part of a U.S. investigation related to quality issues involving the manufacture of auto-injectors at its Meridian Medical Technologies site.
Pfizer, in a regulatory filing, said it would be producing records in response to the civil investigative demand from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
Meridian, a unit of Pfizer that manufactures EpiPen injectors used to deliver an emergency allergy antidote, has been hit by a series of manufacturing problems in recent years. Mylan NV, which markets EpiPens, has recalled tens of thousands of the devices after complaints that some had failed to activate.
Bristol-Myers Squibb has been meeting with shareholders in Boston and New York over the last two weeks to try to salvage its $74 billion purchase of cancer drugmaker Celgene Corporation (CELG), the biggest acquisition announced so far this year.
The deal, announced in January, was hard sell to Bristol shareholders from the start. The acquisition adds about $32 billion in fresh debt to Bristol’s balance sheet while assuming $20 billion in Celgene’s debt, the companies said at the time. After factoring in debt, the acquisition was the largest health-care deal on record, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.
Now, hedge funds Wellington Management and Starboard Value say the deal doesn’t sit well with them. Bristol has sent executives to New York to meet with institutional investors several times over the last two weeks and met with investors in Boston on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a person who briefed on the meetings.
Bristol-Myers declined to comment.
Big Losers: Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (CRBP), Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras (PBR)
Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (CRBP)’s shares slumped as much as 16% to $6.94 on huge volume. The stock has been showing intense sell off suddenly after a bearish article on seekingalph.com by Alpha Exposure.
The article stated that Corbus has ties to investors convicted of or alleged to have committed securities fraud. We believe lenabasum has failed its major trials in SSc and CF. Lenabasum was also denied Breakthrough Therapy Designation in SSc. We believe lenabasum will fail in its pivotal SSc and Phase 2b CF trials. We are short Corbus with a price target of $0.50.
Petróleo Brasileiro S.A. – Petrobras (PBR) is expanding its ambitious divestment program and has “bold” plans for sales, the Brazilian state-run oil company’s chief executive said after the firm posted its first annual profit in five years.
On a conference call with analysts to discuss fourth-quarter results, CEO Roberto Castello Branco said selling non-core assets will be key to deleveraging.
Petrobras, as the company is known, can reduce its ratio of net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, to 1.5 or even to 1, he added.
The University of Chicago-educated CEO, who took the reins in early January, has long been vocal about the need to slim down the sprawling firm and focus on core activities such as exploration and production. Thursday’s comments were some of his most assertive on the matter.