This morning's roundup of the day's top business news stories includes a bonanza acquisition for Whiting Petroleum, as well as a sweet deal for chocolate maker Lindt.
Oil’s Well for Whiting Petroleum in $6 Billion Kodiack Acquisition
Whiting Petroleum Corp. said on Sunday it would acquire Kodiak Oil & Gas Corp. for $6 billion in stock, to become the largest producer in the Bakken region of North Dakota and Montana, The Associated Press reports. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. The companies' combined output in the first quarter of 2014 from the booming Bakken/Three Forks formations, among the largest plays in the U.S. was more than 107,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, with 855,000 combined net acres and almost 3,500 net future drilling locations. Kodiak shareholders will receive 0.177 share of Whiting stock for each share of Kodiak common stock they hold, representing a value of $13.90 per share based on the closing price of Whiting shares on July 11, the AP reports.
Sweet! Chocolatier Lindt in Talks to Buy Russell Stover
Swiss-based chocolate maker Lindt & Spruengli is in advanced and ongoing discussions to acquire family-owned U.S. candy business Russell Stover, the Financial Times reports. The two companies could announce an agreement as early as this week. Sources put the purchase price at $1.4 billion. Russell Stover, which also produce’s Whitman’s brand chocolates, is the third-largest U.S. candy company by sales. The company has its products in more than 70,000 drug stores, card and gift shops, grocery stores, department stores and retail stores throughout the United States and in more than 20 countries worldwide, according to its website.
Chinese Company Orders Pizza Company to Go
Gondola Group, a Chinese private equity firm, has acquired Pizza Express, one of Britain's best-known chain restaurants, for about $1.5 billion. Pizza Express has 426 restaurants in the U.K., along with 68 internationally, including 22 in China. The deal with Hony Capital is the latest example of Chinese investment in European companies, The Associated Press notes.
Trump Plaza Casino Expecting September Shutdown
Trump Entertainment Resorts said they expect to shut down its Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City's in mid-September. Notices warning employees of the expected closing will go out to the casino's 1,000-plus employees Monday. Trump Plaza’s closure would follow the January closing of the Atlantic Club, which employs 1,600 workers. The Showboat, with 2,100 employees, is closing next month, and Revel, with 3,100 employees, is in similar straits if a buyer is not found in bankruptcy court. Trump Plaza opened 30 years ago at a cost of $210 million. The real estate mogul has limited his dealings in Atlantic City to a 10 percent stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts. " I got out seven years ago; my timing was tremendous," Trump told the AP. A search for buyers for Trump Plaza is ongoing.
China Tackling Air Pollution with “New Energy Vehicles”
At least 30 percent of newly purchased government cars will be electric and other types of "new energy vehicles," including plug-in hybrids, fuel-cell and solar-powered cars, Xinhua News Agency, China's official news agency reported Sunday. A joint plan from five government ministries and departments calls for about a third of cars bought for state use from 2014 to 2016 to rely on clean energy, and the percentage will be raised year by year after that in an attempt to tackle China’s air pollution and encourage the electric car market.
“Planet of the Apes” Box Office Triumph Sees Rise of Monkey Puns
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” earned $74 million at the box office in its opening weekend, leading to headlines with phrases such as “Monkey Business,” “Going Ape” and “’Apes’ Goes Bananas.” "Dawn" is the highly-anticipated sequel to 2011's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” which made $54.8 million in its opening weekend. In second place at the box office was another sequel, “Transformers: Age of Extinction,” followed by “Tammy,” the only original film in the top five, “22 Jump Street” and “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”