Here are some things going on today in your world of tech :
Chip making M&A
Shares of KLA-Tencor (KLAC) are down $3.87, or 3%, at $116.75, after the company this morning said it would purchase fellow chip equipment maker Orbotech (ORBK) for $3.4 billion in cash and stock, or $69.02 per share. KLA said the deal will diversify its business and catch “tech mega trends.” KLA also announced a $2 billion share repurchase authorization.
Orbotech shares are up $4.52, or 8%, at $64.42.
Stifel Nicolaus‘s Patrick Ho, who has a Buy rating, and a $139 price target, writing that the deal is a “positive and somewhat surprising move,” and that he thinks it will “significantly broaden and expand KLA-Tencor’s presence from its core process control marketplace.”
Facebook’s latest debacle
Shares of Facebook (FB) are down $12.08, or almost 7%, at $173.01, after it was disclosed Friday that the political consultancy Cambridge Analytica was granted access to 50 million Facebook users’ data, as described by Reuters’s David Ingram.
Pivotal Research‘s Brian Wieser writes this morning that he can see “enhanced risks for the company, but no near-term tangible impact on its business.” Wieser reiterates a Sell rating on the shares because he’s concerned about Facebook’s long-term growth.
Daniel Ives with GBH Insights writes that “the concern from the Street’s perspective is this latest fiasco could reignite the debate within the Beltway and EU around a tighter regulatory environment Facebook and its social platform brethren could face going forward.”
For the moment, he writes, Facebook will be okay with “further investments in security, Ad content A.I., improved content algorithms, etc.”
And Monness Crespi Hardt‘s James Cakmak, who has a Buy rating on the stock, concludes that “the issue for Facebook is perception-based” and “much of the company’s issues are self-inflicted on the PR front.”
Buying II-VI, selling Arista
It’s a busy morning for analysts at Deutsche Bank. Analyst Vishal Shah starts coverage of fiber-optic component maker II-VI with a Buy rating, and a $56 price target, writing that the company is set to boost production of key technologies such as silicon carbide and VCSEL lasers, taking them from less than 10% of revenue each to 17% and 15%, respectively.
II-VI shares are down 16 cents at $44.14.
And Shah’s colleague, Vijay Bhagavath cut his rating on Arista Networks (ANET) to Sell and cut his price target to $195 from $245, writing that sales may be hampered by “volatility in product orders.”
Arista stock is down $13.85, or 5%, at $279.87.
GrubHub getting pricey
Shares of online food ordering pioneer GrubHub (GRUB) are down $1.75, or 1.6%, at $108.78, after Stifel’s John Egbert this morning cut his rating to Hold from Buy, while raising his price target to $110 from $100, writing that the stock’s valuation “elevated relative to historical multiple ranges even when the company was growing much faster on an organic basis,” referring to multiples of 31.5 times his 2019 Ebitda estimate, and 1.7 times his 2019 “GFS” estimate.
A cheer for Fitbit
Shares of wearable tech pioneer Fitbit (FIT) are up 4 cents, or 0.9%, at $5.31, after Craig-Hallum Capital‘s Alex Fuhrman this morning started coverage of the shares with a Buy rating, and a $10 price target, writing that he believes the new strategy of pursuing smartwatches will work out for the company. Fitbit last week unveiled a new model of smartwatch, the ” Versa.”
The Qualcomm tele-novela
There’s some follow-up today from Friday’s announcement by Qualcomm (QCOM) that its board has dumped former executive chairman Paul Jacobs, and Jacobs’s disclosure he has told the board he thinks the company should be taken private.
According to the FT’s Tim Bradshaw, Jacobs wants investors to make a “protest vote” at Qualcomm’s annual shareholder meeting, which takes place this Friday.
Writes Bradshaw, “Mr Jacobs, who was Qualcomm’s executive chairman until earlier this month, is hoping to capitalise on some investors’ dissatisfaction with how the San Diego-based company handled rival Broadcom’s hostile takeover attempt to further his own effort to take the company private,” citing multiple unnamed sources.
Dell racks up server gains
Privately held Dell in Q4 displaced Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) as the top vendor of server computers, according to a report this morning from research firm Dell’Oro Group.
All the action in servers is coming from the cloud computing operators, notes the firm, as enterprise buyers in Q4 cut back on server purchases because memory chips made the systems too expensive.
The group’s analyst, Baron Fung, writes that “server average selling prices are now at an all-time high, which we believe contributed to the softening of Enterprise demand” and that “persistent high memory costs have caused server vendors to pass on the cost increases to end-users in the form of higher system prices.”
Google Cloud on acquisition trail
Bloomberg‘s Mark Bergen and Alex Barinka wrote late Friday that Alphabet (GOOGL) cloud maestro Diane Greene is looking to do a “major acquisition,” citing remarks in an interview. Greene intends to boost Google’s prominence in cloud computing
Apple’s secret tech
In other Apple news, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman late yesterday reported Apple has a secret manufacturing operation going on in Santa Clara, to make so-called ” micro LED ” screens, which would give iPhone and Apple Watch some unique capabilities.
Some of the technology comes from Apple’s acquisition of startup LuxVue in 2014. LuxVue had developed technology to make “always-on” screens that would consume very little power.
Apple stock is down $2.34, or 1.3%, at $175.68.
Oracle Q on tap
Oracle (ORCL) shares are unchanged at $52.28, in advance of its fiscal Q3 report this afternoon, after the closing bell. The Street is modeling $9.78 billion in revenue and 72 cents EPS.
John DiFucci with Jefferies & Co., who has a Buy rating on the shares, and a $61 price target, expects “solid” results from Oracle. In particular, he thinks the phenomenon of “bring your own license” probably boosted ” new license ” sales and maintenance sales.
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