Trader Talk

Merger Friday! Priceline, OpenTable make a deal as IPOs resurface

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 1, 2014.
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Here's one for the Freaky Friday files: Priceline announced it's buying OpenTable! That was unusual, given that merger news normally happens on Mondays.

The offer is for $103 a share in cash for the company, a 46 percent premium over its closing price Thursday.

What does this mean? There will be more interest across the board in apps with a local flavor. Analysts note that Priceline will drive even more intense digital marketing efforts. They will also help with growth internationally, particularly in Europe.

The key is stable, predictable, growing cash flows in the U.S., these observers say.


Pisani tests GoPro on NYSE floor

1) Initial Public Offerings are back with a vengeance Four IPOs began trading on Thursday, while three more begin today. All three IPOs set to begin trading today priced more shares than expected.

At the NYSE, insulation manufacturer Aspen Aerogels priced 7.5 million shares—more than expected—at $11, below the $14 to $16 range, making the total deal size was lower at $82.5 million. They make pipe insulation, and the company previously filed for an IPO in June 2011. They withdrew the offering in May 2013.

On the NASDAQ, Abengoa Yield, which owns renewable and conventional power and electric transmission assets, priced 24.8 million shares, also more than expected, at $29—above the $25 to $27 price talk. They have assets that include electricity from solar energy, wind, and other conventional electricity, all acquired from their parent. This is a dividend play: the initial dividend yield is 3.6 percent, but the expectation is that yield will rise.

Oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) Memorial Resource Development priced a better-than-expected 42.8 million shares at $19, above the $16 to $18 range. This is an oil and natural gas play focused on Louisiana. Natural Gas Partners is backing this, they were behind several other deals in the last year, including RSP Permian.

The Renaissance Capital IPO ETF has been rallying recently, up about 10 percent in the last three weeks.

2) All hail the trading slowdown: ETrade reported Daily Average Revenue Trades (DARTs) of 147,661 in May fell 13.8 percent from April and 9.4 percent from a year ago. Charles Schwab also reported DARTs for May down 12 percent.

Ameritrade also recently reported DARTs for May slid 15% from April and 8% from a year ago.

--By CNBC's Bob Pisani