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Check out which companies are making headlines before the bell:

Cablevision — The cable operator agreed to be bought by Europe's Altice for $17.7 billion in cash, stock, and assumed debt. The deal is valued at $34.90 per share, 22 percent above Wednesday's closing price for Cablevision.

Oracle — Oracle reported adjusted quarterly profit of 53 cents per share, 1 cent above estimates. However, the business software provider's revenue was below forecasts, as was its current quarter revenue forecast. Oracle is being hurt by a strong dollar, as well as a drop in sales of its software.

Rite Aid – The drug store chain reported quarterly profit of 2 cents per share, compared to estimates of 4 cents a share, though revenue was above forecasts. Rite Aid also trimmed its earnings guidance slightly to reflect recent sales trends and additional amortization expense from its acquisition of pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRX.

Raytheon — RBC upgraded Raytheon to "top pick" from "outperform," saying it has the most attractive balance of growth and valuation in a rapidly improving defense sector.

Hanesbrands — Goldman Sachs upgraded the apparel maker to "buy" from "neutral," citing the company's pricing power and its merger and acquisition strategy, among other factors.

L Brands, Lululemon, Gap, TJX — The four retailers are the "buy" rated names in a new MKM Partners report on the retail sector. MKM said L Brands, Lululemon, and TJX have underappreciated international catalysts, while Gap is seen as a value play.

Nvidia — Jefferies upgraded the chipmaker's stock to "buy" from "hold," citing growth trends in PC gaming and cloud computing.

Northrop Grumman — Northrop Grumman announced a new $4 billion share repurchase program. The defense contractor had previously approved a $3 billion program last December.

Expedia — Expedia won the approval of U.S. regulators to buy rival Orbitz. The government did not require the online travel service to sell any assets in exchange for approval.

Sony — Sony said China censorship rules are hurting sales of its PlayStation 4 video game console, even though a ban on foreign-made gaming consoles was lifted last year.

KKR – KKR's Samson Resources filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, as the oil and gas producer hands control over to its lenders. Samson was bought four years ago by a group led by KKR for $7.2 billion.

General Motors — GM will pay about $900 million to settle a criminal investigation over the automaker's handling of defective ignition switches.

Target — The retailer's pharmacy workers in a Brooklyn, New York, store have formed a union, the first in Target's more than 100-year history.

Atmel – Atmel is in talks to be acquired by China Electronics Corp., according to a Bloomberg report. The bid being considered is said to be approximately $8.50 per share for the electronic components maker, compared to yesterday's closing price of $8.18.