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Merry mergers for some media companies, coal for others

Nothing says Christmas like a market-moving deal, and a couple companies toasted eggnog over freshly minted M&A documents during the week ending Dec. 23.

After a long wait and some speculation, AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. on Dec. 20 finally received U.S. Department of Justice approval for its historic combination with Carmike Cinemas Inc. Executives from each company took the news to the deal table quicker than St. Nick and the following day signed off on the $1.1 billion merger agreement, making the combined entity the largest theater exhibitor in the world at more than 10,000 screens.

Looking at the terms of the deal, Carmike stockholders were given the option to receive either $33.06 in cash or 1.0819 AMC shares for each Carmike share they owned, subject to an overall allocation with 70% of Carmike shares exchanged for cash and 30% exchanged for AMC shares. Holders of 23,006,194 Carmike shares and equity awards elected to receive AMC shares, holders of 1,230,343 Carmike shares and equity awards elected to receive the cash consideration, and holders of 996,848 Carmike shares and equity awards made no election. As a result of the transaction, 8,189,808 shares of AMC class A common stock will be issued.

The news launched AMC shares toward the North Pole, adding 10.0% to the company's market cap during the week ended Dec. 23.

SNL Image

Verizon Communications Inc. also got a little deal-related news in its stocking. The legacy telco has been waffling on its decision to buy legacy search company Yahoo! Inc. At first the combination made sense as an additional piece to Verizon's digital expansion, following on its purchase of AOL, but a recent cyberattack at Yahoo that impacted more than 1 billion user accounts left a bad taste in Verizon's mouth. But regardless of Verizon's ambivalence, the European Commission on Dec. 21 granted approval for the combination, suggesting that if the company decided to follow through it would likely pass regulatory muster.

Because the merger is still uncertain, the deal approval only nudged against Verizon's stock, pushing shares up 2.6% for the trading week through Dec. 22. Perhaps getting a positive read-through for regulatory approval on its mega merger with Time Warner Inc., AT&T Inc. shares followed Verizon's upward for a gain of 2.5% for the week.

Elsewhere in M&A, small-business enterprise company Web.com Group Inc. said Dec. 12 that it agreed to buy Latin American technology company Donweb.com under undisclosed deal terms. Web.com shares climbed steadily after the announcement, jumping, settling and then jumping again for a gain of 19.2% over the two trading weeks ended Dec. 23.

In other market-moving news, Twitter Inc. investors found some coal in their stockings after Adam Messinger, chief technology officer for the microblogging site, resigned from the company to "take some time off." Behind him, vice president of product Josh McFarland also jumped sleigh to join venture capital firm Greylock Ventures as a general partner.

Twitter also announced its intentions to launch a "pared-down" version of social video platform Vine. The company in October had announced that it was winding down Vine in the coming months. The company in November was reportedly looking to sell the video sharing service.

The loss of executives and the uncertain strategy concerning Vine soured Twitter investors, leading a to an 11.9% selloff between Dec. 16 and Dec. 22.

Lastly, digital infrastructure featherweight Internap Corp. on Dec. 20 tied a bow on its restructuring plan, saying that its is evaluating the sale of noncore assets and expects to discontinue programs that are not profitable. It expects 2017 revenue to decrease to a range of $275 million to $285 million, but 2017 adjusted EBITDA is projected to increase in a range of $84 million to $87 million.

Internap investors appreciated the tidings of joy and cost cuts, launching shares of the low-volume company up 91.3% for the week.