Why Clayton Williams Energy, Forward Pharma, and Luxottica Jumped Today

Published January 17, 2017
Fool.com

Tuesday was a poor day for the stock market, as major market benchmarks were down between 0.3% and 0.6% on the day. Investors appear to view Friday's inauguration of Donald Trump as president as a potential endpoint to the stock market rally of the past couple of months, and uncertainty about the priorities of the new administration have left some business leaders wondering if they'll be the federal government's next targets.

Still, some companies benefited from solid economic conditions in their industries and other good news, with Clayton Williams Energy (NYSE: CWEI), Forward Pharma (NASDAQ: FWP), and Luxottica Group (NYSE: LUX) leading the way higher. Below, we'll look more closely at these stocks to tell you why they did so well.

Image source: Clayton Williams Energy.

Clayton Williams attracts a bid

Clayton Williams Energy soared nearly 40%, after the energy company got a buyout bid worth $2.7 billion Monday from Noble Energy (NYSE: NBL). Under the terms of the deal, Clayton Williams shareholders will get $34.75 in cash, plus 2.7874 shares of Noble Energy stock, in exchange for every share of Clayton Williams they own. In addition, Noble Energy will assume $500 million in Clayton Williams debt. Clayton W. Williams, Jr., CEO of the target company, cited the buying company's "long track record of operational excellence and value creation, as well as its reputation as a tremendous corporate citizen [as] mak[ing] it the ideal partner for us."

Noble Energy investors hope that the acquisition will scale up the combined company's production efforts in the Delaware Basin region of West Texas, and bring synergies and other benefits in the future.

Forward Pharma gets a nice settlement

Forward Pharma saw its share price jump by nearly half in the wake of its decision to enter into a settlement and licensing agreement with Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB). The agreement involves Biogen paying Forward Pharma $1.25 billion in cash to license Forward's intellectual property for future development. It also gives Forward Pharma royalties: up to 10% to 20% of net sales of Biogen treatments for multiple sclerosis that use certain patents held by Forward. The deal specifically names Tecfidera, which is Biogen's top-selling MS drug. The additional royalty payment kicks in if Forward ends up winning its patent disputes against Biogen, with the 10% amount starting to apply in 2021 and then rising to 20% by 2029.

By doing this, Biogen ensures that it will be able to keep selling its drugs regardless of how the court case turns out, and Forward hedges against a court loss that could leave it without a recovery at all.

Watch Luxottica get bigger

Finally, Luxottica climbed 8%. The eyewear giant agreed to a merger with French company Essilor (NASDAQOTH: ESLOF), which is also a leading European producer of eyeglass lenses. Controlling shareholder and founder Leonardo Del Vecchio has agreed to the deal, in which Luxottica investors will receive 0.461 Essilor shares for every Luxottica share they own. As Del Vecchio said, "two products which are naturally complementary -- namely frames and lenses -- will be designed, manufactured, and distributed under the same roof."

Shares of both companies rose, as investors see an industry colossus that could capitalize on aging populations with greater needs for corrective eyewear in the years to come.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Biogen. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.