Check out the companies making headlines before the bell:
Papa John’s Pizza – Activist investor Starboard Value has taken a $200 million stake in the pizza chain, and Starboard CEO Jeffrey Smith will be named chairman. Starboard said the investment follows the conclusion of a strategic review by the company that positions it for stronger growth.
Clorox – The consumer products company earned $1.40 per share for its fiscal second quarter, 10 cents a share above estimates. Revenue matched forecasts, with its bottom line getting a boost from a jump in profit margins.
Alexion Pharmaceuticals – The drugmaker reported adjusted quarterly profit of $2.14 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $1.82 a share. Revenue also beat Wall Street forecasts and Alexion gave an upbeat full-year outlook.
Ultimate Software – The maker of human resources software will be bought by an investor group led by private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman for $331.50 per share in cash, a total of $11 billion. The buyout price is 19.3 percent above Friday’s closing price of $277.83 per share.
Goldman Sachs – Goldman Sachs may withhold millions of dollars in compensation for former CEO Lloyd Blankfein and his successor David Solomon because of the 1MDB scandal. Goldman’s board of directors will make a final decision on those payouts pending the result of an investigation of the controversial Malaysian investment bank.
General Motors – GM is in talks to possibly invest $2.7 billion in Brazil from 2020 to 2024. GM said it is currently examining the feasibility of such an investment, with the automaker having warned last month that new investments would depend on a return to profit. Separately, the Detroit News is reporting that GM will begin the process of laying off about 4,250 workers today.
Bristol-Myers Squibb — Starboard Value has taken a stake in the drugmaker, according to a Bloomberg report which added that Starboard’s intentions could not be learned. The news comes a month after Bristol-Myers agreed to acquire Celgene in a record $74 billion transaction.
Spotify – The music streaming service is in talks to buy podcasting specialist Gimlet Media, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The paper said talks are still taking place and it is possible that a deal will not be finalized.
Anheuser-Busch InBev – The beer brewer sparked controversy with a Super Bowl ad promoting the idea that its Bud Light brand does not use corn syrup, while its competitors do. The ad was criticized by the National Corn Growers Association, which said its members were “disappointed” by the ad and it thanked the brand’s rivals for “supporting our industry.”
ConocoPhillips – ConocoPhillips was upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at Goldman Sachs, which notes the energy giant’s improvement in free cash flow.
Match Group – The dating service’s stock was rated “sell” in new coverage at Goldman Sachs, with a price target of $45 per share. The firm said while the Tinder parent’s long term outlook is promising, its valuation is high relative to its growth prospects.
Yelp – Goldman began new coverage of the online review site with a “buy” rating. Although Goldman thinks Yelp is facing customer acquisition challenges, newer services like restaurant reservation service Nowait should help unlock value.
Palo Alto Networks – The cybersecurity software company is in talks to buy U.S.-Israeli information security firm Demisto, according to Israel’s Calcalist financial daily.