Arch Chemicals Inc. shares soared the most in two years last week before the company agreed to sell itself to Lonza Group AG for $1.2 billion.
Arch gained 21 percent to $42.17 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading last week, the biggest advance since the period ending Nov. 28, 2008. The stock surged 11 percent on July 8 as more than 1.1 million shares changed hands, compared with an average of 197,000 shares daily in the past three months.
“Any stock that trades up 11 percent for three days prior to a weekend and gets taken over the following morning should have any buyer expecting a call from the regulators,” said Jamie Lissette, founder of Hammerstone Group, a Westport, Connecticut-based operator of online discussion forums for investors.
John Nester, a spokesman for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, declined to comment.
“We have a no-comment policy in general on questions regarding formal investigations or inquiries,” said Dale Walter, a spokesman for Norwalk, Connecticut-based Arch.
Lonza, based in Basel, Switzerland, said today it agreed to pay $47.20 a share in cash for Arch, 12 percent higher than the closing price on July 8.
“It’s not up to us really to make any speculations about it,” Lonza Chief Executive Officer Stefan Borgas said of the stock price move on a telephone briefing with reporters. “The fact is there was absolutely no rumor about Arch anywhere, there was absolutely no rumor about Lonza anywhere. We really at the end don’t know what happened.”
Arch shares rose in each of the four trading days last week. The number of shares changing hands was also higher than average on each of those days. The U.S. stock market was closed July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.
The S&P 600 Specialty Chemicals Index increased 2.6 percent last week, and rose 0.9 percent on July 8.
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