United Rentals has filed suit in Delaware Court of Chancery against the 2 acquisition arms of Cerberus Capital Management RAM Holdings Inc. and RAM Acquisition Corp. after Cerberus notified URI that it's not prepared to follow through on its prior agreement to acquire the company. Cerberus had agreed to buy out URI for $34.50 per share back in July, in a deal that was valued at a total of $7 billion. The lawsuit seeks to compel Cerberus to consummate the acquisition.
The ongoing credit crunch had already put the deal in peril in the eyes of investors, but URI argues that no material adverse changes have occurred to the company's business. Cerberus' case of cold feet, URI charges, is nothing more than a naked ploy to extract a lower price at the expense of United Rentals' shareholders. URI also noted that financial-market upheaval was specifically excluded as a possible justification for Cerberus to exit the agreement.
At last check, URI shares are down 2.7%. The stock plunged precipitously last Wednesday after Cerberus made official its intent to slide out of the buyout pact. However, URI's Schaeffer's put/call open interest ratio (SOIR) has plunged in tandem with the shares, as oddly enough option-trader pessimism seems to be on the decline. The November 14 SOIR reading was 1.22, in the 85th annual percentile, while today's SOIR checks in at 0.55, in the complacent 60th percentile.