Small-Cap Snapshot: Pier 1 Imports slumps after saying it's exploring strategic options

MannKind, Agenus and BlackBerry are also seeing trading action

Pier 1 storefront
Cheryl Bachelder, who sits on Pier 1's board, takes the helm at the struggling retailer on an interim basis

Pier 1 Imports Inc (NYSE:PIR) took a hit in the market after the home furnishing retailer announced it is evaluating strategic options, as well as the departure of its CEO Alasdair James. The struggling company has brought in Credit Suisse to evaluate a range of alternatives, which will not necessarily result in its sale. Cheryl Bachelder, who sits on the board and is the former CEO of AFC Enterprises, the parent company of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, has been tapped as interim CEO. The hiring of Credit Suisse signals that Pier 1’s three-year turnaround plan to boost revenue is failing.

Pier 1 shares fell by 39% to $0.70.

Shares of MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) tumbled Thursday after the biopharma company announced it would raise $40 million via a secondary offering. Investors tend to frown upon such moves due to concerns about share dilution. MannKind is offering 26.7 million shares of stock and warrants. Each share is being sold with a warrant for a combined price of $1.50 and the offering is set to close on December 26. The Californian company is focused on the development of inhaled therapeutic products for diabetes and patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension.

MannKind shares shed 34.3% to $1.11.

READ: EARLY MOVERS: Newell Brands stock climbs after Carl Icahn increases stake

Switching gears, the biotech Agenus (NASDAQ:AGEN) is a top gainer after unveiling a lucrative collaboration with Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ:GILD) for the development of five immune-oncology therapies. Under the deal’s terms, the company, which is based in Lexington, Massachusetts, will receive a $120 million upfront payment as well as a $30 million equity investment from Gilead. The agreement also calls for Agenus to receive roughly $1.7 billion in fees and milestones. In return, Gilead will receive exclusive rights to AGEN 1423, an antibody being developed by Agenus for the treatment of cancer. It will also walk away with options to license two additional T cell therapies as well as the right of first negotiation for two other unnamed pre-clinical programs.

Agenus shares climbed 34.4% to hit $2.70.

BlackBerry Ltd (NYSE:BB), the Canadian software company, also swung higher after posting a profit in its fiscal third quarter thanks to security software sales. BlackBerry has upended its business model since its smartphone business collapsed due to the dominance of Apple’s iPhones and Android devices in the market. The company now primarily sells enterprise security software and has forged ahead by marketing its QNX software to the makers of driverless technology. For its latest quarter ended on November 30, BlackBerry reported net income of $59 million compared with a loss of $275 million in the corresponding year-ago period.

BlackBerry added 1.9% to $7.51.

Contact Ellen Kelleher at [email protected]

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