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A roundup of some of the North American equities making moves in both directions today

On the rise

General Electric Co. (GE-N) soared as it nears a US$30 billion-plus deal to combine its aircraft-leasing business with Ireland’s AerCap Holdings NV (AER-N).

The deal would be the biggest shake-up in aircraft leasing in almost a decade as its top two players discuss a deal to forge an industry titan with over 2,000 jets.

Negotiations for a tie-up follow years of speculation over the sale of GECAS and come as COVID-19 is expected to shift more of the world’s passenger aircraft fleet into the arms of the leasing industry, which already takes about half of Airbus and Boeing deliveries.

A deal would be the most ambitious expansion yet under AerCap Chief Executive Aengus Kelly who in 2013 struck a deal to buy the firm’s largest rival, Los Angeles-based International Lease Finance Corp, in the wale of the financial crisis.

It would also mark the latest move by GE Chief Executive Larry Culp to offload businesses and reduce debt, after taking over the reins at the struggling conglomerate in 2018.

See also: General Electric shares burn bright on recovery bets

Mullen Group Ltd. (MTL-T) gained with the premarket announcement of the acquisition of Mississauga-based APPS Transport Group Inc.

APPS will operate within the Alberta-based company’s s Less-Than-Truckload Segment and is expected to generate annualized revenue of approximately $90-million.

GameStop Corp. (GME-N) has tapped shareholder Ryan Cohen to lead the company’s transition to an e-commerce business, Bloomberg reported citing sources familiar with the matter, sending the video game retailer’s shares up on Monday.

Mr. Cohen, a board member who has been pushing the company to move away from its traditional brick-and-mortar model, will chair a new board committee, Bloomberg reported.

The committee will look to hire executives to lead its customer care and e-commerce fulfillment centers, as well as finding a new chief financial officer with technology and e-commerce experience, according to the report.

GameStop, which has become one of the most visible of the so-called meme stocks, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Last week, Mr. Cohen, who is a major shareholder of GameStop and founder of e-commerce firm Chewy.com, posted a cryptic tweet of an ice-cream cone, with analysts speculating on whether that was a trigger for GameStop’s most recent rally.

Mr. Cohen’s RC Ventures activist firm reached a settlement with GameStop in January, giving Mr. Cohen seats on the company’s board.

See also: ‘Meme stocks’ go mainstream: There’s now a fund for that

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American Airlines Group Inc. (AAL-Q) was higher in the wake of saying it intends to privately offer notes worth about US$5-billion to pay down government debt.

The U.S. airline, which has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, would also enter into a US$2.5-billion term loan credit facility backed in part by its loyalty program AAdvantage.

American Airlines said it will use the proceeds to repay the outstanding amount from the loan with the U.S. Treasury, that is currently secured by collateral, and for general corporate purposes.

In January, the airline authorized a US$1-billion stock sale, following an ongoing US$1-billion offering launched in October to boost liquidity.

The company’s subsidiary American Airlines Inc and AAdvantage Loyalty IP Ltd - an indirect owned subsidiary - intend to commence the offering.

On the decline

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management (APO-N) was flat after it said on Monday it had agreed to buy Athene Holding Ltd. (ATH-N) in an all-stock deal valuing the retirement services company at about US$11-billion.

Under the terms of the deal, each outstanding class A common share of Athene will be exchanged for 1.149 shares of Apollo common stock.

Existing Apollo shareholders will own about 76 per cent of the combined company, and Athene investors will own the rest.

The deal will create a company with a pro-forma market value of US$29-billion, providing products and services in the investment and retirement income space.

With files from staff and wires

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