Keep in mind that the stock hasn't even recovered the $4 point drop undergone in the past 2 trading days, and these declines were predicated on nothing but false rumors and liquidations.
For the company to have provided a specific date by which binding bids are due and to back itself into a corner in forcing a disclosure and deal completion by the first week of March, management must be extremely confident in closing a good deal by then. This reaffirms that the interest among majors is in fact very strong.
The stock is trading at $0.30 - $0.40 per mcf by my estimates and is probably worth 5X this valuation, so expect lots of new funds buying between now and the beginning of March and lots of shorts covering.
Lastly, if a hostile takeover attempt is on its way, I would expect it to happen now, as the closer we get to the end of February, the higher the stock price will go. Keep in mind, these are binding bids as per the press release, so a simple selection of the winning bid will consummate the transaction.
The stock is still down $20 since the first NEC leak, and there's been a ton of good news since then - LNG and markets near all time highs, NEC approval secured, Antelope 3 results, confirmation of strong interest in the project. I think the stock's an easy double in the next month.
Pick I agree and I believe all longs do, but history has taught us that logic doesn't prevail with the pps of IOC. I think we need to see the DEAL Then we fly. However, with that said, I can see a gradual creep to the upside as we get closer to the 28th. Of course a new biggie entering the scene would change the dynamics and could cause a big lift prior to the 28th.