Archive: November, 2009
Pierre Brondeau was cheated of the top job at Rohm & Haas Co. when Dow Chemical bought and began dismantling the Philadelphia specialty chemical maker this year. But the ex-Rohm president and chief operating officer was named CEO today at another global Philadelphia materials maker, FMC Corp. Announcement here.
Seven cleaners for Optima Cleaning Services Inc.who worked at Wilmington Trust Corp. headquarters have been awarded a total of $24,000 in back wages to settle a complaint that Optima fired after they failed surprise drug tests in retaliation for trying to organize a union.
Without admitting wrondgoing, Optima also agreed to post a statement that it won't spy on Service Employees' International Union Local 32BJ "or any other labor organization"; will not "challenge Union representatives to a fight" or hit their vehicles; will not "coercively question" workers, or "discriminate" against pro-union workers by making them take extra drug tests.
The workers "do not desire reinstatement and would not accept it if offered," the statement added. “Threats and intimidation do not belong in the workplace," said Kurt Westby, 32BJ area director.
But Optima owner Tom Delle Donne tells me his drug testing program existed long before SEIU tried organizing his workers last year. "I'm perplexed" that NLRB didn't throw the case out on that basis, he told me. "It would have cost me another $60,000 to fight it out in court," so he settled. "I'm getting pummelled here."
Delaware Gov. Jack Markell says a "one-time tax amnesty program" through Oct. 30 has raised $15 million so far and has secured promises raising the total to $22 million by June from 14,000 delinquent accounts, more than double its $10 million target. He credited Sallie Mae Corp.'s General Revenue Corp. division, which is collecting the money for the state.
Jack Hewes, who runs Sallie Mae's new Delaware office, in a statement praised Markell's decision to "outsource" the work. The contract boosted Sallie Mae's efforts to diversify as Congress weighs cuts to the taxpayer-subsidized private student loan business.
Acting Delaware finance secretary Tom Cook said the amnesty is now over, and "the State is going to vigorously work to collect unpaid taxes," and penalties, "from those who did not come forward.”
Updated: Capmark Financial Group Inc. of Horsham, the giant commercial real estate lender that filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware last month, agreed earlier this year that, if it went bankrupt, it would be acquired by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and Leucadia National Corp. ("Berkadia") for a premium of about half a billion dollars, unless someone offered more.
Yesterday, Capmark lawyer Michael Kessler said a rival potential owner - a company "already in the loan servicing business" - has proposed negotiating a higher price, as Bloomberg and the Inquirer noted here (scroll to fourth item). This potential owner, who wasn't identified, "does not plan to hire Capmark's servicing employees," Bloomberg reporter Steve Church wrote. Capmark's assets will be offered at auction Nov. 20.
Who's the mystery buyer? Shmuel Vasser, of Philadelphia-based Dechert, has been in court representing PNC Financial Group's Midland Loan Services commercial loan-servicing unit in Kansas City, one of Capmark's two surviving competitors (the other is Wells Fargo & Co.) and asking questions about the pending auction.
IMS Health, the $2.3 billion (sales/year) Blue Bell- and Norwalk, Conn.-based pharmaceutical data firm that put itself on the block earlier this year, has been sold to giant buyout firm Texas Pacific Group (TPG) of Fort Worth, a source familiar with the deal tells me. IMS employs around 1,000 at its suburban Philadelphia "Americas headquarters", and over 5,000 worldwide. Expect an announcement later today.
UPDATE: It's now official. Announcement here.
Excerpts:" IMS Health (NYSE: RX), the world’s leading provider of market intelligence to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by investment funds managed by TPG Capital (“TPG”) and the CPP Investment Board (“CPPIB”) [big Canada pension fund] in a transaction with a total value of $5.2 billion, including the assumption of debt...
"IMS shareholders will receive $22.00 cash for each share of IMS common stock they own, representing a premium of approximately 50 percent over the closing share price on Friday, October 16, 2009, the last trading day prior to public speculation that IMS was considering its strategic alternatives.
"The transaction has fully committed financing, consisting of a combination of equity to be invested by TPG and CPPIB and debt financing to be provided by certain affiliates of Goldman, Sachs & Co....
“This transaction enables our shareholders to realize substantial value from their investment in IMS with an immediate cash premium...” said IMS Chairman and CEO David R. Carlucci. “We will continue our focus on expanding into new markets..."
"Completion of the transaction is subject to approval of IMS shareholders, regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur by the end of the first quarter of 2010. Goldman, Sachs & Co., BofA Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, Evercore Partners, and J.P. Morgan acted as financial advisors to TPG and CPPIB. Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal advisor to TPG and CPPIB. CPPIB was also separately advised by Torys LLP."
Shares of CVS Caremark fell 20 percent today after the Rhode Island-based national pharmacy manager said it had lost clients faster than it won new ones in the past year. Among its losses: $2 billion in yearly business from the State of New Jersey, and $500 million from Ohio.
Labor union activists from the Service Employees International Union, which organizes pharmacy and warehouse workers, and the Change to Win union coalition, which includes SEIU, have targeted some of CVS's biggest customers, telling officials in New Jersey andother states the company has been enriching itself at public expense by working closely with state consultants and drugmakers. The company denies the accusations.
Philadelphia, among other communities, opted to stay with CVS Caremark this year despite a union effort to turn City Council against the company.