Wednesday, July 29, 2015

POSTED: Monday, July 13, 2015, 4:17 PM

Holman Automotive Group Inc., Maple Shade, says it has acquired Princeton BMW and Princeton Mini. The sale price was not immediately disclosed. Holman already owned the BMW and Mini dealerships in Mount Laurel and BMW and Mini dealersips in Florida, chairman Melinda "Mindy" Holman said in a statement. Greg Zulli will remain as general manager of the Princeton dealerships.

On June 8, Holman said it had acquired Audi WIllow Grove from prior owner Don Rosen. That was the first acquisition since Mindy Holman was named chairman of the group started by her grandfather, Stewart Holman, in March, at the same time as 29-year Holman employee Carl A. Ortell was named CEO. Former chairman Joseph Holman is now chairman emeritus.

POSTED: Monday, July 13, 2015, 4:07 PM

Affiliated Managers Group Inc., a Boston company that owns a dozen money managers, said today it has agreed to buy a controlling stake in MyCIO Wealth Partners, a nine-year-old, 30-person, Philadelphia-based, fixed-fee financial-advisory firm that manages $3 billion for clients, and services another $4 billion in non-discretionary assets. AMG won't say how big a premium it paid for the business, which is based at Cira Center next to 30th St. Amtrak/Septa station. 

MyCIO was founded in 2005 by three ex-Big Four accounting firm executives who specialized in investments: David Lees and James Biles from Ernst & Young, and Paul Bracaglia, formerly with what is now PricewaterhouseCoopers. The deal gives AMG an "opportunity to elevate our key next generation advisors to partners in the firm," Lees said in the statement.

AMG will likely use MyCIO to boost its existing affiliated-advisers business, and to buy more registered investment adviser practices, analyst Michael Kim told clients of Sandler O'Neill + Partners in a report this afternoon. 

POSTED: Monday, July 13, 2015, 2:24 PM

Pennsylvania state government has cut 36% of its spending per pupil for higher-education (college) funding since the 2008 recession -- more than any other state except Arizona, Louisiana and Alabama, writes Tom Kozlik, municipal-bond strategist at PNC Capital Markets LLC in Philadelphia. On average, states cut higher-ed per-pupil spending by almost 20%. New Jersey cut 22%, Delaware cut almost 7%. 

But squeezing college students wasn't enough to save Pennsylvania from poor fiscal performance: the state issues the third-most-expensive debt (and suffers third-worst Moody's rating) among U.S. states. Only Illinois and New Jersey have lower Moody's ratings and debt that they have to pay investors more to buy. (Delaware, with its Aaa credit rating despite its high debt load, shares with Georgia, North Carolina, Utah and Virginia the distinction of paying the nation's lowest bond rates.) 

By contrast: Pennsyvlania was one of just 16 states that boosted K-12 funding per student, up 1% since 2008, or less than the rate of inflation. (Oil-rich North Dakota was the only state to boost K-12 spending more than 10%. By contrast, Texas cut both K-12 and college spending, per pupil.)

POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2015, 11:20 AM

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, the largest investment bank and brokerage based in Philadelphia, has named Joe Culley as Head of Equities and Investment Banking. His direct reports are investment banking head Cliff Booth, equity capital markets head Will Corkhill, head trader and sales-trading chief Nick Lampone, and head of research and equity sales Andrew Maddaloni.

The reorganization follows the departure of Jordie Maine, who had been Executive Vice President for Capital Markets, and other senior Janney Capital Markets managers over the past eight months, as the firm consolidated banking efforts toward mid-size health-care, media-tech, regional utilities, energy, consumer, and finance firms. No one has been given Maine's old executive-level titles. Janney's larger business, stock brokerage, has expanded during the recent U.S. stock market rise. The company is owned by Penn Mutual Life Insurance Co., and employs around 1,800, including 500 in Center City.

Like some other regional investment banks, Janney has struggled to expand its dealmaking, trading and institutional sales business amid stiff competion to sell initial public offerings (IPOs) and other securities issues since the 2008 financial crisis. 

POSTED: Friday, July 10, 2015, 9:35 AM
(file, Getty)

UPDATE 7/15: Latest rumor is eBay Enterprise (including the former GSI Commerce) is the subject of sale talks valuing the unit at around $925 million, for a group of private-equity firms led by Pemira. Sale has been authorized but not finalized; eBay marked down $300 million in quarterly eBay Enterprise sales as "discontinued earnings" in yesterday's three-month report.

EARLIER: "Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners LP is in advanced talks to acquire the enterprise business of eBay Inc for close to $1 billion," a big drop from the $2.4 billion eBay paid for it four years ago,  Reuters reports here, citing unnamed sources. A deal isn't certain. Other buyout firms have offered less. Lee and eBay wouldn't comment to Reuters.

EBay's enterprise group is built around the former GSI Commerce in King of Prussia, which helped retailers like Dick's Sporting Goods sell online without having to split their profits with industry giant Amazon.com. GSI employed around 5,000, mostly at warehouses, when eBay bought it from public shareholders and founder Michael Rubin in 2011, but it has struggled lately as retailers -- including, most recently, Toys R Us -- have found it increasingly efficient to run their own online operations.

POSTED: Thursday, July 9, 2015, 4:54 PM

UPDATE: DuPont added this to its OSHA response last night: The company says it's "engaged in a continues process to improve," and is tehrefore "disappointed with OSHA's classification, and we will be working with the agency to understand its decision."

EARLIER: The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has placed DuPont in its Severe Violator Enforcement program after reviewing accidents at DuPont plants in Texas, New Jersey and Louisiana in late 2014. Four workers died in the Texas accident.

OSHA says DuPont earned its "Severe Violator" tag because it "demonstrated indifference towards creating a safe and healthy workplace by committing willful or repeated violations, and/or failing to abate known hazards." The company will submit to extra inspections under the program "to ensure compliance with the law."

POSTED: Thursday, July 9, 2015, 2:16 PM
A screen grab from the newspaper web site of El Sol de Puebla in Mexico. (oem.com.mx/elsoldepuebla)

Revised: This article from the Sol de Puebla newspaper shows Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter on his recent visit to his peer, the Mayor of Puebla, Jose' Antonio Gali-Fayad -- Tony Gali to his friends -- one of the cities whose residents have streamed north to work in Philadelphia.

The article recounts a Joint Declaration of cultural and economic-development cooperation. Puebla's Mayor Gali also praises efforts to give migrants drivers' license in the U.S.  

Nutter got a fine testimonial from Carlos Giralt-Cabrales, Consul-General in Philadelphia for Mexico (one of four nations which still have fulltime diplomatic missions in Philadelphia). The diplomat "said Nutter had shown he's a 'great friend' of the Mexican community, adding that immigration is an opportunity, not a problem."  

POSTED: Thursday, July 9, 2015, 12:21 PM
Albertsons, the 2,200-store, 265,000-worker grocery group that operates Acme and Safeway supermarket area and Vons, Jewel-Osco, Sav-On, Shaw's and other markets and pharmacies in the West, Midwest and South, plans to sell new shares in an initial public stock market offering (IPO).

Albertsons, the 2,200-store, 265,000-worker grocery group that operates Acme and Safeway supermarkets in our part of the country and Vons, Sav-On and other markets and pharmacies in the West, Midwest and South, plans to sell new shares in an initial public stock market offering (IPO). With $57 billion in sales, including its recent Safeway combination, the group accounts for nearly 10 percent of U.S. retail food and drug sales, and ranks behind Walmart and Kroger among the largest U.S. grocery chains.

Current owners of the group, cobbled together in a series of acquisitions, are big buyout and real estate investor funds: Cerebrus Capital Management (40%), Philadelphia-based Lubert-Adler Partners and Klaff Realty (a combined 30%) and Kimco-plus-Schottenstein Real Estate Group (also 30%). Those investors are not selling shares as part of the IPO; their ownership will be diluted by the public investors.  Lubert-Adler officials declined to comment, citing the SEC-mandated "quiet period" around share sales.

Albertsons' combined Acme, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s and Star Market brands now operate 446 stores, 302 store pharmacies and 5 gas stations in the Northeast and Midwest. Albertsons says it boosted combined sales of those 100+-year-old brands by around 9% last year, compared to a 5% loss in the four quarters before it acquired them from SuperValu Inc., in 2013. Overall, Albertsons reported a loss for last year, which the company blamed on acquisition costs.

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts drafts, transcripts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area business, which he's been writing since 1989.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn and taught writing at St. Joseph's. He has written thousands of columns and articles for the Inquirer, Bloomberg and other media, wrote the book Comcasted, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com, distefano251@gmail.com, 215.854.5194 or 302.652.2004.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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