Archive: April, 2008
Werther Partners LLC, New York, a food-oriented private equity firm, has bought Philadelphia-based sugar-free candy marketer Sorbee International Ltd. from the Stone family for an undisclosed price.
The Stones own Medical Products Laboratories Inc. a Northeast Philadelphia mouthwash maker. Sorbee's key assets include a license to distribute Crystal Light and Country Time drink powders from Kraft Foods.
Werther founder Dan Werther, who will run Sorbee, is a graduate of Swarthmore and of Temple's law school. In 1994 he joined that other dealmaking Philadelphian-turned-New Yorker, Ron Perelman, at his holding company, MacAndrews & Forbes, where he was a senior officer at Toy Biz Inc. and Mafco Worldwide. He also helped set up the U.S. private-equity business at Bala Cynwyd-based Susquehanna International Group.
Tyco International Ltd. and its spin-offs, Tyco Electronics of Berwyn and Covidien (health care), have agreed to pay New Jersey $73 million to cover part of the state pension fund's losses from Tyco's $90 billion share-price collapse in 2002.
That clears the way, says NJ Attorney General Anne Milgram, for New Jersey to turn around and give Tyco around $11 million for moving its headquarters from New Hampshire to Mercer County.
Then-Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski and CFO Mark Swartz resigned in 2002 to face fraud charges that year. In 2005 they were convicted of stealing over $100 million from the company and sentenced to prison.
Read the story in tomorrow's Inquirer. See the press release here: http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases08/pr20080430d.html
After listening to its consultants, the Pennsylvania State Employees' Retirement System board in Harrisburg today agreed today to stay the course with its investment program, which is heavy on private equity, hedge fund, commodity, derivative and foreign investments.
The board voted to put up to $105 million in three investment funds -- $15 million more in Lightspeed Venture Partners VIII, L.P., of Menlo Park, Calif.; $40 million in distressed-debt investor Sankaty Credit Opportunities IV, L.P., Boston; and $50 million in private equity manager TPG Partners VI, L.P., Fort Worth; plus up to $25 million in a first-time investment with Senior Housing Partner IV, LP, managed by Prudential Real Estate Investors.
U.S. companies are spending less to buy back their own shares, Boenning & Scattergood research head James Still says.
Instead of the buybacks companies used to prop up share prices during the late stock market boom, companies are hoarding cash as a hedge against recession, and to fund bargain takeovers of recession-stricken competitors. See the report here.
TimeWarner shares rose on claims institutional shareholders want the company to spin off its cable TV franchise, the nation's second-largest. Bloomberg story here.
Comcast, the No. 1 cable company, is a likely buyer, if it can get past FCC Chairman Kenneth Martin and his allies, who don't want Comcast getting too much bigger. Comcast-TimeWarner would be the largest buyer of TV programming, with even bigger pricing clout vs. ESPN and other networks.
Shares of Chicago mall owner Simon Property Group dropped 2 percent this morning after reporting lower profits and higher expenses at the dozen Mills malls, which it bought last year. Earnings statement here.
Simon says Northeast Philadelphia's Franklin Mills has the third-lowest occupancy of the 12 Mills malls, at around 87 percent.
Separately, Simon says it's finished a 120,000-square-foot expansion at its Philadelphia Premium Outlets in Limerick.
The Becattini family's TowerStar Corp. has sold its Bagel Factory restaurants in Berwyn, Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Springfield and Center City to Sun Capital Partners Inc.'s Vermont-based bagel chain, Bruegger's, for an undisclosed price.
Fernando Becattini Jr. said his father, a University of Alabama research scientist turned medical equipment dealer, invested with a partner in the first restaurant, in Berwyn, 19 years ago, but the deal quickly went sour and he became a proprietor to protect his investment.
The Bryn Mawr store became a Villanova student hangout; the Berwyn store is a landmark in a town known more for its wealthy population than its modest retail district.
Sun Capital also owns Boston Market Inc. and Friendly's Ice Cream. Beccattini said the local stores will keep their name. TowerStar will concentrate on its hotel properties, including local Marriott Courtyards and Residence Inns.
UPDATED: Honeywell International has agreed to pay $720 million to Francisco Partners and Elliott Associates for Metrologic Instruments Inc., a Blackwood, N.J. company that sells data devices and software.
Francisco bought Metrologic for $385 million in late 2006, Metrologic spokesman Mike Coluzzi said today. Elliott was a shareholder before that deal, and retained its interest under Francisco.
The company employs 300 in the Philadelphia area, where "it remains business as usual," as buyer and seller prepare to sign their deal, Coluzzi added.
Honeywell statement here.