Exclusive: Sysco, US Foods offer to divest 11 facilities to win FTC deal approval
REUTERS 3:59 PM ET 1/30/2015
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QUOTES AS OF 04:04:17 PM ET 01/30/2015
By Diane Bartz
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Food distributor Sysco Corp(SYY) and its biggest rival, US Foods Inc , have offered to sell a smaller competitor 11 facilities in order to convince skeptical antitrust regulators to approve their $3.5 billion merger, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The deal, proposed in December 2013, is seen as problematic because Sysco(SYY) and US Foods are the only companies with the geographic reach to offer nationwide contracts to deliver a wide range of goods to customers ranging from hotel chains to hospitals to fast food chains and fine restaurants.
To overcome Federal Trade Commission concerns, the companies have offered to sell 11 distribution centers with $5 billion in sales in hopes of building Performance Food Group into a national competitor, essentially replacing US Foods, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sysco (SYY) executives and FTC officials are scheduled to meet over the next two weeks to discuss whether the offer would be enough to win regulatory approval.
Performance Food Group is strong in the eastern United States, Texas and California but has few distribution centers in the rest of the West, according to its company website.
Most of the distribution centers to be sold are in the western United States and one is in California, according to two sources knowledgeable about the talks.
Sysco (SYY) is the biggest U.S. food distributor with annual revenue of about $44 billion. US Foods, which is owned by private equity companies including KKR & Co(KKR) , is No. 2.
Performance is owned by Blackstone Group(BX) .
The FTC can approve the deal outright, approve the transaction on condition of divestitures or file a lawsuit to stop it.
Sysco (SYY) said that it remained "committed to finalizing this transaction."
"Over the past year, we've met repeatedly with the FTC staff to help them understand the highly fragmented and competitive food service distribution business and the significant benefits of our proposed merger with US Foods," said spokesman Charley Wilson in an email.
The FTC declined comment.
Sysco (SYY) has said the combined company would be able to maintain fewer warehouses and run fuller trucks, thus driving down costs for customers.
A group of about 25 state attorneys general, including those in Florida and Indiana, are also reviewing the deal. Minnesota's attorney general wrote a letter to the FTC in December saying it was questionable whether any divestiture could restore competition lost in the transaction.
The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) had its price target raised by analysts at Argus ( ) from $40.00 to $43.00. They now have a "buy" rating on the stock. 18.0% upside from the previous close of $36.43. Tweet This.
Blackstone Group Seeks To Scoop Up "Mispriced" Energy Assets
DOW JONES & COMPANY, INC. 9:18 AM ET 1/30/2015
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BX 37.397up +0.537 (+1.46%)
QUOTES AS OF 12:12:25 PM ET 01/30/2015
Blackstone Group (BX), with its array of business units, is looking at a variety of ways to play the dislocation of the energy markets, according to President Hamilton James.
The hemorrhaging energy markets aren't "differentiating," with everything related to the industry getting hammered, Mr. James said on a conference call yesterday discussing the firm's fourth-quarter earnings results.
"Some companies deserve that, some don't," he said, adding that development has resulted in "mispriced assets."
The New York firm historically has invested in equity of energy companies from its main buyout fund and separate energy-focused vehicles. It is also reportedly raising an energy-oriented credit fund through its GSO Capital Partners unit.
Blackstone now has about $10 billion of equity and debt capital available for energy deals, and it is seeing opportunities up and down a company's capital structure, according to Mr. James.
For instance, it can buy distressed debt at deep discounts that ensures "equity-type returns" or purchase assets from over-levered sellers that need "emergency equity," he said. There is also an opportunity to fund new drilling prospects or buy oil and gas properties at attractive prices, said Mr. James.
Blackstone sold off most of its energy holdings before oil and gas prices began to fall, according to Mr. James. "We got into oil early and played the shale," he said, adding that the timing of the sales was partly a result of the natural maturing of the portfolio.
With oil trading at more than $100 a barrel, Blackstone believed the prices were above normal levels. "It was a perfect time to sell," said Mr. James, adding that Blackstone received an average of four times costs from those deals.
You have no idea what this business model is about and how earnings, profits are made...your opinion is obviously wrong.. notice the stock is making new highs with a weak stock market... why are you here???..follow your opinion and find another stock and hobby..
I never doubted this stock...people focus on the short term and daily moves too much...I have seen all your posts :).....enjoy the good news...
the firm's private-equity business and its soon-to-be-spun- out financial-advisory unit shone brighter, reporting economic-net-income gains of 95% and 72%, respectively, for the quarter.
Blackstone Group LP (BX), the world's largest private-equity firm, beat Wall Street's fourth-quarter earnings expectations, notching several full-year records for profitability and size that further distanced the New York firm from its closest competitors.
Blackstone said Thursday that it set all-time highs in 2014 in fundraising, cash invested, payouts out to investors in its funds, assets under management, the portion of profits available to share with stockholders as well as economic net income, an industry metric that includes unrealized gains as well as cash earnings.
Said Blackstone President Hamilton "Tony" James, "2014 was a record in just about everything for us."
Despite the superlatives scattered throughout Blackstone's results, the firm reported some fourth-quarter declines as it came up against a selloff in credit markets, lower values of energy holdings and a lucrative year-earlier period in its real-estate segment that Blackstone didn't match.
Blackstone said fourth-quarter profit of $551 million, or 90 cents a share, was 11% lower than a year earlier. Economic net income was $1.45 billion, or $1.25 a share, down from $1.54 billion a year earlier but above the 92 cents forecast by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
Although Blackstone's diversification into credit, hedge funds and real estate has at times helped protect its results against lulls at its older takeover-driven segments, the firm's private-equity business and its soon-to-be-spun- out financial-advisory unit shone brighter, reporting economic-net-income gains of 95% and 72%, respectively, for the quarter. Meanwhile, economic net income fell at the credit and real-estate segments, by 57% and 38%, respectively.
A flood of deal profits and fees charged on the $290 billion mountain of money Blackstone manages enabled it to pay its richest dividend to date, both for a quarter and full year. The $2.12 per-share payout for 2014 translates to a haul in the neighborhood of $500 million for Stephen Schwarzman, Blackstone's co-founder and chief executive, who owns roughly 22% of the firm's shares.
Shareholders weren't the only ones to reap the benefits, however; Blackstone said it paid out $45 billion to investors in its funds in 2014.
The record dividend--the firm met its previous high mark after three quarters--helped propel Blackstone shares 8.2% last year against declines that ranged from 5.9% to 27% for its publicly traded competitors, such as KKR & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC(APO).
Blackstone shares have continued to tick higher this year, closing up 0.33%, or 12 cents, at $36.86 on Thursday, the latest in a series of all-time-high closes reached this week after years of trading well below the firm's 2007 initial-public-offering price of $31.
Increasingly larger dividends and the stock's recent rise have helped push Blackstone's total shareholder returns to 60% since the firm's first trading day in 2007 through Thursday. The S&P 500's total return is 58.6% over the same period.
Fee revenue rose 10% to $716 million in the quarter and 13% for the year to $2.7 billion.
Blackstone's share of fourth-quarter deal proceeds, or performance fees, was $1.32 billion, down from $1.69 billion a year earlier. For the year, Blackstone's slice of deal gains totaled $4.4 billion, up 23% from 2013.
During the period the firm sold United Biscuits Ltd. to Turkey'sYildiz Holding for about $3.5 billion and pared its holdings in Pinnacle Foods Inc., hotelier Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., theme-park operator Merlin Entertainments PLC, television ratings firm Nielsen NV and oil explorer Kosmos Energy Ltd. by selling blocks of shares.
After those sales, Blackstone holds $14.1 billion of stock in its private-equity funds, which portends a steady stream of deal profits to come. The firm invested $26 billion in 2014, putting a record amount of cash to work despite the relative scarcity of the multibillion-dollar public-to-private buyouts on which Blackstone and its rivals made their names orchestrating.
"Looking forward, we see continued momentum across all of our businesses as the environment for both investing opportunistically and harvesting more seasoned assets remains attractive," Mr. Schwarzman said.
Blackstone reported assets under management of $290 billion, up from $266 billion a year earlier as each of the firm's four segments that manage money bulked up.
Blackstone's closest competitor by assets, Carlyle Group LP(CG), said it managed about $203 billion as of Sept. 30. The Washington, D.C., firm is scheduled to report fourth-quarter results on Feb. 11. None of Blackstone's other competitors manage more than $200 billion, as of the end of September.
another negative lean.95 cents EPS????The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) announced its quarterly results before the market opened on Thursday, January 29th. The company reported $0.92 earnings per share (EPS) for the previous quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters consensus estimate of $0.74 EPS by $0.18. The company had revenue of $2.14 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $1.47 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.35 earnings per share. The company's quarterly revenue was down 20.6% on a year-over-year basis. (View Earnings Release) Tweet This.
The Blackstone Group L.P. saw some unusual options trading on Wednesday. Stock traders purchased 10,538 call options on the company. This is an increase of 172% compared to the average daily volume of 3,874 call options.
not surprising.. sellthe news and tghe negative comments on the earnings will get the weak holdings out.. didnt want to see a gap opening anyway.. better chart pattern with no gaps...The CC will set the tone.. it will be positive!!!
Jan 29 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP(BX), the world's largest alternative asset manager, reported a 6 percent decline in fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as its real estate funds appreciated less than they did a year ago.
The profit decline was smaller than most analysts expected, as performance fees in the New York-based company's private equity division soared. Blackstone shares rose 1.6 percent to $37.34 in premarket trading.
Economic net income (ENI), a metric of profitability that takes into account the mark-to-market valuation of its portfolio, fell to $1.45 billion in the quarter from $1.54 billion a year ago.
ENI per share came to $1.25 per share, higher than the average analyst estimate of 92 cents, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Realized performance fees in its real estate division almost tripled and its private real estate fund portfolio increased in value by 6.8 percent in the quarter, less than the 13.1 percent appreciation seen last year.
Blackstone's private equity fund portfolio appreciated 4.2 percent in the quarter, also less than last year. Profit in the division soared, however, due to Blackstone Capital Partners V, a $21.7 billion buyout fund now paying lucrative performance fees not received a year ago.
Distributable earnings, or actual cash available to pay dividends, rose 38 percent in the quarter to $1.13 billion as Blackstone continued to generate cash by selling some assets.
Assets under management totaled $290.4 billion at the end of December, up 9 percent year on year. Fee-earning assets under management also rose 9 percent to $216.7 billion.
Blackstone declared a quarterly distribution of 78 cents per common unit. (Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by
the sell the new crowd is always around.. and the display of the headlines like this will cause some selling... amazing how the news is presented...Blackstone's quarterly earnings drop on real estate
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Jan 29 (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP, the world's largest alternative asset manager, reported a 6 percent decline in 2014 fourth-quarter profit on Thursday as its real estate funds appreciated less than they did a year ago.
Blackstone said economic net income (ENI), a metric of its profitability takes into account the mark-to-market valuation of its portfolio, was $1.45 billion in the quarter, down from $1.54 billion a year ago.
Forn 13F and is for the holding period ending 9/30/2014....It shows 51 holdings valued at the time of 34.16 Billion.. I have the complete list but cant copy it here...