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Activist investor owns bigger stake in Sears

BY HBSDEALER Staff

William Ackman, owner of hedge fund Pershing Square Capital, announced last week that he now owns a 5 million share stake in Sears Holdings, approximately 3.5 percent of the company’s outstanding shares.

Pershing Square, along with Hawkeye Capital Management and Knott Partners Management, opposed a controversial $908 million buyout of Sears Canada by Sears Holdings last year. At that time, the group said Sears Holdings’ $18-per-share offer for the Canadian division’s outstanding stock was too low.

Although the buyout offer was driven at that time by Sears chairman Edward Lampert, Ackman said he was “thrilled” with Lampert’s leadership and is “looking forward to working with him.” Lampert, who runs the hedge fund ESL Investments, has a 46 percent stake and full control of Sears Holdings.

In its second quarter, Sears Holdings saw revenue drop 4.6 percent to $12.2 billion from $12.8 billion in the same period last year. Net income fell to $174 million from $294 million, a 40 percent drop from the same period last year.

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NLBMDA kicks off annual conference

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas The National Lumber and Building Materials Association (NLBMDA) kicked off its Industry Summit yesterday by deciding to turn its day-to-day operations over to a trade association management company. In a unanimous decision, the NLBMDA board voted on Oct. 4 to sign a contract with SmithBucklin, which will handle staffing, accounting, educational programs, government relations, and other functions.

The NLBMDA will close its office in Washington D.C. and move into SmithBucklin’s office, also inside the Beltway, during a 60-day transition period. By contracting with an outside firm, the trade association will save approximately $170,760 a year, according to an analysis by SmithBucklin.

Other issues discussed during the board meeting were state and federal legislation that deal with frivolous lawsuits, illegal logging, OSHA regulations and organized scams against retailers.

The three-day conference, held at the J.W. Marriott, continues today with sessions on strategic visioning and market differentiation. Other events include a silent auction, a golf tournament and networking receptions.

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Weyerhaeuser named to sustainability index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser has been named to the Dow Sustainability Index, a service that tracks the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.

According to a joint press release from Dow Jones and Weyerhaeuser, the company is the only North American forest products company now in the industry category of the index.

The sustainability index conducts an annual assessment of corporations and their impact on economic, environmental and social issues. The goal is to show how sustainability “is being defined in the global marketplace,” while helping asset managers track sustainability-driven investment portfolios, according to the companies.

“Sustainability is a core value at Weyerhaeuser,” said Steven Rogel, chairman, president and CEO. “In all we do, from renewing our forests, to reducing the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations, to building homes, to recovering paper for recycling, Weyerhaeuser strives to act sustainably.”

Selection to sustainability index was based on a third party assessment of Weyerhaeuser – the company took part in Dow Jones’ review process by submitting an application and providing other company information.

The Federal Way, Wash.-based company plans to release its most recent earnings statement on Oct. 31.

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