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Cerberus ends takeover bid for BlueLinx

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management dropped its tender offer for BlueLinx Holdings today after the private investment firm was unable to gather enough shares to make the deal work.

Cerberus ABP Investors (CAI), the affiliate, was already a majority shareholder in BlueLinx when it launched its takeover bid last July. At the time, Cerberus owned 55.4% of the outstanding common stock of BlueLinx; it offered $3.40, later upped to $4 per share for any outstanding stock, a deal valued at $58 million.

The tender offer was conditioned upon several things, including ownership of at least 90% of the outstanding BlueLinx common stock by the final deadline, which was Oct. 18. Cerberus chose not to raise its offer or extend the timeline for the bid.

Approximately 6.7 million shares have been tendered since the initial offer, according to Cerberus, but this was not enough to meet the 90% threshold. “CAI and Cerberus have instructed the depositary for the amended offer to promptly return all shares tendered,” the company said in a prepared statement.

Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx is a leading distributor of building products throughout North America, offering more than 10,000 products from over 750 suppliers.

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Briggs & Stratton signs new labor contract

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton has signed a new three-year contract with members of the United Steelworkers Local 2-232 who work at the company’s Wauwatosa, Wis., manufacturing facility, according to the Journal-Sentinel.

Members of the union voted 211-77 to accept the deal, which included a signing bonus and a 2% annual raise over the next three years, but also increased the amount employees pay into their health benefits and allowed the company to hire temporary workers at the facility as it sees fit.

While company officials see the deal as a “win-win,” union leadership said employees lost ground financially, according to the article.

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Deere renames credit unit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Moline, Ill.-based Deere & Co. renamed its credit and financial services division to John Deere Financial, in a move to represent the full breath of services the business unit offers, the company said.

“John Deere Financial remains committed to providing products and services that help customers, dealers and others succeed around the world,” said Jim Israel, president of Deere & Co.’s Worldwide Financial Services Division.

“When we made the decision to expand our presence in the crop insurance industry, we realized that our name needed to change to encompass our expanding range of financial products and services,” Israel said. “The new name more accurately reflects our strong commitment to meet the diverse business needs of our customers, dealers and other distributors around the world.”

The company said John Deere Financial would continue to serve its equipment customers worldwide by offering retail, wholesale and lease financing on John Deere equipment. The company also will continue to provide revolving credit and crop insurance for customers, while assessing other products that could help customers whose work is linked to the land, the company said.

The name change will take place over the next few months at the company’s various locations. The division’s headquarters in Johnston, Iowa, will be the first to change.

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