FINANCE

Borders receives $25 million infusion from financier

BY CSA STAFF

Ann Arbor, Mich. Borders Group said on Friday that a company controlled by financier Bennett LeBow has taken a $25 million equity stake in the chain.

LeBow, who will join Borders’ board, bought 11.1 million shares for $2.25 each, the chain said. That makes him the largest shareholder in the chain, with a larger stake in Borders than investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management, which owns 10.6 million shares. Before this transaction, Pershing, which owns 17.7% of the company, was the largest shareholder.

LeBow is the chairman of tobacco holding company Vector Group Ltd. Vector chief executive Howard Lorber is also joining Borders’ board.

“Ben’s investment will improve the company’s capital position, and provide greater stability as we execute strategies to transform the brand,” said Borders Group interim president and CEO Mike Edwards. 

Borders said it would use LeBow’s investment to improve its capital position and bolster its push into the fast-growing electronic books market.

The investment comes a few weeks after Borders repaid a $42.5 million loan to Pershing Square and secured access to more credit.

Last week, Ackman told Reuters that Borders was still not “out of the woods” and questioned whether there was room for two national specialty bookstore chains in the United States. Borders said that Pershing Square had indicated support for the investment from LeBow.

To make room for LeBow, Richard McGuire, a former partner at Pershing, is resigning from the board.

Borders said it needed the approval of its shareholders to issue LeBow warrants to acquire an additional 35.1 million shares at $2.25 apiece.

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Limited Brands sees EPS increase

BY CSA STAFF

COLUMBUS, Ohio Limited Brands reported that adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter ended May 1, were 25 cents compared with earnings per share of 1 cent for the quarter ended May 2, 2009. First quarter operating income was $185 million compared with operating income of $65.2 million last year, and adjusted net income was $82.9 million compared with net income of $2.6 million last year.

Comparable-store sales for the first quarter increased 10%, and net sales were $1.93 billion compared to $1.72 billion last year. 

 

The company stated that it expects 2010 second-quarter adjusted earnings per share to be 27 cents to 32 cents compared with adjusted earnings per share of 19 cents per share last year. 

For 2010, the company expects adjusted earnings per share of $1.60 to $1.80.

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Children’s Place Q1 sales, earnings up

BY CSA STAFF

SECAUCUS, N.J. The Children’s Place Retail Stores announced first-quarter net income from continuing operations of $28 million, or $1.00 per diluted share for the 13-week period ended May 1, compared with $23.7 million, or 80 cents per share in the first quarter of 2009.

Net sales increased 5% to $422.1 million in the first quarter of 2010, compared with $401.9 in the first quarter of 2009. Comparable-retail sales, which include online sales, declined 0.5% in the first quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with a 1% increase the previous year. During the first quarter of 2010, comparable-store sales declined 1.7% in the United States and 4.6% in Canada, while online sales increased 22%.

“We delivered record financial results and made significant progress on key initiatives in the first quarter of 2010,” commented Jane Elfers, president and CEO of The Children’s Place. “We strengthened the senior leadership team with the appointment of five talented and experienced executives to head our merchandising, planning, outlet, information technology and human resources operations. In addition, we accelerated our new store openings, sharpened our marketing programs and continued to drive double-digit online growth.”

The company updated its guidance for fiscal 2010 and now projects earnings per diluted share from continuing operations will be in the range of $3.05 to $3.15, reflecting its first quarter results, from its initial guidance of $2.90 to $3.10. The company provided initial guidance for the second quarter of 2010, which is forecast to be a loss per share from continuing operations of 38 cents to 33 cents.

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