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Canada approves Tim Hortons-Burger King merger

BY Dan Berthiaume

Oakville, Canada — The proposed merger between Tim Hortons Inc. and Burger King Worldwide Inc. has been approved by the Minister of Industry under the Investment Canada Act ("ICA"). The companies have set the deadline for registered shareholders of Tim Hortons or Burger King Worldwide to make an election by Dec. 9, with the assumption the proposed merger will occur Dec. 12.

Tim Hortons and Burger King Worldwide also confirmed the transaction has previously received regulatory clearance under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (USA), the Competition Act (Canada) and the Canada Transportation Act. The transaction remains subject to other customary closing conditions, including, among other things, approval of the Tim Hortons shareholders and the approval and issuance of a final order of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

The board of directors of Tim Hortons has unanimously recommended that Tim Hortons shareholders vote for the merger at a Tim Hortons special meeting to be held Dec. 9.

With approximately $23 billion in system sales, more than 18,000 restaurants in 100 countries and two strong, independent brands, following the merger each brand will continue to be managed independently and maintain its respective headquarters, while obtaining global scale and sharing of best practices that will come with common ownership by the new company

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Ulta Beauty has ultimate Q3; on track to open 100 stores in ’14

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boilignbrook, Ill. — Ulta Beauty reported fiscal results for the third quarter of fiscal 2014 that looked pretty darned good. Net income rose 30% to $59.1 million compared to $45.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, with lower expenses helping drive up profit.

The company said it will have opened 100 new stores in all of fiscal 2014 and remodeled another 12.

Net sales increased 20% to $745.7 million from $618.8 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2013, while same-store sales rose 9.5%. E-commerce same-store sales grew 46.7%. Ulta Beauty expects higher net and same-store sales for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year.

“We are pleased to announce excellent sales and earnings growth in the third quarter,” said Mary Dillon, CEO. “Strong same store sales were driven by a healthy balance of transaction and ticket growth. Continued strength in prestige and mass color cosmetics, the successful introduction of new products and brands, double digit comps in our salon business, a more effective and well executed marketing strategy, and rapid growth in e-commerce all contributed to our performance.”

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Dollar General and Dollar Tree trade barbs over Family Dollar

BY Marianne Wilson

Goodlettsville, Tenn. — Dollar General Corp. and Dollar Tree engaged in a verbal war on Friday as they both seek to acquire Family Dollar.

In a news release, Dollar Tree said Dollar General's bid "may ultimately fail" because the Federal Trade Commission may require it to sell more than the 1,500 stores the retailer has said it is willing to let go of.

"Even if Dollar General is able to negotiate an acceptable divestiture number with the FTC, Dollar General may be unable to find and reach an agreement with an independent divestiture buyer or buyers who are acceptable to the FTC and willing to contractually commit to acquire so many stores on terms acceptable to Dollar General, the buyer or buyers, and the FTC," Dollar Tree said.

In return, Dollar General fired back its own salvo, bringing Walmart into the fray saying the giant discounter, not Family Dollar, is the primary driver regarding Dollar General’s strategic pricing decisions, and that Dollar General is not in direct completion with Dollar Tree in its pricing strategy.

"Dollar General is confident that its approach to strategic and pricing decisions is both correct and superior to that of Family Dollar and Dollar General has no intention of adopting a flawed strategy — either now or after an acquisition ofFamily Dollar — that it believes would impair its ability to compete with Walmart and lead to inferior financial performance," the company stated.

Moreover, Dollar General said it is in active discussions with the FTC regarding the possible need to divest stores in event of a merger and is making good progress.

Dollar General has submitted a $9.1 billion bid for, larger than the $8.5 billion bid offered by Family Dollar. However, both Family Dollar and Dollar Tree have said the Family Dollar bid is superior because Dollar General has competitive issues and would have a hard time receiving FTC approval of a merger.

In an earnings call Thursday, Dollar General CEO Rick Dreiling said, "We remain as committed as ever to this acquisition."

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