FINANCE

Simon makes new, $2.5 billion offer for General Growth

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Simon Property Group sweetened its offer to buy out its struggling competitor General Growth Properties on Wednesday, pledging to invest $2.5 billion in a reorganization and match the terms of a bankruptcy exit plan led by Brookfield Asset Management.

The proposal, which comes two months after Simon’s hostile bid valued at $10 billion was rejected, includes a $1 billion co-investment commitment by Paulson & Co. Simon said the plan is more favorable to General Growth shareholders than Brookfield’s offer because it doesn’t include the issuance of warrants. It said its offer amounts to $10 a share.

General Growth would emerge from bankruptcy as an independent company under both plans.

Simon offered $10 billion in February to take over Chicago-based General Growth, which dismissed the bid as too low. Instead, General Growth said it would reorganize under a $6.55 billion plan by Brookfield, Pershing Square Capital Management LP and Fairholme Capital Management LLC.

Under its new plan, Simon would buy 250 million shares at $10 each, which it said is the same amount Brookfield would acquire under its plan and the same price. It would also agree to the same terms as Brookfield’s plan for the recapitalization of the company and planned spinoff of a new entity. The removal of warrants would provide shareholders a benefit of at least $895 million, or $2.75 a share, Simon said.

There was no immediate comment from General Growth.

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Talbots improves quarterly earnings

BY CSA STAFF

HINGHAM, Mass. Talbots reported that adjusted fourth quarter income from continuing operations increased to $7.4 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, compared with last year’s adjusted loss from continuing operations of $123.4 million, or $2.30 per share.

On a reported (GAAP) basis, fourth quarter loss from continuing operations was $1.5 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with last year’s loss from continuing operations of $131.3 million, or $2.45 per share.

 

“We delivered a strong fourth quarter, capping off a successful year of tremendous change and innovation. Our strategic transformation – re-energizing our brand, modernizing our merchandise, streamlining our organization and improving our business processes – firmly positions us for future growth and profitability,” said Trudy Sullivan, Talbots president and CEO.

 

Total sales from continuing operations decreased 3.7% to $315.9 million, compared with $327.9 million last year. Comparable-store sales declined 7.2% in the quarter.

 

Adjusted full year loss from continuing operations was $5.5 million, or 10 cents per share, compared to last year’s adjusted loss from continuing operations of $118.9 million, or $2.25 per share, the company reported.

 

On a reported (GAAP) basis, fiscal year 2009 loss from continuing operations was $25.3 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with last year’s loss from continuing operations of $139.5 million, or $2.63 per share.

 

Total net sales from continuing operations were $1.2 billion for the fifty-two week period, compared with $1.5 billion last year. Comparable-store sales declined 19.3% for the fifty-two week period.

 

For the full year 2010, the company anticipates a top-line sales increase in the range of approximately 3% to 5% compared with the prior year period. Adjusted operating income, excluding restructuring, impairment and merger costs, is anticipated to be in the range of approximately 5% to 6% of sales.

For the first quarter 2010, the company anticipates a top line sales increase in the range of 4% to 5% compared with the prior-year period. Adjusted operating income, excluding restructuring, impairment and merger costs, is anticipated to be in the range of approximately 4.5% to 6% of sales.

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Stater Bros. CEO honored by Congressional Medal of Honor Society

BY CSA STAFF

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. Stater Bros. Markets announced that its chairman and CEO, Jack Brown, has been honored by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for his years of contributions to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and for his dedication to promoting and perpetuating the principles upon which our nation was founded: “Courage, Sacrifice and Selfless Service.”

The award was presented on March 1, 2010, by five Medal of Honor Recipients:  John F. Baker Jr., Harvey C. Barnum Jr., Ronald E. Ray, James A. Taylor, and Jay R. Vargas, who have all known Brown personally for many years.

 

Brown stated, “I have been honored in my career by receiving several special awards but none were presented by five Medal of Honor Recipients and from an organization that I so respect and admire…the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  Those who wear the … ‘Medal of Honor’ …are truly America’s finest.”

Brown is a Navy Veteran, having served with the Pacific Fleet during the Vietnam era.  He has been at the helm of Stater Bros. Markets for the past 29 years.

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