Dell to go private in $24.4 billion deal

NEW YORK, Tue Feb 5, 2013 — Computer maker Dell Inc. will go private in a $24.4 billion deal that also involves Microsoft Corp. and private equity firm Silver Lake, the parties said on Tuesday.

Company founder Michael Dell and Silver Lake are paying $13.65 per share in cash for the world’s No. 3 computer maker.

The deal is being financed by cash and equity from Michael Dell, cash from Silver Lake, cash from Michael Dell’s investment firm MSD Capital, a $2 billion loan from Microsoft and debt financing from four banks.

The transaction is expected to close before the end of the second quarter of Dell’s fiscal 2014.

News of the buyout talks first emerged on Jan. 14, although they were reported to have started in the latter part of 2012. Michael Dell had previously acknowledged thinking about going private as far back as 2010.

The $13.65-per-share price is a premium of about 24 percent to the average of $11 price at which Dell stock traded before news of the deal talks broke and is far below the $17.61 that the shares were trading for a year ago.

Dell has steadily ceded market share in PCs to nimbler rivals such as Lenovo Group and is struggling to re-ignite growth. That is in spite of Michael Dell’s efforts in the five years since he retook the helm of the company he founded in 1984, following a brief hiatus during which its fortunes waned.

Private sector adds 192,000 jobs in January: ADP

NEW YORK, Wed Jan 30, 2013 — Private employers added 192,000 jobs in January, more than economists were expecting, in a sign of growth in the labor market, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 165,000 jobs. December’s private payrolls were revised down to an increase of 185,000 from the previously reported 215,000.

The report is jointly developed with Moody’s Analytics.

PF Chang’s to go private in $1.1 billion deal with private equity firm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Tue May 1, 2012 – P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc (PFCB.O), which has been fighting to recover from ill-timed price increases, said it would go private in a $1.1 billion deal with Centerbridge Partners, sending its shares up 30 percent.

Centerbridge, a private equity firm that owns restaurant holding company CraftWorks Restaurants & Breweries, will pay $51.50 per share for P.F. Chang’s, a premium of about 30 percent to the stock’s closing price on Monday.

The shares jumped $11.83 to $51.52 on the Nasdaq Tuesday morning. The stock, which had fallen about 20 percent over the year to Monday, last traded above $50 in February 2011.

“It looks like a fair price,” said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.

The deal comes in at about 8 times trailing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), right where most deals in the last year have landed, including Golden Gate Capital’s acquisition of California Pizza Kitchen in July 2011, he said.

“If you find a company that’s been beaten up but there’s no structural damage to the company, this may be the time for a deal,” Hottovy said.

Shares in other full-service restaurants, including Cheesecake Factory Inc. and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc., moved higher on the P.F. Chang’s news.

In a week brimming with consumer sector news, Microsoft Corp. said it would invest $605 million over five years in Barnes & Noble Inc.’s Nook e-reader and college business; Collective Brands Inc., owner of the discount footwear chain Payless ShoeSource, signed a deal to be bought by shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide Inc. and two private equity firms for $1.32 billion; and DineEquity Inc. found a buyer for 39 of its Applebee’s restaurants in Virginia.

P.F. Chang’s CEO Rick Federico said going private would give his company greater flexibility to pursue its long-term strategy to increase traffic and improve performance.

P.F. Chang’s, which operates namesake Bistro restaurants and the smaller Pei Wei quick-service chain, is free to solicit superior proposals through May 31, the parties to the deal said.

“Although we do not anticipate any other potential suitors now, we think any potential buyer will pave the way for greater cost scrutiny, potential closures of underperforming units and a more rapid turnaround,” Miller Tabak restaurant analyst Stephen Anderson wrote in a note to clients.

Live Nation would benefit from going private, says Malone

SUN VALLEY, Idaho ― Live Nation, the world’s largest live entertainment business, would benefit from being taken private, according to the company’s largest shareholder.

Cable entertainment mogul John Malone said Live Nation, which is struggling with a weak U.S. economy in the aftermath of a drawn-out merger process, could turn around its business more effectively in private hands.

His comments follow a New York Post report last month that Live Nation Executive Chairman Irving Azoff was considering taking the company private.

“There are arguments that it would be better as a private company,” Malone said. “Whether that’s feasible is a function of how the large shareholders and management feel about it, and the financing of a deal.”

Live Nation Entertainment was created in February 2010 from the merger of the world’s largest concert promoter, Live Nation, with TicketMaster Entertainment, the world’s leading ticketing company, which in turn owned Front Line Management, which looks after more than 200 artists.

It was predicted the controversial merger would create a dominant business in live entertainment, enjoying growth from the increasing transfer of value from dwindling recorded music to live music shows.

But since U.S. regulators cleared the deal, the live entertainment business has slowed due to a weak global economy.

This has not deterred Malone from doubling down on Live Nation, which he and his lieutenant, Liberty Media Chief Executive Officer Greg Maffei, see as a great value opportunity.

Malone, through his Liberty Media holding company, now has about 21 percent of Live Nation’s outstanding float according to a June 28 regulatory filing.

The next two largest shareholders are the Atlanta-based Shapiro Capital Management and New York-based Tiger Global Management funds, according to filings in March. The funds and Live Nation were not immediately available for comment.

“It would be probably be nice for that company to be private for a period of time to settle down and consolidate operations,” said Malone, speaking on the sidelines of the Allen & Co. conference for media, technology and deal-financing moguls.