Safety-Kleen Accepts $1.94B buyout
CHICAGO (AP) _ Safety-Kleen Corp. said it accepted a $1.94 billion cash buyout offer from a new business consortium, just two weeks after Laidlaw Environmental Services Inc. made a hostile bid for the recycler.
The consortium _ Philip Services Corp., Apollo Advisors and Blackstone Management _ would have an equal stake in Safety-Kleen if company shareholders approve the offer. It is equal to $27 a share and assumed debt.
Safety-Kleen’s stock rose 2.4 percent to $26.68 3/4 a share Thursday morning on the New York Stock Exchange, up 62 1/2 cents. Philip Services stock fell 18 cents to $16.62 1/2 a share.
The offer tops South Carolina-based Laidlaw’s bid of $14 in cash and 2.4 shares of its stock for each of the 58.3 million outstanding Safety-Kleen shares. That deal would be worth $1.8 billion with the assumption of the company’s $246 million in debt. Safety-Kleen this week sued Laidlaw, alleging it had broken securities laws by prematurely calling a meeting of Safety-Kleen shareholders as part of its hostile bid.
Safety-Kleen of Elgin, Ill., said in early August that it was exploring alternatives to boost its share price, including an acquisition or sale. The company’s stock had languished in the $13-$18 range for years, but had recently been on the rise amid expectations it would be sold.
The company said it hopes to close the sale by the end of March, subject to U.S. and Canadian regulatory approval and Safety-Kleen shareholder approval.
Safety-Kleen specializes in providing equipment and solvents for cleaning industrial parts and in recycling the solvents, dry-cleaning fluids and used motor oil.
Its 1996 profits rose 14.6 percent, to $61 million from $53 million a year earlier. The company’s earnings this year have been hurt by a slump in prices from oil that it recycles from service stations, but are expected to meet Wall Street expectations of between $1.04 and $1.06 a share, said spokeswoman Maureen Fisk.
Under the offer, the buyers in the consortium would contribute $200 million and own a one-third interest in Safety-Kleen. Philip Services would choose half the board, and Blackstone and Apollo would appoint the rest.
Hamilton, Ontario-based Philip Services said the combination of the two waste-disposal companies would increase revenue and generate ``significant cost savings.″ Philip Services processes and recovers steel, copper and aluminum products throughout the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.
Blackstone is a private equity investment bank, while Apollo Advisors is a private merchant banking firm.
Safety-Kleen would continue to operate as a separate entity based in Elgin, with Joseph Calhoub as president of the new company.
It was not immediately clear whether any jobs would be affected. A company spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.