Aéropostale, Inc. (OTCBB: AROPQ) is a specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, principally serving young women and men through its Aéropostale® and Aéropostale Factory™ stores and website and 4 to 12 year-olds through its P.S. from Aéropostale stores and website. The Company provides customers with a focused selection of high quality fashion and fashion basic merchandise at compelling values in an exciting and customer friendly store environment. Aéropostale maintains control over its proprietary brands by designing, sourcing, marketing and selling all of its own merchandise. As of May 1, 2016 the Company operated 739 Aéropostale® stores in 50 states and Puerto Rico, 41 Aéropostale stores in Canada and 25 P.S. from Aéropostale® stores in 12 states. In addition, pursuant to various licensing agreements, the Company’s licensees currently operate 322 Aéropostale® and P.S. from Aéropostale® locations in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Since November 2012, Aéropostale, Inc. has operated GoJane.com, an online women’s fashion footwear and apparel retailer.
The company has announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York has given final approval for the Company to access $160 million in debtor in-possession (“DIP”) financing provided by Crystal Financial LLC. The Court previously had given interim approval for the DIP financing agreement on May 5, 2016. This financing, combined with Aéropostale’s operating cash flow, will allow the Company to meet its financial commitments and enable Aéropostale to focus on completing its restructuring process, confirming a plan of reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11 during the third quarter of 2016.
As announced on May 4, 2016, Aéropostale filed voluntary petitions under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in an effort to optimize its store footprint, renegotiate burdensome contracts, resolve its ongoing disputes with Sycamore Partners and achieve long-term financial stability.
South Beach Spirits, Inc. (OTCBB: SBES) is a Florida-based holding company engaged in acquiring, developing, manufacturing, and marketing “lifestyle” products, including distilled spirits.
SBES recently announced it has entered into a Definitive Securities Exchange Agreement to acquire a 100% interest in St. Martin Powerboats, LLC, an American watercraft designing, manufacturing, and marketing business based in Mentor, Ohio, in exchange for a 51% equity interest in SBES. Upon completion of this transaction, St. Martin will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company and the management of St. Martin will assume management roles at SBES. South Beach management believes the transaction will strengthen the Company’s access to additional potential sources of working capital and enable it to continue to implement its current business strategy to become a leading holding company for producing and marketing a wide variety of “lifestyle” products, including distilled spirits. Closing of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
St. Martin has been in the business of designing, manufacturing and marketing watercraft since 2007, with a focus on compact and mini performance boats between 12 and 15 feet in length. The small and lightweight characteristics of St. Martin’s powerboats make them exceptional performers even when compared to larger speedboats. St. Martin also manufactures and markets a 27-foot offshore vessel, whose production is limited to just 50 boats a year. St. Martin anticipates launching additional specialty branded models of its popular mini-powerboat designs in the near future.
“The completion of the acquisition of St. Martin is expected to be the first of several consumer product company acquisitions planned for South Beach over the next 12 months,” commented Vince Prince, CFO of South Beach. “St. Martin and other established lifestyle products companies like it, represent existing opportunities that together we can quickly re-launch or expand to deliver immediate potential revenues and profits for the Company and its shareholders.”
Paul Spivak, CEO of St. Martin, added, “We believe the joining of St. Martin with South Beach will create a stronger combined entity and represents a huge step towards achieving a goal of building a diversified consumer lifestyle company. Going-forward, we anticipate that we will continue to acquire and develop other well-positioned brands in the wine and spirits industry, which, along with the boating company and other products we have identified, should create numerous cross selling and marketing opportunities.”
Martin D. Ustin, CEO of South Beach, concluded, “The addition of St. Martin and Paul Spivak, its CEO, to the South Beach management team, adds a great new product lineup and potential revenue stream to the Company, and also brings the skills and talent of very successful entrepreneur to the group. We look forward to working closely with Paul to assist him in executing his growth strategy for St. Martin.”
The Company intends to make additional information regarding St. Martin, its expanded business strategy, and new potential product acquisitions and launches over the next several weeks.
LinkedIn Corporation (NYSE: LNKD)
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman, in a photo published June 13, 2016, the day the companies announced plans to merge.
LinkedIn’s results will be reported under Microsoft’s productivity and business processes segment, which includes Office and Office 365. In April, Microsoft reported a 1% quarterly increase to $65 million for that unit.
Last quarter, LinkedIn reported revenue of $861 million, a year-over-year increase of 35%. In a statement, Microsoft said it expects the acquisition to have “minimal dilution” or roughly 1% to non-GAAP earnings per share for the remainder of fiscal-year 2017 and for all of fiscal 2018.
The deal is expected to boost non-GAAP earnings Starting in fiscal 2019, Microsoft said.
Microsoft might have overpaid for LinkedIn, but it’s too soon to tell, according to Patrick Moorhead, founder and principal analyst at Moor Insight & Strategy. Moorhead said the deal could bolster Microsoft’s enterprise cloud offerings, which grew more slowly than expected last quarter.
“Based on the income statement and balance sheet, the numbers look high for an acquisition,” Moorhead said. “I see the potential for a beefed up business social media service which is more than a resume posting service as it is today. I can envision a service where businesses more freely collaborate, leveraging online versions of Office 365, Skype for business and OneDrive.”
Microsoft’s shares fell 4.7% early Monday. Its shares are down 3% over the last three months and up 12% over the last year. Microsoft said it would finance the transaction by issuing new debt.
Some analysts had described LinkedIn as a potential takeover target earlier this year.
Linkedn sought to create a stable position for itself while retaining some independence, according to Weiner.
“Imagine a world where we’re no longer looking up at tech titans such as Apple AAPL, -1.48% Google GOOG, +0.21% Microsoft, Amazon AMZN, -0.17% and Facebook, and wondering what it would be like to operate at their extraordinary scale — because we’re one of them,” Weiner said in a statement.
In LinkedIn’s latest quarter, the company reported stronger revenue in its talent solutions business, which helps recruiters connect with potential job seekers. Total membership soared 19% year-over-year to more than 433 million, while job listings increased 101% to 7 million active jobs.
LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman called the transaction a “re-founding moment” for the company, which went public in May 2011 at $45 per share.
Amyris, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMRS) is the integrated renewable products company that is enabling the world’s leading brands to achieve sustainable growth. Amyris applies its innovative bioscience solutions to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules, specialty ingredients and consumer products. The company is delivering its No Compromise® products in focused markets, including specialty and performance chemicals, fragrance ingredients, and cosmetic emollients.
On May 29, 2016, Cathay Pacific commenced a two-year program of flights from Toulouse to Hong Kong using Amyris renewable jet fuel. The initial 12-hour flight was the longest flight using a renewable jet fuel to date, further underpinning the ‘drop-in’ characteristics of Amyris Biojet fuels. Cathay took delivery of a new Airbus A350-900 that flew from the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, to Hong Kong using a 10% biofuel jet blend provided by Amyris with the commercial and industrial support of Total S.A. The combination of the new airplane’s improvements in fuel efficiency (about 25% better than current aircraft) and the fuel’s properties resulted in an estimated 30% reduction in CO2 emissions according to Cathay when compared to comparable flights in recent-generation aircraft using fossil fuels. All of Cathay’s upcoming A350-900 aircraft deliveries over the next two years will use the Amyris/Total Biojet fuel.
“Amyris and Total have a leading position in the biojet space and we are excited by the potential of this quality fuel to help us achieve the objective of growing our fleet, whilst minimizing our CO2 emissions per passenger,” said Jeff Ovens, Head of Cathay Pacific’s Biofuel Program. “This two-year contract supporting regular, ultra long haul flights, will provide us with valuable experience as we move closer toward commercial scale volumes of biojet becoming available over the next few years.”
Amyris and Total created a sustainable sugar cane-derived, farnesene-based renewable jet fuel through a long-term renewable-fuels partnership using a process certified by the RSB. These flights represent another step toward projected long-term demand for farnesene for a variety of renewable products. In the area of jet fuels, the two parties have regularly showcased their advanced ability to sustainably fuel commercial jet transportation reliably and efficiently through existing infrastructure by fueling periodic flights for several major airlines. These flights are helping to pave the way for sustainable commercial air travel in the future based on improvements in biofuel economics.
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