Finance-minded crafters, take note: Michaels has gone public. The Irving-based retailer began selling shares on Nasdaq today following a $472 million IPO on Thursday with 27.8 million shares priced at $17 apiece, Businessweek reports. That’s the bottom of the company’s initial range of $17 to $19, an outcome that could indicate “tepid demand for its stock,” according to the Associated Press.
Bain Capital Partners LLC and Blackstone Group LP, Michaels’ owners since 2006, continue to own a combined 86 percent of the company, but they have both expressed interest in making an exit in the near future, per the Dallas Morning News.
The Bottom Line: For now, Michaels is seemingly avoiding the struggles plaguing many other brick-and-mortar retailers. Its net income grew by 22 percent over the last year to $243 million, and the chain is gradually expanding toward a goal of operating 1,500 stores — according to the AP, the company plans to reach the 1,300 mark by the end of this fiscal year. However, the wire service notes, “Michaels has been late to the online party, launching its e-commerce business only earlier this year.”
Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, who earlier this month criticized Chipotle Mexican Grill’s decision to buy more grass-fed beef from Australia, said this week that CEO Steve Ells has agreed to “open a discussion” on the matter. In a Huffington Post op-ed last month, Ells wrote that Chipotle has been “wrestling with a particularly vexing issue” in its efforts to obtain grass-fed beef that has not been treated with hormones or antibiotics. Noting that the U.S. cattle supply is at its lowest point in decades, Ells claimed the rapidly expanding chain is having a tough time keeping up with demand for beef that meets its standards, prompting it to work with suppliers in Southern Australia in addition to American ranchers, who will continue to be Chipotle’s top meat suppliers.
The Bottom Line: Staples fired back in an open letter to Ells, characterizing the editorial as a “misguided and irresponsible declaration that this [Australian] meat is somehow more ‘responsibly raised’ than meat produced by Texas ranchers.” The CEO responded on Tuesday with an open letter of his own, offering to provide Staples’ office and beef industry officials with information about how cattle operations in the state can become Chipotle suppliers.
Eight months after American Airlines finalized its bankruptcy plan, the bills are finally coming due. The Fort Worth-based carrier will pay more than $400 million in fees and expenses to dozens of law firms, consultants and financial advisers who were involved in the two-year case, according to the Dallas Morning News. Accountants recommended the payout in a report filed in federal bankruptcy court this week, outlining $371.7 million in fees and $16.3 million in expenses to 47 different organizations, plus several million more in confidential payments to other groups. The report is up for final approval next week.
The Bottom Line: Despite the lengthy and occasionally bumpy proceedings, the head fee examiner gave high praise to American’s overall handling of the Chapter 11 case, which culminated in a merger with US Airways in December. He described the restructuring as “among the most successful of all time” and “perhaps the most efficient airline reorganization case on record in terms of restructuring costs.”
Winner of the Week: Rackspace
Rackspace Hosting is the belle of the tech acquisition ball these days, and another high-profile suitor came calling this week. Motley Fool cited analyst reports that communications giant CenturyLink has a “high probability” of joining a pack of companies including Google, Amazon, IBM, HP and Cisco in considering a takeover of the San Antonio–based firm, which specializes in cloud computing and hosting.
If CenturyLink turns out to be The One, the acquisition would double the company’s existing services revenue. No commitments have been made yet, but Rackspace previously said it was weighing “strategic proposals” for mergers with the help of Morgan Stanley, according to the San Antonio Business Journal.
Losers of the Week: Anxious Radiology Patients
Texas officials are evaluating a proposal that would allow X-ray technicians and several other types of health professionals to report for duty without obtaining licenses from the state, The Texas Tribune reports. According to recommendations presented to the Sunset Advisory Commission this week, Texas’ Department of State Health Services “struggles to effectively manage numerous and diverse regulatory programs” while overseeing larger public health initiatives.
The commission’s report claims the licensing requirement is redundant because the technicians “operate in healthcare facilities subject to numerous federal and state requirements” — which seems to suggest that hospitals and clinics would take more responsibility for screening and training applicants. Some healthcare industry veterans worry that eliminating the licenses could put patients at risk if training standards become too lax.