BUSINESS NEWS ROUNDUP
Toshiba deal OKd
In a prelude to an easing of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing, Chinese officials ended a monthslong delay by approving Toshiba’s sale of a majority stake in its lucrative microchip unit to a U.S.-led group.
A lack of approval by Chinese regulators had held up the deal in what was widely seen as a signal from Beijing about how it might punish U.S. businesses if the Trump administration followed through on threats to impose tariffs on $150 billion in Chinese-made goods.
Toshiba said Thursday it has received “all required antitrust approvals” for the deal with a consortium led by the U.S. investment firm Bain Capital. Bain confirmed in its own statement that Chinese authorities had approved the deal.
Chinese officials could not be reached for comment late Thursday, and the country’s official media and websites were silent on the matter. The reasons for the approval after the lengthy delay were not immediately clear.
The approval is likely to be seen as a positive sign by the Trump administration, and it hinted at the two countries’ efforts to defuse tensions over trade issues. A senior Chinese government official, Liu He, has been in Washington for trade talks this week.
The approval of the Toshiba deal came just days after the White House appeared to make its own peace offering to Beijing.
President Trump, in a surprise tweet Sunday, said he had asked U.S. officials to find a way to help ZTE, a Chinese telecommunications company. Officials in Washington last month prohibited U.S. companies from selling muchneeded technology to ZTE to punish the Chinese company for violating U.S. sanctions against selling goods made in the United States to Iran, North Korea and other countries. ZTE’s factories ground to a halt, spurring anger from Beijing.
Legislators push for Apple
North Carolina legislative leaders said Thursday they’re committing to a big expansion of tax breaks to attract employers promising thousands of jobs, a move that comes as people familiar with recruitment efforts tell the Associated Press that Apple is strongly considering the state for a new corporate campus.
The top two leaders in the state’s General Assembly said they would lower the threshold that so-called “transformative” companies must meet to get huge state subsidies. Companies investing at least $1 billion and generating 3,000 jobs could get cash payments based on the taxes paid by their employees for up to 40 years.
A North Carolina government official and an economic development official told the Associated Press that Apple is close to deciding whether to build a planned hub in the Raleigh-Durham area. They spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidentiality of business recruitment.
The project could create 5,000 North Carolina jobs, with a later target of 10,000 jobs, the economic development official said.
Apple declined to comment Thursday. DEVELOPMENT
Westfield may add offices
Westfield San Francisco Centre plans to add 49,999 square feet of office space on its seventh and eighth floors, by changing existing retail, storage and meeting space, according to the San Francisco Business Times.
The $75 million redevelopment proposal by Westfield Corp. and Forest City Realty Trust includes three new outdoor terraces and other types of renovation at 865 Market St. and would need the approval of the City Planning Commission, according to the Business Times.
A Forest City Realty Trust spokesman said there is a redevelopment plan for the mall, but could not confirm the details. Westfield did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Wholesale club ready for IPO
BJ’s Wholesale Club is going public. Again.
BJ’s said Thursday that it filed a Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company, which operates 215 wholesale membership warehouses on the East Coast, didn’t say how many shares it would offer or what the price range might be. The offering is expected this year.
BJ’s listed a $100 million fundraising target in the filing, but that figure is likely to change after gauging investor demand.
In its fiscal year ended Feb. 3, BJ’s had net income of $50.3 million. On a continuing operations basis, earnings per share rose to $3.94 from $3.45. Total revenue totaled $12.75 billion, including $258.6 million in membership fee income. Sales in stores open at least 13 months — a key metric of a retailer’s health — rose 0.8 percent. Excluding gasoline sales, they declined 0.9 percent.
Applied Materials on Thursday reported fiscal second-quarter profit of $1.13 billion. On a pershare basis, the Santa Clara manufacturer of chip-making equipment said it had profit of $1.09. Earnings, adjusted for pretax expenses and costs related to mergers and acquisitions, came to $1.22 per share.
The results exceeded Wall Street expectations. The company’s revenue of $4.57 billion also exceeded forecasts.
For the current quarter ending in August, Applied Materials expects its per-share earnings to range from $1.13 to $1.21. Analysts had forecast adjusted earnings per share of $1.14.
AKKR buys Sageworks
Longtime financial software company Sageworks has been acquired by AKKR, a private equity firm in Menlo Park, the companies announced in a news release. The amount of the transaction was not disclosed.
Sageworks founder Brian Hamilton said the deal will allow the company to expand its role. Sageworks said its technologies are used by more than 1,200 U.S. banks and credit unions, as well as thousands of accounting professionals.
BJs Wholesale Club has announced that it filed a form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering.