Summit Materials makes $3.8bn rival bid for Ash Grove Cement

Updated 07 October 2017
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Summit Materials makes $3.8bn rival bid for Ash Grove Cement

DUBLIN: Summit Materials, a US construction firm set up by former CRH executives, has made a rival offer for Ash Grove Cement, which CRH has agreed to pay $3.5 billion for, a source said.
Ash Grove said on Friday it had received a bid valued at $3.7-$3.8 billion which it expects to result in a better offer to the deal struck last month with CRH, the world’s third-largest building materials supplier.
A source familiar with the matter said the unnamed bidder was Summit, which could not be reached for comment, and it had submitted its bid on Thursday. The offer is being considered by Ash Grove’s board, the source added.
Ireland’s CRH said that its proposal remains in place, subject to approval from Ash Grove shareholders.
Ash Grove has set a meeting on Nov. 1 for shareholders to vote on the agreement with CRH, which its board unanimously approved last month, but has extended its go-shop period during which it can look for other potential buyers to Oct. 20, the cement company said in a statement.
Prior to setting up fast-growing Summit in 2009, the Denver materials group’s chief executive Thomas Hill headed up CRH’s North American arm and went on to poach a number of other senior US-based CRH executives.
Summit’s bid would surpass its own value of $3.65 billion. CRH, which has a market capitalization of $26.3 billion and said last month that it had around €5 billion available to spend on acquisitions over the next 18-24 months, made an all-cash bid.
CRH is also Ash Grove’s largest customer and would be owed a $131 million termination fee if the Kansas-based company sells to another party.
“Summit Materials opportunistic offer of an Ash Grove merger will likely see investors decide between a cash offer at a 60 percent premium or a merger that gives no certainty to a cash exit price for large Ash Grove investors,” said Darren McKinley, analyst at Dublin-based Merrion Stockbrokers.
“Given CRH’s position as Ash Grove’s largest customer, they are well placed to determine whether a higher offer makes sense or whether to let Ash Grove shareholders decide whether they want cash in hand now or to merge with a company that currently doesn’t pay a dividend.”
— Reuters


Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

Updated 17 July 2018
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Walmart, Microsoft team up to take on Amazon

  • The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon
  • Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications

WASHINGTON: Walmart said Tuesday it was entering into a strategic partnership with Microsoft on “digital transformation” for the onetime retail industry leader.
The move is aimed at helping Walmart compete better against Amazon, which is taking a growing share of retail sales in the United States and globally.
The two firms said the partnership was focused on using artificial intelligence and other technology tools to help manage costs, expand operations and innovate faster.
“Walmart’s commitment to technology is centered around creating incredibly convenient ways for customers to shop and empowering associates to do their best work,” said Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon, Walmart CEO.
Microsoft’s business cloud computing platform known as Azure will help Walmart manage operations ranging from refrigeration and air conditioning to improving its supply chain and transportation.
“The world’s leading companies run on our cloud, and I’m thrilled to partner with Walmart to accelerate their digital transformation with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft.
Walmart is already using Microsoft services for some applications and will expand that to tap into Microsoft’s machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data platform, according to the statement.
Earlier this month, the research firm eMarketer said Amazon’s surging growth would enable it to capture 49.1 percent of US online retail sales this year, up from 43.5 percent.
Amazon is far ahead of online rivals like eBay, with 6.6 percent of ecommerce, and Apple, at 3.9 percent, according to eMarketer, which estimated Walmart’s share at 3.7 percent.
According to the research, Amazon now controls nearly five of the total US retail market, including online and offline.