Business digest: Private equity fund to give Crocs a cash infusion

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Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 12:00 am

NIWOT, Colo. — The company that makes Crocs shoes is getting a $200 million bailout from a private equity fund, and its CEO is retiring.

Crocs says it will use the money from Blackstone, plus cash on hand, for a $350 million share buyback.

The deal gives Crocs a cash infusion, gives Blackstone two seats on the board and preferred shares that pay a 6 percent dividend, and gives shareholders an additional return by way of the buyback.

Crocs shares peaked above $75 in 2007 as buyers snapped up the clogs known for being comfortable but ugly. But it hasn’t been able to add new products with the same popularity.

Shares fell to around $1 in late 2008 before beginning a recovery. In trading Monday, they rose $1.69, or almost 13 percent, to $15.02.

Crocs also said late Sunday that CEO John McCarvel is retiring and giving up his board seat around the end of April.

McCarvel called the Blackstone investment “a vote of confidence in our company and our brand.” — AP

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans who signed contracts to buy existing homes in November was essentially unchanged from October, suggesting sales are stabilizing after several months of declines.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index ticked up to 101.7 from 101.5 in October. The October figure was revised lower from an initial reading of 102.1.

Higher mortgage rates and strong price gains over the past two years have slowed sales. The pending home sales index had fallen for five straight months before November. — AP

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is calling off its sale to India’s Apollo Tyres, unraveling a $2.2 billion deal announced just over six months ago.

Findlay, Ohio-based Cooper said financing is no longer available and it continues to claim, as it has for months, that Apollo breached the terms of the deal.

Apollo threatened for the first time Monday to pursue legal remedies after the announcement, which it called disappointing.

Both companies agreed to the sale in June, but things deteriorated rapidly. Negotiations with the union representing Cooper employees became a sticking point. — AP

Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook received compensation valued at $4.25 million this year, a 1.9 percent increase over 2012, even as the iPhone maker’s stock gains lagged the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The package includes a salary of $1.4 million and $2.8 million in non-equity incentive plan compensation for the fiscal year that ended in September, the company said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cook, 53, is contending with thinning profit margins and slowing sales growth as rival gadget makers take on Apple with lower-priced devices. After outperforming the S&P 500 for four straight years, Apple shares have gained 5.3 percent this year, compared with the index’s 29 percent advance. — Bloomberg News

SAN FRANCISCO — Wells Fargo says it has made a $591 million deal with Fannie Mae to settle obligations related to loans that went bad after the housing bubble burst.

The deal announced Monday covers loans made through 2008. Wells Fargo & Co. said it resolves nearly all repurchase liabilities it has with Fannie Mae, the federal mortgage buyer.

After adjusting for other repurchases, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo will pay out $541 million, which it says it had already set aside. Wells Fargo agreed in September to pay $869 million to Freddie Mac to settle similar claims. — AP

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