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Archive | December 23, 2010

Jo-Ann Stores To Go Private In Buyout

Jo-Ann Stores announced today that they have agreed to be acquired by Leonard Green & Partners, L.P., a private equity firm, for approximately $1.6 billion. The $61 per share purchase price is a 34% premium over the company’s trading price at market close on Wednesday.

Leonard Green & Partners is a Los Angeles-based private equity firm with over $9 billion in managed capital. Their retail investments include Whole Foods Market, PETCO Animal Supplies, Sports Authority, The Container Store, David’s Bridal, and Neiman Marcus.

The purchase was approved by a unanimous vote of the company’s board of directors, after a recommendation was made to it by a special committee of independent directors.

Jo-Ann Stores’ lead director and chairman of the Special Committee, Scott Cowen, explained the decision:

After a thorough assessment, the Special Committee and the board of directors concluded that the proposal put forth by Leonard Green & Partners is the best way to maximize value for shareholders, who will receive a substantial and immediate cash premium for their shares. While the company was not actively seeking this transaction, once the offer was received and negotiated, the Special Committee determined that it was in the best interest of the company’s shareholders, as well as its employees and other partners. Leonard Green & Partners has significant expertise in the retail space and is dedicated to cultivating and supporting the growth of Jo-Ann’s business.

The transaction still has to be approved by a vote of Jo-Ann Stores stockholders, and receive regulatory approval. Jo-Ann Stores also holds the right to solicit other competing offers for itself until February 14th, 2011 to ensure its stockholders receive the best deal.

Financing for the transaction will be provided by J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and TCW/Crescent Mezzanine.

The buyout of Jo-Ann Stores by a private equity firm will leave the struggling AC Moore as the only major craft chain that is publicly held. Hobby Lobby is family owned, and Michaels is owned by private equity groups Bain and Blackstone (although rumors persist that a public stock offering is in the near future).

Jo-Ann Stores has been growing steadily the past few years, increasingly its sales and improving its financial results, making it an attractive takeover target in a declining retail economy. On December 1st, the company announced its 3rd quarter 2011 sales (quarter ended Oct. 31st). Net sales were up 5.1% over the 3rd quarter of 2010, while same-store sales were up 4.1%. For the nearly-concluded Fiscal 2011 year, the company said it expected to open 30 new stores and close 25 stores. In Fiscal 2012 they are planning even more expansion – anticipating opening 55 to 60 new stores. These numbers are in addition to large numbers of store remodels that are also being done. Online has also been an area of growth for the company, where sales have gone up in double-digit percentages, although the website still accounts for only a tiny portion of the company’s total.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2011.

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May’s Solution for Ho-Hum Holiday Scrapping

I love scrapbooking special events. It was summer vacations that I first started scrapbooking as a kid, and holidays, vacations, and big events (weddings, babies) tend to be the introduction of most people I know into this fabulous hobby. That said, one of the more common things I hear about holiday scrapbooking is that it’s dull, or that people aren’t sure how to keep it fresh or interesting.

First and foremost, I think letting go of expectation, and anticipating having a good time with your photos and memories is key. Embrace each year as unique, and let yourself do what you’d like – whether that’s just one layout recapping it all, or many layouts detailing your holiday season (or something in between). There are no scrapbook police who will fine you if you don’t have enough meaningful details, a minimum amount of pages, or a certain number of photos scrapbooked.

Second, it’s important to realize that every year is more different than you realize. In my family, we skipped a lot of our usual traditions (hosting parties, baking, etc) in favor of a trip to Disney World earlier this month. This means I will have a lot fewer traditional holiday pages- and that’s ok too! Your holiday season might not be drastically different from last year, but each year is unique and different with it’s own memories to capture.

Having trouble with journaling or figuring out what to scrapbook about this holiday season? I have some suggestions:

  • Compare/contrast this year to a previous year.
  • Ask family members what their favorite (gift, food, event, detail, tradition) is this year.
  • Journaling can be light! Not really feeling up to entire stories? That’s OK! Make things more photo or embellishment focused.
  • Focus in on older traditions. Document them and what they mean to you (from doing puzzles to cooking specific foods to activities or places you visit).
  • Take a news story approach. Detach a bit, and tell all about your special event or family gathering.
  • Record a story that always gets brought up or thought of this time of year.
  • Put a bit of extra effort into embellishing! Like your home decor, perhaps this is a time of year to step up the fun!
  • Focus on a few small details: the decor, the food, a specific game you play, or anything else very particular to December.
  • Focus less on the actual holiday or big gathering, and more on smaller events and special details surrounding the season!

If you feel like every year you do the same thing, that there just isn’t anything new to scrap and you’ve told every possible story then I have three suggestions. First – look at the differences. Who isn’t here? What did or didn’t you do? Second- start something new! If you truly do the exact same thing with the same people every year, aren’t you bored? Mix it up! Then document the new, and share if you think it’ll become tradition! Finally, consider saving photos but not scrapbooking one year. This might seem odd coming from me – but if you’re just really not wanting to document one year, then just let it go!!

I have not missed scrapbooking a Christmas in the last decade, but my number of pages widely vary from just one, to many. One thing that never changes is my deep love for all things Christmas, especially scrapbook supplies! I especially love supplies that can be used beyond the holidays (just in case I over-purchase!) Today I have a new layout to share with you using all kinds of fun stuff:

With the decorations in full swing, I know that our “in place of gifts and many regular traditions” pre-Christmas Disney World trip is going to use up some lovely red & green supplies. I had such a blast pulling this together – and making the opening page to my vacation album all at the same time!

Supplies:

The Girls’ Paperie Tinsel & Twig patterned paper
The Girls’ Paperie Tinsel & Twig letter stickers
Elle’s Studio (www.shopellesstudio.com) journaling papers
American Crafts Dear Lizzy Christmas Collection Felt Pieces
Studio Calico Elementary Collection Notions – Vintage Pattern Flowers
Tim Holtz flourish stamp
Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Forest Moss
CatsLife Press date stamp
Making Memories Noel Collection Trims
Making Memories Paper Reverie Trims in Sienne
Core’dinations cardstock
unknown pom and lace trims, rhinestone, sequin

Before you write off the holiday season as a time to not scrapbook, or as something that’s “been done”, I hope you’ll reconsider. Looking back on scrapbooks of years past to see classic family gatherings (and not-so-traditional ones), and reminiscing, is a favorite Christmas tradition of mine – and one that wouldn’t be possible if not for my creative time and love for the season.

If you have a favorite holiday detail you like to scrapbook, or a tip for staying inspired, please feel free to share it with us all in the comments!

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