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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Hoiles Family Floats New Plan; First American Stuck With Bill

Hoiles Family Floats New Plan; First American Stuck With Bill

WALL STREET WEST

There are more rumblings about Freedom Communications Inc., parent of the Orange County Register, being retained by members of its founding Hoiles family despite initial reports that Gannett Co. had it in the bag.

The latest speculation comes from The Deal, a financial newspaper, which reported last week that Tom Bassett, a great-grandson of Freedom’s founder, R.C. Hoiles, is pursuing a deal in which the Blackstone Group and Providence Equity Partners would provide liquidity to any Hoiles family member looking to redeem Freedom shares.

The idea, according to The Deal, is “to include a sufficiently flexible debt reserve that can be used to ensure the Hoiles remain in control even if a majority of Freedom shares wind up being repurchased or retired.”

The action is expected to pick up this week when Freedom holds its regularly scheduled board meeting, after which bidders will be screened by Morgan Stanley, which is handling the possible sale.

Squeeze Play

First American Bank’s shareholders have learned that a company can take a hit because of litigation and not even be sued.

The Rosemead bank reported a second-quarter loss of $1 million, despite a 16 percent increase in fee income. One culprit: The write-down of a $2.7 million loan it had made to one of its borrowers that had to hand over the collateral backing the loan, an office building, to the owner of the land underneath it as a result of a $4.4 million civil suit.

According to First American, the landowner claimed that because the borrower lost control of the building, the bank’s lien on it along with the loan was null and void. First American said it would “pursue all available remedies” to get its money back.

RiShawn Biddle

Cell Deal

Strathmore Investments of Beverly Hills has purchased Amco Cellular, an Alexandria, Va.-based privately held company that markets mobile communications accessories for cell phones and handheld organizers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Strathmore said it plans to rename the company “Wildcat Cellular” and have it open a new office in Calabasas, according to a statement issued by Strathmore’s president, David Bleeden.

Bleeden has also purchased two other e-commerce outfits Cellular Blowout and Prime Cellular to be incorporated into Wildcat. Terms of those sales were not disclosed.

Amco’s product line includes power adapters, chargers, data cables, headsets, cases and lithium ion batteries. The company was founded two years ago by Faisal Karim, a Pakistani engineering student.

Bleeden, who is also president of Carson-based Rhinotek Consumer Products, was a co-founder of Naked Juice along with his college buddy Jimmy Rosenberg. Naked Juice is currently owned by North Castle Partners, a New York investment firm.

Andy Fixmer

This and That

Mentor Corp., the Santa Barbara-based maker of breast impants and other products used in plastic surgery, is likely to meet its earnings forecast, according to Chief Executive Christopher Conway. “The guidance we have given is that we’ll continue to maintain our 15 percent growth rate on revenue and earnings, and we’re holding firm to that,” he told Bloomberg News. The company is expected to earn 29 cents a share for the quarter ending next month and $1.31 for the full year, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

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