(In today's Freudian slip, I first type White Oaf.)
White Oak Global Advisors from San Francisco announced yesterday that it finalized its acquisition of Northern Beef Packers in Aberdeen. White Oak's press release (text below, as prepared by Sioux Falls ad firm Fresh Produce) is more about saying nothing than explaining anything. The previously publicized purchase price is $44.3 million, but White Oak is really spending only $4.8 million in cash; the remainder is White Oak cashing in chips it previously put on NBP's table to keep the state-backed money-mashing machine creaking along into its bankruptcy last summer.
Remember, Northern Beef Packers made $80 million in EB-5 investment and $152 million in total investment capital disappear in its five years of construction and nine months of abortive operation. White Oak—or, more accurately, the newest shell corporation to be tangled into Northern Beef Packers, New Angus LLC, which as of this morning does not appear in South Dakota's corporate database—is acquiring this asset for a bit more than three cents on the dollar in new money.
David Montgomery reports that White Oak/New Angus may have trouble recouping even that meager investment:
Cattle industry expert Steve Kay, publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly, was doubtful. With the U.S. cattle market declining and a half-dozen competing meat-packing plants already open in the region, Kay said there’s not room for another packer.
“It’s tough for me to see that White Oak’s new operators can possibly compete against six other packers, all competing for the same shrinking supply of cattle in the region,” Kay said. “The new owners, I don’t know how well they know how the beef industry actually works. I wish them the very best, but they will need more than luck” [David Montgomery, "Investment Firm Completes Purchase of Beef Plant," that Sioux Falls paper, 2014.04.01].
Here's the White Oak press release, which is all board-room bluster and the obligatory "move forward" but mostly a pointedly explicit refusal to say anything specific:
New ownership for Northern Beef Packers presents new opportunity
Sioux Falls, SD – White Oak Global Advisors, LLC (“White Oak”) is pleased to announce the purchase of the operating assets of Northern Beef Packers Limited Partnership (“Northern Beef Packers”). The beef packing plant and associated assets (the “Facility”) were purchased free and clear of past liabilities and obligations by New Angus, LLC, a new entity established by White Oak.
The purchase removes the Facility from the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding of Northern Beef Packers, providing the plant an opportunity to move forward unimpeded by its previous financial obstacles.
White Oak is currently evaluating its strategic options and remains confident in the Facility’s future as an operating plant. The Facility has the potential to be a success for both the community and its stakeholders. White Oak views the purchase as an investment in both South Dakota and its surrounding
White Oak will not be available for comment at this time, but looks forward to providing additional information as time and circumstance allow [White Oak Global Advisors, press release, 2014.04.01].