You can’t put down the BlackBerry for July 4 holiday anymore

July 5, 2007

bush.jpg There was a time when Corporate America would do its patriotic duty by taking a rest the afternoon and evening before the Independence Day holiday. If anyone had to say something they said it in the morning of July 3, allowing brokers, investors, journalists, advisers, rivals and all the other folks who have to engage with Wall Street and big business the chance to drive, fly or sail off for the holiday without getting blindsided by a major announcement. Only companies with really bad news and few scruples would announce anything late on July 3.******That apparently has all changed. On Tuesday, not only did Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts & Co file for an initial public offering at 5:19 pm New York time but then about 40 minutes later Hilton Hotels announced it had agreed to be bought by KKR’s arch-rival Blackstone Group for $26 billion including debt. To add insult to injury, at 10:11 pm Huntsman Corp. said it had received a $6 billion takeover proposal from a company controlled by private equity firm Apollo Management.******It is the private equity firms that are in all three cases either triggers of the announcements or those making the announcements themselves. The Blackstone-Hilton timing was more understandable than the others given Hilton’s shares had surged in the half-day trading session that day. As for Huntsman, maybe they got the counterbid at 9 p.m. and had to get it out, or maybe they had it earlier? Spokesmen for both Huntsman and Apollo declined to comment.******But KKR? What could possibly be behind putting a major company announcement while Wall Street was headed to the Hamptons–or there already. KKR’s outside PR firm, Kekst and Company, declined to comment.******So we’ll just have to be on notice — there is no such thing as sacred time anymore. Remember that when the Thanksgiving holiday comes around.

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