FedEx Express (FDX) Seeks NMB Assistance to Expedite Progress of Pilot Negotiations Oct 31, 2014 01:14PM

FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX), has formally requested assistance from the National Mediation Board (NMB) to expedite its ongoing pilot negotiations. The NMB is the U.S. governmental agency that oversees labor agreements for entities covered by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), such as airlines, railroads and express companies.

The company and its pilots, who are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), have been engaged in contract talks for more than a year. The current contract became amendable on February 25, 2013 and the two sides reached a tentative agreement on 20 of the 31 contract sections in September 2014.

Under the RLA, the terms and conditions of the existing contract between the company and ALPA do not expire until the full multi-step RLA process is exhausted. In the meantime, the progression of negotiations into the mediation stage has no impact on company operations or its ability to provide highly reliable service to customers.

“FedEx Express is simply interested in expediting the negotiation process leading to a contract that is fair and reasonable for all parties,” said James R. Parker, executive vice president, Air Operations, FedEx Express. “The majority of airline contracts require NMB mediation to reach a final agreement, and we believe the time has come for our negotiations to move to that phase.”

For more details on the NMB request, visit:

Tribune Publishing Co. (TRUB) Acquires Wrapports Chicago Suburban Publications, No Terms Oct 31, 2014 11:08AM

Tribune Publishing Company (NYSE: TPUB) today announced the acquisition of six daily and 32 weekly suburban news and information brands from Wrapports, LLC. The acquired publications – which include the Aurora Beacon-News,The Elgin Courier-News, the Lake County News-Sun, TheNaperville Sun, the Post-Tribune in Northwest Indiana, The SouthtownStar and the 32 Pioneer Press weekly newspapers – will become part of the diversified portfolio of the Chicago Tribune Media Group (CTMG), which operates the Chicago Tribune, RedEye, Chicago magazine, Hoy and other Chicago-based media brands. The acquired papers have collective circulations of 72,000 daily, 87,000 Sunday and 52,000 weekly.1

In addition to acquiring these suburban newspapers, CTMG today announced a long-term agreement to continue printing and distributing the Chicago Sun-Times, also owned by Wrapports. CTMG has printed theSun-Times since 2011 and distributed the newspaper since 2007. This new agreement solidifies the continuation of this key commercial relationship for the Company.

Terms of the acquisition and printing-and-distribution deals were not disclosed.

“This acquisition represents an important step forward for Tribune Publishing Company and the Chicago Tribune Media Group,” said Jack Griffin, CEO of Tribune Publishing. “It supports our stated strategy of leveraging our existing infrastructure, resources and management teams to drive growth for our Company. Additionally, the new print and distribution agreement for the Chicago Sun-Timescontinues an important commercial relationship that supports our stated strategy of revenue diversification.”

To oversee the newly acquired publications, Tribune Publishing has appointed a senior Chicago-based executive with deep local roots and expertise. Bob Fleck, who most recently served as EVP of Advertising, spent 22 years at the Chicago Tribune in numerous managerial capacities. He assumes his role as Publisher & General Manager immediately and will report to CTMG CEO Tony Hunter.

“We have long admired the strong commitment to journalism and deep community ties exemplified by these suburban dailies and weeklies,” Hunter said. “With the addition of these great titles, Chicago Tribune Media Group is significantly expanding its portfolio and geographic footprint with an unrivaled suite of print and digital solutions. Bob Fleck is the perfect person to lead our efforts.”

Added Fleck: “We look forward to strengthening these great news brands that first and foremost serve their local communities with news and information that cannot be found anywhere else. As a lifelong Chicagoan, I understand the value of these publications to the residents and businesses in each of these vibrant communities and intend to build on that with the team.”

The acquisition of the suburban Chicago papers is the fourth in a series completed by Tribune Publishing this year. Previous acquisitions include:

Carroll County (Md.) Times and Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. from Landmark Communications, and which are now part of the Baltimore Sun Media Group;
City Paper in Baltimore from Times-Shamrock Communications. The paper is operated as an independent weekly under The Baltimore Sun Media Group; and
Reminder Media’s 15 weekly news publications in Connecticut, the largest collection in the state, which are now part of the Hartford Courant Media Group.

In addition to the six daily publications that will become part of Chicago Tribune Media Group, the 32 Pioneer Press weeklies include: Barrington Courier Review; Buffalo Grove Countryside; Deerfield Review; The Doings Clarendon Hills Edition; The Doings Hinsdale Edition; The Doings La Grange Edition; The Doings Oak Brook Edition; The Doings Weekly Edition; The Doings Western Springs Edition; Elmwood Park Elm Leaves; Evanston Review; River Forest Forest Leaves; Franklin Park Herald-Journal; Glencoe News; Glenview Announcements; Highland Park News; Lake Forester; Lake Zurich Courier; Libertyville Review; Lincolnshire Review; Lincolnwood Review; Morton Grove Champion; Mundelein Review; Niles Herald-Spectator; Norridge-Harwood Heights News; Northbrook Star; Oak Park Oak Leaves; Park Ridge Herald-Advocate; Skokie Review; Vernon Hills Review; Wilmette Life and Winnetka Talk.

Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Schultz: Apple Pay is 'Great' for Starbucks - Conf. Call Oct 31, 2014 09:54AM

Starbucks Coffee (NASDAQ: SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz said Apple Pay is 'Great' for Starbucks, according to the company's quarterly call.

Ares Management, L.P. (ARES) Unit to Acquire Energy Investors Funds Oct 31, 2014 09:29AM

Ares Management, L.P. (NYSE: ARES) announced that one of its subsidiaries has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Energy Investors Funds (“EIF”), a leading asset manager in the energy infrastructure industry with approximately $4 billion of assets under management (“AUM”) across EIF’s four commingled funds and related co-investment vehicles. The acquisition is being financed primarily with cash, including a portion of the proceeds raised from the previously announced offering of senior notes by an indirect subsidiary of Ares, and with equity interests in Ares. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2014, subject to regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions.

“The energy sector is an area of increasing importance across our business given the large, growing and contractual nature of the asset class and the differentiated risk-adjusted returns that can be generated by experienced managers,” said Michael Arougheti, President of Ares Management. “EIF represents exactly what we look for in pursuing accretive, strategically valuable acquisitions. The team brings an established track record of excellence in an investment strategy that merits greater exposure for our collective fund investors, a strong cultural fit and a deep expertise that we believe will benefit Ares’ existing strategies.”

“We are thrilled to have EIF, a team that members of the Ares Direct Lending Group have known and respected for years, join the Ares Private Equity Group,” added Bennett Rosenthal, Senior Partner of Ares Management and Co-Head of the Ares Private Equity Group. “Since our inception, our private equity investment activities have meaningfully benefited from the scale and collaboration of the broader Ares platform, and we expect that the EIF team at Ares will also capitalize on our sourcing, market intelligence and relationship network advantages to enhance what is already superb investment performance.”

EIF’s investment team of energy private equity professionals will join the Ares Private Equity Group and maintain full day-to-day responsibility over EIF’s current and future private equity funds and related investments. Following the closing of the transaction, the Ares Private Equity Group will manage approximately $14 billion of AUM across U.S./Europe corporate private equity, China corporate private equity and U.S. energy infrastructure private equity. Ares Management will have more than $7 billion of AUM in energy-related investments across various private equity, direct lending and tradable credit strategies.

“Joining Ares is an exciting new chapter for our team, which has been generating strong returns for our fund investors and creating a thriving work environment for our employees for more than 25 years,” said Herbert Magid, a Managing Partner of EIF and a member of its Board, Executive and Investment Committees. “With the opportunity to work closely with our new colleagues across Ares, we believe we will be a more significant player at a time when there is a growing need for capital and sophisticated sponsorship in our markets.”

Proskauer Rose LLP acted as legal advisor and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as regulatory advisor to Ares, and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP acted as legal advisor to EIF.

Boeing (BA), Monarch Airlines Announce Finalization of $3.2B+ 737 MAX 8 Order Oct 31, 2014 09:27AM

Boeing (NYSE: BA) and Monarch Airlines today finalized an order for 30 737 MAX 8s worth more than $3.2 billion at current list prices. The order, originally announced at the Farnborough International Airshow in July when Monarch selected Boeing as its preferred bidder for fleet replacement, includes options for 15 additional 737 MAX 8s and marks the beginning of the British carrier's transition to an all-Boeing single-aisle fleet.

"Seven days after welcoming new owners into the business, this order is a demonstration of our commitment to the future and the evolution of Monarch as a distinctive European scheduled leisure carrier," said Andrew Swaffield, CEO of the Monarch Group. "The 737 MAX 8 fits our network strategy of serving our traditional European leisure routes in greater frequency, providing increased choice and service for Monarch customers, with significantly improved unit costs to our business."

The 737 MAX has accumulated 2,325 orders to date from 48 customers and is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history.

"The 737 MAX is the perfect airplane for Monarch as it moves its business model from a traditional charter carrier to a European scheduled leisure airline, offering improved efficiencies, high reliability and an outstanding passenger experience," said Todd Nelp, vice president of European Sales, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "We are honored that Monarch has chosen Boeing as its future partner and are dedicated to ensuring this iconic operator's continued success."

The 737 MAX incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 737 MAX will be 14 percent more fuel-efficient than today's most efficient Next-Generation 737s – and 20 percent better than the original Next-Generation 737s when they first entered service. The 737 MAX 8 will have an 8 percent per seat operating cost advantage over the A320neo.

Headquartered at London Luton Airport, but also operating from five other U.K. bases – London Gatwick, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands and Leeds-Bradford – Monarch predominantly serves holiday destinations around the Mediterranean and the Canary Islands as well as European ski resorts. Founded in 1968, the British carrier will move to a cost effective and uniform fleet of 737 MAX 8s within the next decade.

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