Anchor Glass Container Corp., the bottle maker that’s been through three bankruptcies since 1996, is for sale and may fetch as much as $1 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter.
Closely held Anchor is controlled by Minnesota-based Wayzata Investment Partners, a spinoff of Cargill Inc. that bought the company in 2006. Wayzata is using Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to look for a buyer, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private.
The bottle maker is likely to get more interest from private-equity funds than from competitors, the people said. It has annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $150 million and may fetch six or seven times that amount in a sale, the people said.
Private-equity firms are buying and selling companies among themselves this year, seizing on the revival of credit markets to cash out old investments and invest their newer funds. Leveraged buyout-backed companies that have agreed to be sold to other private-equity investors this year include Burger King Holdings Inc., for $3.3 billion; Multiplan Inc., for $3.1 billion; and Michael Foods Inc. for $1.7 billion.
John Foley, a partner at Wayzata who sits on Anchor’s board, said he couldn’t comment, as did a spokeswoman for Goldman Sachs. A message left at Anchor’s executive office today wasn’t immediately returned.
One bottle maker that has pursued Anchor in the past is the world’s biggest, Owens-Illinois Inc. The company bought plants from Anchor in 1997 and sought a controlling stake in 2001. Stephanie Johnston, an Owens-Illinois spokeswoman, declined to comment on Anchor, adding that Owens-Illinois looks at all options to determine if they fit with the company’s strategy.
Based in Tampa, Florida, Anchor calls itself the third- largest glass container maker in North America, with eight plants in states including Florida, Ohio and Indiana and about 2,900 employees, according to its website. In a 2005 regulatory filing, it said Anheuser-Busch Cos., the brewer that is now part of Anheuser-Busch Inbev NV, accounted for about half of sales.
Anchor has had had six owners and two initial public offerings in the past thirty years. It came into being when Wesray Corp., an early practitioner of the leveraged buyout, bought the glass container division of Anchor Hocking Co. in 1983. Wesray later took Anchor Glass public, and in 1989 a Mexican glassmaker, Vitro SA, acquired it in a hostile takeover.
By 1997, Anchor had sought bankruptcy protection, and most of its assets were sold to Canada’s Consumers Packaging Inc. In 2002, headed toward a second bankruptcy, Anchor agreed to an investment by Stephen Feinberg’s Cerberus Capital Management LP that would leave the New York-based buyout firm with a controlling position.
Cerberus took the company public the next year. By 2005 it was in bankruptcy again. After Anchor emerged the following year, Wayzata, which manages private-equity and hedge-fund investments, acquired a majority stake.