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The Journal Gazette

October 18, 2016 1:00 AM

Owners of small firms finding it's time to sell

News services

Sales of small businesses have reached their highest level since the second quarter of 2008, before the worst of the Great Recession hit the country.

That’s the finding of BizBuySell.com, an online marketplace for small companies. BizBuySell.com counted 2,090 closed transactions among its network of business brokers, up 8 percent from 1,935 in the second quarter and 15 percent from 1,814 a year earlier.

In the second quarter of 2008, BizBuySell.com counted 2,098 transactions. At the low point of the recession – the second quarter of 2009 – BizBuySell logged just 1,040 closings.

Many sellers are putting their companies on the block because they’ve waited out the recession but are concerned about not getting the price they want if there’s another economic downturn, according to BizBuySell.com.

Hasbro still riding ‘Frozen’ momentum

Hasbro Inc. reported record third-quarter revenue and strong earnings Monday on strong growth in its games division, while getting a bigger boost from sales to girls through tie-ins with Disney and DreamWorks movies.

The toymaker maintained its recent momentum, reporting net income for the quarter of $257.8 million, topping last year’s $207.6 million for the same period.

The toy industry pulled out of a near decadelong funk last year with the help of Hollywood tie-ins and improved technology. The company says game revenue, which includes digital games, rose 13 percent from the same period last year. Revenue in the category that includes sales of items based on Disney’s “Frozen” and other movies were up 57 percent.  

Save-A-Lot sold to Canadian company

Supervalu agreed to sell its Save-A-Lot grocery business to Canada’s Onex for $1.37 billion in cash, offloading a discount chain at a time of heavy price competition in the U.S.

As part of the deal, SuperĀ­valu will provide services such as payroll and merchandising technology to Save-A-Lot for five years, the Minneapolis-based company said in a statement Monday. The transaction is slated to be completed by Jan. 31.

The deal is part of a broader shake-up in the U.S. grocery industry, with major players consolidating and scores of supermarkets changing hands. Royal Ahold NV agreed last year to acquire Delhaize Group, combining the Stop & Shop and Food Lion chains. And Kroger Co., the largest U.S. grocery chain, has been gobbling up smaller competitors.

Albertsons Co., meanwhile, postponed plans in October 2015 for an initial public offering, saying the market was too volatile.

St. Louis-based Save-A-Lot operates about 1,370 hard-discount grocery stores – no-frills locations that focus on price.

Jim Beam strike continues amid talks

Striking Jim Beam workers kept picketing the world’s largest bourbon producer on Monday, ahead of another round of talks today that a union leader hopes will resolve their complaints about being overworked.

The dispute has splashed some disharmony on the whiskey sector’s good times. The workers say the company has refused to hire more full-time workers, and that demand for Beam whiskey has them putting in 60 to 80 hours a week to keep up.