Service Corp to buy Stewart for more than $1B

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 | Finance News

HOUSTON (AP) — Service Corp. International says it will buy fellow funeral home and cemetery operator Stewart Enterprises Inc. in a deal valued at about $1.13 billion.

The Houston company plans to pay $13.25 for each share of Stewart, which is based in Jefferson, La. That's a 35 percent premium over Stewart's closing price on Tuesday.

FactSet says Stewart has about 85.4 million shares outstanding.

Service Corp. says the combined company will operate 1,653 funeral homes and 515 cemeteries in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The boards of directors for both companies have approved the deal. The companies expect to close it by the end of the year or in early 2014.

Service Corp. says the combination will generate about $60 million in annual savings due in part to reduced expenses and increased purchasing power.