Exclusive: Breitling Oil & Gas eyes IPO in $200 million to $400 million range

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Breitling Oil & Gas, which manages oil and natural gas deposits in North Dakota and Oklahoma, is considering an initial public offering or other strategic alternatives for late 2013 or early 2014.

The Dallas-based company would hope to raise $200 million to $400 million through any IPO, Chris Faulkner, Breitling's chief executive, said in an interview.

A debt offering or entire sale of the company is possible as well, he said.

But Faulkner said: "I think there's a lot more upside potential for us that we couldn't monetize if we sold the business right now."

Breitling is controlled by employees and other insiders.

The company controls roughly 200,000 acres of mineral rights across North Dakota's Bakken and Three Forks shale fields, as well as in Oklahoma's Mississippian Lime shale field.

UBS , Brean Capital LLC and Zions Bancorp's Amegy Bank, a midsized Texas bank, are advising Breitling.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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Cohen’s $15 billion SAC Capital up 1.5 percent in June: source

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

By Katya Wachtel and Matthew Goldstein

NEW YORK (Reuters) - June was a tough month for hedge fund billionaire Steven A. Cohen on the insider trading investigation front, but it did not show up in the performance of his $15 billion SAC Capital Advisors, which posted a 1.5 percent gain, according to an investor familiar with the numbers.

For the year, that SAC Capital main fund is up about 8.25 percent after fees, the source said. SAC charges some of the highest fees in the $2.2 trillion hedge fund industry.

In June the average hedge fund lost about 2.1 percent, according to early estimates by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That is a sharper decline than the broader Standard & Poor's 500 stock index's roughly 1.7 percent drop. The S&P was up 12.6 percent for the first six months of the year.

SAC Capital's June performance comes not only while investors in the fund were asking to redeem about $3 billion because of the investigation but also during a tumultuous period for global bond and stock markets.

A sharp selloff in bonds and stocks last month tripped up a number of big-name hedge funds, including Daniel Loeb's Third Point, David Einhorn's Greenlight Capital Management and Ray Dalio's Bridgewater Associates, Reuters has previously reported.

SAC Capital, which notified investors of its latest results late Monday, did not provide any details about what contributed to its performance in June.

Some investors with the fund have privately worried that the investigation, which is increasingly focusing on Cohen, might distract the manager and his more than 115 portfolio managers.

In May, U.S. prosecutors sent a grand jury subpoena to Cohen seeking his testimony in connection with the investigation. Cohen indicated to authorities that he would assert his constitutional right not to testify and it is believed prosecutors never sought his testimony, said a person familiar with the inquiry.

(Reporting by Katya Wachtel and Matthew Goldstein, Additional reporting by Emily Flitter; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)

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US factory orders rise 2.1 percent in May

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013 | Finance News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Orders to U.S. factories rose in May, helped by a third straight month of stronger business investment. The gains suggest manufacturing may be picking up after a weak start to the year.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that factory orders rose 2.1 percent last month. April's increase was revised higher to 1.3 percent from 1 percent.

Most of the increase in May was due to a big jump in volatile commercial aircraft demand. Still, businesses also ordered more machinery, computers and household appliances.

A category of orders that's viewed as a proxy for business investment plans — which excludes the volatile areas of transportation and defense — rose 1.5 percent. That was even stronger than solid gains in the previous two months.

This measure of business investment hadn't increased for three straight months since the fall of 2011. The consecutive gains suggest U.S. manufacturing could improve in the second half of the year.

Manufacturing has struggled this year after helping propel the economy in the first three years after the recession ended. U.S. factories have seen less demand for exports because of weaker global growth. And businesses reduced their investment in machinery and equipment in the first quarter.

The May report showed that orders for long-lasting goods, from power generation equipment to ships and boats, rose 3.7 percent in May. Orders for nondurable goods, including paper, chemicals and oil, rose 0.7 percent.

Demand for commercial aircraft surged nearly 51 percent, after an 18.4 percent gain in April and a drop of 43.3 percent in March.

Orders for autos and auto parts fell 2 percent, after jumping 4.1 percent in April. Still, the decline is likely temporary.

U.S. automakers on Tuesday reported healthy sales gains in June. Ford Motor Co.'s sales soared 13 percent in June compared with a year earlier. Chrysler's sales rose 8 percent. That suggests auto production will resume a healthy pace in the coming months.

The overall gain in factory orders follows another report that shows manufacturing activity picked up in June. The Institute for Supply Management's index of manufacturing activity rose to 50.9 from 49. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

The ISM index showed that new orders and production both jumped. But a gauge of employment fell sharply, suggesting factories cut jobs for the fourth straight month.

The U.S. economy expanded at only a 1.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, the Commerce Department said last week. That was much slower than its previous estimate of a 2.4 percent rate.

The main reason for the downgrade was consumers spent less on services than initially thought. Spending on long-lasting factory goods, such as cars and appliances, was stronger.

Economists expect growth remained tepid in the April-June quarter. Most estimates range between a rate of 1.5 percent and 2 percent.

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