A lot to celebrate at Web.com
Web.com Group Inc. CEO David Brown, along with a group of golfers, rang the closing bell Thursday at Nasdaq.
A Nasdaq news release said the ceremony celebrated the completion of the Web.com Tour Finals and the Web.com Tour Championship.
In all likelihood, Nasdaq traders couldn't care less about Jacksonville-based Web.com's sponsorship of the golf tour. They were more likely celebrating the continued strong run in Web.com's stock.
It was just three months ago that I was writing about Web.com reaching record highs at the end of the second quarter. Well, guess what? The stock reached more record highs at the end of the third quarter.
The stock, which started this year priced at $14.80, reached $25.60 at the end of the second quarter and jumped to $32.35 at the end of the third quarter. It eventually reached a high of $33.57 last week.
There hasn't been any recent news from Web.com to push the stock, but analysts are supporting it. According to Thomson Financial, 11 of 13 analysts following the company rate it as a "buy" or "strong buy" even after the run-up in price, while the other two rate it as a "hold."
On a separate note, Web.com said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week that Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jason Teichman has been appointed as chief operating officer.
Teichman joined the company in 2010 after his previous employer, Register.com, was acquired by Web.com.
Fortegra's stock also strong in quarter
Web.com's 26 percent gain was the best stock performance among Jacksonville-based companies in the third quarter, but Fortegra Financial Corp. was close behind at 24 percent.
The insurance services company in August reported quarterly earnings that beat analysts' forecasts after disappointing results in the previous two quarters.
Fortegra's closing price of $8.51 at the end of the third quarter still left it short of the company's December 2010 initial public offering price of $11.
The only other Jacksonville-based company with a double-digit gain in the quarter was Patriot Transportation Holding Inc., which rose 13 percent. The transportation and real estate company is exploring a plan to split into two publicly traded companies.
The biggest drop by far among Jacksonville companies was Body Central Corp., which fell 54 percent. The fashion retailer reported a surprising quarterly loss in August and fell to record lows.
Global Axcess sells off businesses
Two months after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Global Axcess Corp. appears to be out of business.
In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week, the Jacksonville-based company said it completed the sale of its automated teller machine network assets for $10.9 million on Sept. 27.
The filing also said Global Axcess completed the sale of its DVD kiosk business on Sept. 17 for $325,000.
The Chapter 11 case is still open in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Nevada, but those were the only two operating businesses the company had.
Last week's SEC filing also said that Global Axcess President Kevin Reager resigned after the sale of the ATM business.
The company has said shareholders should expect a complete loss of their investment as the Chapter 11 case winds down. Its bankruptcy filing listed $19.3 million in debts, so the asset sales are not enough to pay off all creditors.
The stock has been listed at less than a penny per share on the OTC bulletin board since the filing.
Global Axcess had no offices in Nevada, where it filed for bankruptcy, but it was incorporated in that state.
Atlantic Coast Financial adds another director tied to Sidhu
Atlantic Coast Financial Corp. has added another director tied to former Chairman Jay Sidhu.
In an SEC filing, the Jacksonville-based banking company said James Hogan was appointed to the board of directors.
Hogan most recently served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Customers Bancorp Inc. Sidhu is chairman and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Customers.
Sidhu resigned as chairman of Atlantic Coast Financial more than a year ago but he remains on the board and has greatly influenced a shake-up of management and the board of directors, after he led opposition to a proposed buyout of the company.
The buyout was rejected by shareholders in June.
In addition to Hogan, three directors nominated by Sidhu were elected to Atlantic Coast Financial's board at the company's annual meeting in August.
The latest SEC filing also said that Hogan was also appointed as interim chief financial officer. Previous CFO Thomas Wagers said last month that he is resigning.
Wagers had also been serving as interim CEO of Atlantic Coast Financial. The company last month hired John Stephens as permanent CEO, but that appointment needs approval from banking regulators.
Atlantic Coast Financial has been operating under a consent order from the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency since August 2012.
High IPO activity seen in fourth quarter
Southeastern Grocers Inc. could be facing a crowded field when it goes public, according to a quarterly report by IPO research firm and investment manager Renaissance Capital in Greenwich, Conn.
"With IPOs generating strong returns, we expect the final quarter of 2013 to be extremely active, led by the US and Europe with several large companies expected to list," Renaissance said.
Southeastern Grocers is the new name for the parent company of the Winn-Dixie and Bi-Lo supermarket chains. The Jacksonville-based company filed plans on Sept. 26 to sell up to $500 million in stock in an initial public offering. No date has been scheduled for the IPO.
Renaissance had some encouraging news about the market for grocery IPOs. The best performing new stock in the third quarter was Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Inc., which rose by about 150 percent after its July 31 IPO. Sprouts doubled in price on its first day of trading alone.
However, Sprouts is a specialty natural and organic grocery store chain that generated excitement among investors. The market for conventional supermarket operators like Southeastern Grocers is more uncertain.
Overall, IPOs produced an average return of 23.4 percent in the third quarter, with North American IPOs rising by an average of 29.9 percent, Renaissance said.
Analysts see more acquisitions for Genesee
A year after Genesee & Wyoming Inc. completed its $1.4 billion acquisition of Jacksonville-based RailAmerica Inc., Genesee could be poised for another buying spree.
"Genesee has historically completed two acquisitions per year, but hasn't announced any deals in calendar 2013 following its large RailAmerica deal last year," Wolfe Research analysts said in a recent report.
"RailAmerica has been integrated seamlessly and Genesee has been paying down debt to set the stage for another acquisition cycle," they said.
Genesee completed the acquisition of RailAmerica in October 2012 and assumed operational control of the company's railroads in December. The combined company operates 111 short-line railroads in 37 states and Canada.
Genesee maintains its corporate headquarters in Connecticut but its operational headquarters are in Jacksonville after the merger. However, it cut more than 100 RailAmerica jobs after completing the deal, according to SEC filings.
The Wolfe analysts upgraded Genesee to "outperform" on expectations of acquisitions.
"Genesee's stock typically flatlines during periods like the past few quarters when it's paying down debt and not making deals. But its stock historically outperforms materially at the onset of acquisition cycles like we expect to emerge in the relatively near term," they said.
They also think synergies from integrating the RailAmerica operations will help earnings.
In addition to that upgrade, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services recently upgraded its outlook on Genesee from "stable" to "positive."
"We expect Genesee & Wyoming's credit metrics to continue to benefit from the successful integration of RailAmerica's operations, as well as its amortizing debt. We base our current ratings on the expectation that the company will generate cost savings from reduced overhead and administrative expenses," S&P said.
St. Joe names new CFO
The St. Joe Co. announced last week that Marek Bakun is joining the real estate development company as chief financial officer.
Bakun was most recently CFO and treasurer of Orleans Homebuilders Inc. in Bensalem, Pa.
Bakun is replacing Tom Hoyer, who has been CFO since March 2012. St. Joe said in an SEC filing in March that it reached an agreement with Hoyer that his "employment with the Company would terminate on a future agreed upon date upon 60 days prior notice provided by either party."
The company said in another SEC filing last week that Hoyer will leave the company on Oct. 23. It did not give any reasons for Hoyer's departure.