Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Lawson Software apparently on the verge of a sale

AFTERNOON EDITION ALSO: NPR focuses on state for GOP presidential race; Pawlenty backs drilling; GOP fly-around; chilling details in Dinkytown hit-and-run; grand plan for cellphones; and more.
Read Monday Morning Edition


Lawson Software appears on the brink of a sale to a private equity firm. Helen Thomas of The Financial Times writes: “A press release announcing the deal, with Monday’s date, was apparently published accidentally over the weekend on Infor’s website but later removed. The release did not specify a price for Lawson, though the company said in March that Golden Gate and Infor had initially offered $11.25 a share in cash, valuing the business at about $1.8bn. … The price under discussion could not be determined, however one investor said that revenue multiples paid in enterprise software transactions suggested that Lawson could be worth between $12 and $14 a share. Infor and Golden Gate did not respond to requests for comment. Lawson declined to comment. Lawson said last month that it had hired Barclays Capital to advise its board on the approach and on strategic alternatives.”

National Public Radio’s Liz Halloran files a piece on the idea that Minnesota is key to GOP presidential aspirations, whoever eventually gets the nod. She visits with a lot of the usual suspects and reports this about Michele Bachmann: “ ‘Most objective political observers believe she represents the only district in Minnesota that would elect her,, says Tom Horner, the moderate former Republican who ran for governor last year as an independent in a three-way race won by Democrat Mark Dayton. ‘There is no viable path for her to the U.S. Senate, or the governor’s mansion,’ Horner says. ‘She’s a person who wants to have a higher profile and is not satisfied with being one out of 435’ in the House. But even Minnesota critics like Horner and [Tim] Penny, who describes Bachmann’s legislative achievements as ‘thin gruel,’ say the congresswoman will be a factor in the GOP race. ‘She stepped in where Palin left off,’ Penny says. ‘She’s riding a publicity wave.’ Bachmann’s unexpected rise and the White House noises being made by Trump have left Pawlenty struggling for attention. … [H]e’s facing an organized and growing chorus of criticism back home, where he left office in January with approval ratings south of 50 percent and a state budget deficit projected at $5 billion. The former governor has repeatedly blamed Democrats in the Legislature for the deficit, one of the worst in the nation.”

T-Paw may not be a full-throated “birther,” but he’s down, baby, down, as a “driller.” Politico’s Kendra Marr writes “Pawlenty ripped into President Barack Obama’s energy policy Monday, saying he’s failed to seize opportunities to drill for domestic energy sources. ‘This is a president who has sat on his hands as it relates to drilling,’ Pawlenty told Chicago’s ‘Don Wade & Roma’ radio show. ‘You know, we’ve got a country that’s got some enormous energy assets that are not being exploited or leveraged to the benefit of our country and to our people.’ Pawlenty said he supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore in ‘ways and places that are appropriate.’ And the former Minnesota governor lashed out at the Democratic Party as a whole, which he called ‘beholden’ to ‘militant or unreasonable environmentalists.’ ” I think this requires someone to ask our guy if he is then a “fracker.”

The Legislature is back at work, sort of. GOP leaders are flying around the state today, trying to work up some enthusiasm for their budget plan. Here at MinnPost, Jay Weiner, breaks down what they’re trying to sell: “Speaker of the House Kurt Zellers said: ‘Minnesotans have a clear choice. The governor wants to raise taxes by $2.4 billion to increase government spending by 22%. Republicans cut taxes, cut spending and reformed government. Our budget is balanced and puts Minnesota on the right path for economic competitiveness.’ Au contraire, said DFL leaders in a competing conference call with reporters this morning. As they’ve been saying for weeks, DFL Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, reiterated that the GOP budgets are based on faulty assumptions because they have rejected the fiscal notes offered to them by the state’s office of Management and Budget and the state Department of Revenue. They are not balanced, the DFL leaders said. There is an assumption on the GOP’s part that some federal health care waivers can be achieved to close a $1 billion-plus hole in their budget. Thissen likened that to buying a car on credit en route to a gambling foray ‘on the assumption that you’re going to win some money at the casino.’ “

The details are chilling of that incident in Dinkytown where a car up on a sidewalk ran down three people, eventually killing one. Writes Abby Simons for the Strib: “Timothy Ayman Bakdash, 29, allegedly admitted that he ‘had no remorse’’ and intended to hit and kill three of the people he ran down, but did not intentionally hit a fourth person, charges say. Bakdash is charged with second-degree intentional murder and two counts of second-degree assault for the April 15 crash that eventually killed student Ben Van Handel, 23. According to charges, Bakdash told someone identified in court papers as B.B. that he had gotten in a ‘car accident’ at 2 a.m. the morning of April 15 after he had gone to the Library Bar in Minneapolis. Bakdash had ‘quite a few drinks’ and got into an ‘altercation’ with two men and two women, according to the person’s account. Charges say he continued to argue with one of the men while outside of the bar, and the man eventually walked away. Bakdash got into his Mitsubishi Galant and drove the wrong way down 5th Street SE. and drove onto the sidewalk and struck the group of students, charges say. The unnamed person’s account says Bakdash admitted that he intended to hit and kill three of the people there, but struck a fourth whom he didn’t mean to hit. The account says Bakdash said he had ‘no remorse’ for hitting the others.”

Satellite-delivered cell phone service seems like an inevitability. But as Steve Alexander’s Strib story on an ambitious Minnesotan explains, there are some gaping holes in the business plan: “Minnesota-born billionaire Philip Falcone is betting that the sky’s the limit when it comes to cellphones. A Falcone-backed company called LightSquared is about to launch what may become the nation’s largest wireless network for smartphones and mobile computers — starting next year. The network would combine two communications satellites and 40,000 earthbound antennas to cover 92 percent of the nation’s land area by the end of 2015. … Those who say LightSquared is a risky bet cite the cost — $1 billion spent so far and an estimated $6 billion or more needed by 2015 — plus the fact that many of Falcone’s traditional investors reportedly have pulled out of Harbinger over concerns that LightSquared can’t deliver on its promise. LightSquared won’t say how much additional money it needs to complete the network in four years. ‘LightSquared’s problem is that they are building a nationwide telecommunications network from scratch, which is a formidable task,’ said Bill Ho, an analyst at research firm Current Analysis in Sterling, Va. ‘It’s a big risk, given the billions of dollars that they need.’ “

The basic set-up is straight out of “Law & Order.” Everything after that is all too real. Mara Gottfried of the PiPress reports on St. Paul Police Department’s continued interest in the husband in a 2010 murder: “Joe Friedberg, [Nicholas] Firkus’ attorney, said police have ‘treated him as a suspect from Day One. That’s why I got involved. I believe them to be wrong. I believed from the beginning that he’s a victim and not a perpetrator.’ The Firkuses’ Hamline-Midway house had been foreclosed upon, and they were to be evicted the day after the April 25, 2010, shootings. Police found correspondence in the home ‘outlining numerous examples of severe financial problems the couple was facing,’ according to a search warrant affidavit filed last year. Friedberg responded: ‘The police either negligently or intentionally misrepresented his financial condition. They said he was far more in debt than he actually was. We did our own financial investigation, and we find no possibility for any financial motive for this type of thing.’ The affidavit also said investigators ‘found no evidence that Heidi was in any way aware of the dire financial’ straits ‘the couple was in or the pending eviction/foreclosure scheduled for the following day. The house was fully furnished and nothing was packed.’ ” But there is enough cash somewhere to hire Joe Friedberg?

Sandbagging for this spring’s Red River flood will cost Moorhead five times what it planned for. Dave Olson of InForum reports: “A large chunk of the bill, about $409,000, went to pay for labor to fill sandbags, a cost city staff initially estimated would be $166,000. Mayor Mark Voxland and other City Council members are optimistic federal and state tax dollars will cover Moorhead’s flood bill, but they fear such support cannot be counted on every year. Something, they say, has to change. Voxland hopes it will be the backyards of the 300 homes in the city that still require sandbag dikes for flood protection. Filling, storing and moving sandbags made up the bulk of this spring’s bill, and Voxland said he’d like to explore ways the city can encourage homeowners near the river to do more to protect their property, especially those with walk-out basements. He said one way might be for the city to finance building permanent dikes on private property, with the city using its bonding power to generate the dollars.”

Finally, Today in Bachmannia: A bit late, but blogger Tony Angelo, aka minn-Donkey, breaks out monies spent by our favorite congresswoman and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

“This is from the FEC report for the Bachmann for Congress committee:

Total Receipts: $1,747,618
Total Disbursements: $786,614
Net raised: $961,004

While netting almost a million dollars is still a very good fundraising quarter, it’s not as good as the headlines make it sound. You see, Michele Bachmann uses a fundraising technique popular with conservatives that involves paying direct mail and telemarketing companies vast sums of money to raise money for her.

Of that almost $800k of expenses, $440,000 went to these activities. To be more precise:

Direct Mail: $152,278.53
Telemarketing: $286,768.21
Total: $439,046,74

… For comparison’s sake, let’s look at another Minnesota politician who is raising money for re-election right now, Amy Klobuchar:

Total Receipts: $1,076,725
Total Disbursements: $192,535
Net raised: $884,190

So while Rep. Bachmann netted $960k on $1.75m raised, Sen. Klobuchar netted almost as much, while raising $700k less. And while just the direct mail and telemarketing expenses made up 25% of Bachmann’s receipts, the total disbursements made by the Klobuchar campaign come in at just under 18%.”