On The Block

HM Capital Partners (f.k.a. Hicks Muse Tate & Furst) is looking to get out of the pork processing business, as the Dallas, Texas-based firm has begun weighing its options for the sale of portfolio company Swift & Co. HM Capital acquired the company in 2002 from ConAgra Foods Inc. and Booth Creek Management Corp. in a $1.4 billion deal. Swift & Co.’s board of directors hired JPMorgan to oversee the review of strategic alternatives. Founded in 1855, Swift & Co. generates more than $9 billion in sales on an annual basis. The Greeley, Colo.-based company processes, prepares, packages, markets and delivers pork and beef products to customers in domestic and international markets. It reported net sales of $2.47 billion for its fiscal 2007 second quarter ended Nov. 26, 2006, up from the $2.31 billion it generated the year before. The company also reported second-quarter EBITDA of $32 million, up from $2 million in the prior-year period. “EBITDA improvements in Swift Australia and Swift Beef accounted for the year-over-year increase,” the company said.

The State of Illinois reportedly is trying to strike it rich through the sale of its state lottery system, which it hopes will attract buyer interest to the tune of $10 billion. The State hired Goldman Sachs & Co. and UBS to facilitate the sale, according to The New York Times. The Times story listed “private equity funds” as being among those likely to show interest in the lottery system. Buyers would receive 100 percent of the lottery system’s revenue and profit for 75 years. The Illinois lottery reportedly collected about $630 million in profits last year on top of $2 billion in revenue.

As part of its plan to narrow its business focus, Bio-Optronics Inc., a provider software solutions designed to enhance business productivity in hospitals, said it will be considering strategic alternatives for its OR product line in 2007. The OR product line focuses on software used in hospital operating rooms and consists of two key products: DirectOR, a smart, electronic whiteboard solution that gives real-time status information and patient and staff locations; and SchedulOR, a scheduling software designed to tie together the seemingly chaotic goings-on in hospital operating rooms. Parent company Bio-Optronics did not disclose earnings or a likely take-out price for the OR product line. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company plans to narrow its business focus to point-of-care and clinical research solutions.

Goldman Sachs & Co. and Genesis Capital LLC have been retained by Lodgian Inc. (Amex:LGN), an independent owner/operator of full-service hotels, to review strategic alternatives. Among Lodgian’s portfolio of 69 hotels in 28 states and Canada are 42 that operate under InterContinental Hotels Group brands and 13 under Marriott brands. According to the most recent quarterly financial update on company’s Web site dated Aug. 9, 2006, Lodgian reported revenues of $91.2 million for its second fiscal quarter of 2006 (ended June 30), up 15 percent from the year before. EBITDA from continuing operations, meanwhile, grew to $22.3 million from $16.9 million in Q3 2005.