Burkle-Backed Americold Shelves IPO

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Americold Realty Trust (ACRE.N), backed by billionaire West Coast investor Ron Burkle, shelved its initial public offering on Thursday due to “market conditions,” according to a market source.

The company, which operates chilled warehouses for fruit, vegetables and meats, had already delayed the offering and slashed its value by 7 percent to about $600 million.

It cut the expected price range to $9 to $11 from $14 to $16 on Wednesday, and raised the number of shares it hoped to sell to 60 million from 43 million.

It had also delayed the IPO pricing by two days.

Americold is the largest operator of temperature-controlled warehouses in the world, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

In March 2008, funds affiliated with Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos raised their stake in Americold, buying out the stakes held by Vornado Realty Trust (VNO.N) and Morgan Stanley Real Estate (MS.N) affiliate Crescent.

Burkle’s other investments include a major stake in bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N). He is also in talks to buy Walt Disney Co’s (DIS.N) Miramax Films.

For 2009, Atlanta, Georgia-based Americold reported revenue of $761.02 million and adjusted funds from operations (FFO) due to common shareholders of $52.16 million.

On a pro forma basis, revenue was $1.62 billion and adjusted FFO due to common shareholders was $123.74 million.

Americold had planned to use proceeds from the offering, along with a concurrent offering of senior secured notes, to acquire warehouses owned by Canada’s Versacold International Corp, which is an affiliate of Yucaipa.

After the offering, Americold would have owned 175 warehouses, mostly in the United States.

Underwriters on the offering were led by Goldman Sachs & Co (GS.N) and J.P. Morgan JPN.N. The company had planned to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “ACRE”. (Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Maureen Bavdek and Ted Kerr)