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Mergers don’t help Oregon employment

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Monday, December 01, 2008

STATEWIDE The sales of Tektronix and Longview Fibre were two of the biggest merger and acquisition deals cut in the Northwest in 2007, worth a combined $5 billion. They may have generated some nice bonuses around Portland, but they haven’t done much for the region’s employment forecast.

Tektronix’s recent elimination of 150 jobs is the latest in a string of downsizings to hit the Beaverton stalwart since it was sold to Danaher Corporation for $2.8 billion in October of 2007. The new owners had already cut10% of jobs companywide through the first three quarters of 2008.

Similarly, Longview Fibre of Southwest Washington has cut more than 300 jobs since being purchased for $2.15 billion by private equity investor Brookfield Asset Management.

So who will be next to cut jobs from afar? If the trend holds with recently purchased businesses, it will be the company formerly known as Oregon Steel, sold to Evraz Group and billionaire Russian Roman Abramovich for $2.3 billion in January of 2007.

The mill has performed well since being sold to the Russians, expanding rather than contracting. That was before the global slowdown, and the precipitous plunge of the Russian stock market. The other Russian giant to invest heavily in U.S. steel interests, Severstal, owned by a different billionaire oligarch, cut 800 jobs in October in West Virginia. Can Oregon expect similar treatment?

Evraz did not respond to emailed questions about its Oregon operations.


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