StoneMor Has Merged with Axar Affiliate and Privatized
According to this November 3, 2022 announcement, StoneMor, which was until the merger one of the largest public deathcare property owners and operators, has merged with Axar Capital Management, and has privatized the organization. As of November 3, 2022, StoneMor became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Axar.
StoneMor announced its intentions to merge with Axar in May, stating that at the time, Axar owned 75% of the outstanding shares of StoneMor common stock. As StoneMor finalizes its privatization with the Securities and Exchange Commission, common stockholders will receive instructions on how to surrender their shares for $3.50 each.
What does this mean for deathcare?
Deathcare professionals seem to have always held mixed feelings about the publicly-held companies who own funeral homes, cemeteries, and related products, which now include only Service Corporation International (SCI), Carriage Services, Park Lawn Corporation, Matthews International Corporation, as well as Hillenbrand Industries, which gave notice in June that it was “exploring strategic alternatives” for its Batesville business. Of these, SCI, Carriage, and Park Lawn own funeral home and cemetery properties.
As with Hillenbrand and its Batesville situation, folks with interest in these public companies are quite curious about what will happen with StoneMor, which holds 301 cemeteries and 69 funeral homes in 24 states. Tom Anderson, a trusted voice in deathcare financial issues, shared this in his Funeral Director Daily blog this week:
“There is speculation from all sides. StoneMor could continue as an operating entity or it is possible that Axar Capital Management may look to sell properties turning them into cash. Or, a combination of those strategies could occur. We do now know, however, that Axar is able to move StoneMor in whatever way they strategize without the requirements of being a public company.”
StoneMor has long held the second position in the listing of public funeral home and cemetery owner-operators behind SCI.