A group led by the founding family of American Greetings Corp, yesterday raised its ofgfer price for a buyout for the third time, valuing the world's largest publicly-traded greeting card company at about $606 million, excluding debt.
The Weiss family, which includes the company's chairman Morry Weiss, director and CEO Zev Weiss, and director president and COO, Jeffrey Weiss, and others, yesterday raised their already sweetened offer from $18.20 per share to $19 per share.
This is the third time that the group has raised its offer after launching a $17.18 in September 2012. (See: American Greetings receives $580-mn takeover offer from CEO)
The group then raised its offer to $17.50 in January and $18.20 in April.
''The Special Committee asked us to reconsider the deal price in light of recent developments,'' the Weiss group said in a letter to American Greetings. ''While we firmly believe that the $18.20 per share price is binding and remains fair, we have concluded that enhancing the price is the right thing to do.''
TowerView LLC, one of American Greetings largest shareholder with a 6.2-per cent stake, had said in May that it would vote against the deal, while it is not known which other large shareholders have also opposed the deal.
Dimensional Fund Advisors, the largest shareholder of American Greetings with a 10.5-per cent stake, has not aired its views on the proposal. A spokeswoman from Dimensional Fund Advisors declined to comment, saying "Dimensional has a policy of not commenting on specific companies."
If the deal is now approved by the majority of the non-family shareholders, American Greetings would become part of Century Intermediate Holding Co, a company owned by the Weiss family.
Founded in 1906 by Polish immigrant Jacob Sapirstein, who started selling cards from a horse-drawn cart, American Greetings now has an annual turnover of around $1.9 billion.
The company's major greeting card brands are American Greetings, Gibson and Papyrus, and other paper product offerings include DesignWare party goods and American Greetings and Plus Mark gift-packaging and boxed cards.
The Cleveland, Ohio-based company, which competes with Hallmark Cards Inc, also has one of the largest collections of greetings on the Web, including greeting cards available at Cardstore.com and electronic greeting cards available at AmericanGreetings.com.
In addition to its product lines, American Greetings creates and licenses popular character brands through the American Greetings Properties group.