Founder's estate may sell stake in Survival Tech

March 08, 1994|By David Conn | David Conn,Sun Staff Writer

NEW YORK — Survival Technology Inc., a Rockville company that makes automatic syringes, said yesterday that the estate of its late founder wants to sell its 61 percent share in the company, and Survival has hired Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. to recommend ways to do that.

Dr. Stanley J. Sarnoff died in May 1990, but his estate still holds about 1.9 million shares of Survival Technology, which designs and produces automatic injectors, prefilled syringes and medical electronics.

Dr. Sarnoff, a cardiologist by training, had set up an endowment to help sponsor cardiovascular research by medical students, according to Jeffrey W. Church, vice president and chief financial officer of Survival Technology.

Because the endowment is its primary beneficiary, Dr. Sarnoff's estate wants to liquidate its holdings in the company's stock in order to continue funding the medical research, Mr. Church explained. He said he didn't know why the estate hasn't been liquidated almost four years after Dr. Sarnoff's death.

The Sarnoff holdings were worth more than $24 million out of Survival's $40 million market capitalization at yesterday's closing stock price of $13, unchanged from Friday. The stock had jumped $2 Friday on volume that was more than six times its monthly average, after the estate filed a 13D filing with the SEC reflecting its intention to liquidate its holdings.

John Putnam, a medical technologies analyst at Alex. Brown & Sons, noted that Becton Dickinson, a Franklin Lakes, N.J., medical supplies company, could be among possible buyers of the Sarnoff shares, or perhaps Bioject Inc., a Portland, Ore., maker of needleless injection systems.

But he said the option Merrill Lynch is likeliest to suggest is a secondary public stock offering.

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