Crown offers still on table

Two companies extend bids beyond yesterday's deadline

Petroleum industry

March 18, 2000|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Crown Central Petroleum Corp.'s board of directors got more time for its decision in the battle for control of the Baltimore-based refiner. The two parties vying for the company extended their takeover offers, both of which were set to expire at 5 p.m. yesterday, through April 17.

Both Rosemore Inc., a Baltimore holding company led by Henry A. Rosenberg Jr., who is also Crown's chairman, president and chief executive officer, and Apex Oil Co. Inc. of St. Louis are trying to take control of the company and then take it private.

On March 7, Rosemore, which owns about half of Crown's shares, offered to buy the outstanding Crown stock it does not own for $8.35 a share. Just before Rosemore's proposal was set to expire March 10, Apex upped the ante with an offer of $9.20 a share. Apex owns about 15 percent of Crown's Class A shares.

Rosemore then extended its offer, and both were set to expire yesterday. But Crown's board yesterday asked Apex to extend the offer, which it did. Rosemore followed suit hours later.

"They'll give both offers fair and proper consideration, and this gives them additional time to do a thorough overall review of both proposals," said Crown official J. Steven Wise.

Crown had hired Credit Suisse First Boston in February 1999 to help it find ways of maximizing shareholder value, which could have included selling all or parts of the company.

Then, in November, Apex proposed a merger with Crown that would have included ousting Rosenberg. Crown officials said it would be considered in the course of Credit Suisse's search for "strategic alternatives." If other offers were made besides those from Apex and Rosemore, Crown has not made them public.

Crown lost money eight of the past nine years and in February reported a 1999 net loss of $30 million, or $3.04 per share, on sales of $1.27 billion. Its widely traded Class B shares, which traded as high as $36 in 1989 and as low as $4.625 in December, closed unchanged yesterday at $7.875.

Pub Date: 3/18/00

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