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Macfadden Raises Hostile Bid for Blair

Associated Press

Macfadden Holdings on Tuesday raised its hostile bid to acquire broadcaster John Blair & Co., which has agreed to be purchased by another firm.

Macfadden, a closely held publisher, also said it has continued to buy Blair stock on the open market, raising its stake to 12% from 8% of Blair’s 11.5 million common shares outstanding.

Under its new offer, Macfadden proposed to pay $30 a share for 8 million Blair shares. Each of the remaining shares would be exchanged for preferred stock with a face value of at least $30.

Macfadden’s previous offer was $25 a share cash for all of Blair’s stock. Blair spokesman Josef Rosenberg declined to comment on the new offer.

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The restructured Macfadden bid closely resembles the offer that Blair accepted last week from a company controlled by New York investor Saul P. Steinberg, except that the cash portion of Macfadden’s offer is higher.

Steinberg’s Reliance Capital Group agreed to pay $27 a share for 8 million of Blair’s common shares, with the remaining stock to be exchanged for debentures that analysts have valued at up to $30 a share.

Macfadden said its new bid was conditioned on Blair not completing its previously announced plan to sell part of its ADVO-System direct-mail operation to the investment group Warburg, Pincus Capital Partners, and on Blair not distributing the remaining ADVO shares to its stockholders.

The Federal Communications Commission has given Macfadden clearance to pursue its offer. The FCC granted Macfadden’s request that it be allowed, if its offer for Blair is successful, to take control of Blair’s broadcasting licenses through a trustee, pending the FCC’s formal license transfer review. Blair’s holdings include five television stations and eight radio stations.

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