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Steinberg’s Firm May Acquire the Rest of Tiger International

Times Staff Writer

A company headed by takeover artist Saul P. Steinberg is considering buying all the outstanding stock of Tiger International “at a premium over the current market price,” the Los Angeles-based air cargo company said Thursday.

Steinberg’s Reliance Group Holdings has been an investor in Tiger International since 1979 and is now the company’s biggest stockholder with a 16.5% stake in the company. Tiger International’s stock closed Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange at $12.375, down 12.5 cents.

Tiger International said Reliance’s representatives told board members at a meeting Thursday that they do not expect the proposal “to result in any change in Tiger’s ongoing business, marketing strategy and service to its customers.”

A Reliance spokesman declined to say why the company was suddenly interested in buying Tiger International, what kind of price was being considered and when an offer might be made.

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Tiger International has formed a committee of independent directors to evaluate any proposal. Reliance has requested that Tiger International pay certain fees and expenses that Reliance will incur related to its offer. Steinberg is a director of Tiger International.

Tiger International is the parent company of Flying Tiger Line, the nation’s leading air freight company, and Warren Transport, a large U.S. hauler of agricultural, construction and heavy industrial equipment.

During Steinberg’s long association with Tiger International, the company went into a prolonged nose dive, and the investment was sometimes cited as one of Steinberg’s less savvy moves. But the company, aided by a pay-cutting agreement with employees, has since returned to profitability.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Tiger International reported net income of $56.6 million on revenue of $986.8 million. For the same period last year, the company posted income of $45.2 million on revenue of $878.7 million.

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