National Lampoon to Give 3 Seats to Investor Group

Times Staff Writer

National Lampoon Inc. announced Wednesday that it would give an upstart investor group three seats on its board, plus a novel status in day-to-day operations.

In addition, public documents disclosed, the agreement provides that independent producers Daniel Grodnik and Tim Matheson might be hired to share the office of the president under founder Matty Simmons, who also is chairman of the publicly traded magazine and movie company.

If Grodnik and Matheson obtain those positions by March 15, the investor group pledged not to put up another--conceivably opposing--slate of directors at the next shareholders meeting.

In a telephone interview from New York, the producers said they intend to invest new capital in the firm and explore an expansion in entertainment areas beyond publishing and film and television production.


Grodnik and his partner in Grodnik/Matheson Co. had been negotiating with Simmons since Dec. 27.

They went into the talks armed with the backing of holders of 21% of the company’s stock. The two were accompanied by their investment adviser, David Batchelder, who had been strategist for Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens Jr. in various corporate raids before setting up an investment banking firm in La Jolla last year.

Their campaign was always meant as a friendly involvement, Grodnik and Matheson insisted. Matheson added that “it never hurts to have 21% of the stock,” and they both chuckled.

To accommodate the new directors, the company’s board is being expanded to seven from four seats.

In response to the investor group’s demand for a hand in day-to-day operations, Simmons agreed to the creation of a new three-member “executive management committee.” Its three members--Grodnik, Matheson and a Nebraska ally, Alan S. Parsow--will “make recommendations to the board of directors and officers concerning the management of the company,” the firm’s announcement said.

According to a copy of the agreement filed by the investor group with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company is to open employment negotiations with Grodnik and Matheson immediately.