Odetics Makes Unsolicited Offer for N.Y. Firm : Spacecraft Devices Maker Ithaco Rejects $1.8-Million Bid From Robotics Firm

Times Staff Writer

Odetics, an Anaheim robotics company, has made an unsolicited offer valued at $1.8 million to acquire Ithaco Inc., a New York firm that designs and manufactures direction-control devices for spacecraft.

Members of the Ithaco board of directors, who with other company officers and employees own a majority of the Ithaca, N.Y., firm, have rejected Odetics’ bid.

“Our firm is undervalued. And it is best for the shareholders and for our future that we stay independent,” said Larry Burdgecq, president of Ithaco, which has about 300,000 voting shares.

Burdge said Odetics might be able to buy at most “a few thousand” shares of the company’s stock. Ithaco’s shares are traded only through negotiated transactions between individual sellers and buyers, not through a stock exchange.

Ithaco had revenue of nearly $10 million last year and earnings of about $700,000. The firm was begun 26 years ago by Edgar Seymour, who is its chairman.


Benefits Seen

Ithaco makes devices that control the direction of satellites and other spacecraft. Odetics makes robotics intelligence systems and machines that collect data in space. Both companies would benefit by merging, said William Gibson, an electronics industry analyst at Sutro & Co., a San Francisco brokerage.

“Their businesses match,” Gibson said. “Odetics has been seeking to buy a complementary firm. And if you’re a company that’s going to be bought, it would be great to be owned by somebody as good as Odetics.”

Odetics spokesman Bill Prichard said his firm, which placed ads in Ithaca-area newspapers last weekend to tell shareholders of its offer, has not yet decided what it will do should the offer not bring a majority of Ithaco’s shares. Prichard said the offer expires May 1.