Samsonite to Buy Back Up to 59% of Shares
Samsonite Corp. said it will buy back as much as 59% of its shares for $40 each, or about $480 million, dropping an earlier plan to sell 50% of the company to an investor group and pay shareholders a special dividend. The maker of Samsonite and American Tourister luggage also said it set up a “poison pill” plan to thwart unsolicited takeover offers. The buyback price represents a 38% premium to Samsonite’s closing price Tuesday. Samsonite said it will raise about $710 million for the recapitalization and related fees and costs by borrowing from banks and selling bonds and preferred stock. Some of the money will be used to refinance current debt. Samsonite’s largest shareholder is financier Leon Black’s Apollo Advisors, which owns about 36%, according to a recent regulatory filing. The Denver-based company has been under pressure to boost profit and its stock price, which has fallen 34% this year. Samsonite shares rose 94 cents to close at $29.88 on Nasdaq.