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Bethlehem Acts to Block Takeover by WHX

Associated Press

Bethlehem Steel Corp., the nation’s second-largest steelmaker, took defensive measures to prevent a hostile takeover by WHX Corp., the parent of Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. Bethlehem Steel took aim at WHX, which earlier this month amassed 2 million shares, or 1.6% of Bethlehem’s stock. WHX, which is controlled by financier Ronald LaBow, also filed paperwork with federal antitrust regulators signaling a possible takeover or some other kind of deal. To prevent WHX from accumulating more shares, Bethlehem lowered its poison-pill trigger to 5% for any company that does not yet own more than 5% of Bethlehem’s shares and has “made, or shall make, a filing under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976"--which WHX has. WHX spokesman Adam Miller declined comment on Bethlehem’s move. WHX might now be employing a “Pac Man offense,” buying enough Bethlehem stock to be a pest and encouraging its larger rival to absorb WHX instead, said Charles Bradford, an industry analyst. The entire U.S. steel industry has been hurt by imports from Asia, where cheap currencies, labor and raw materials have led to cutthroat prices. On the NYSE, WHX shares fell 31 cents to close at $8.44, and shares of Bethlehem Steel closed up 6 cents at $8.31.


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