Allegheny Beverage Corp. of Baltimore said yesterday it intends to continue purchasing Macke Co. stock and possibly seek control of the vending machine firm despite a lawsuit Macke filed last week to prevent it.
In its first public statement since the lawsuit was filed june 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Allegheny said that it "presently intends to make additional purchases of Macke common stock on the open market from time to time with a view to increasing its holdings to 25 percent or more of the outstanding Macke stock."
Those purchases will depend on the amount of working capital available, additional financing, general economic and stock market conditions and "Allegheny's evaluation of Macke's business and future prospects," the statement continued.
Allegheny said it may decide at any time to decrease or increase its in investment or "seek to acquire control of Macke."
A Macke spokesman couldn't be reached for comment.
Mache's suit was prompted by Allegheny's purchase of 14.8 percent of Macke stock during several weeks. Allegheny acknowledged yesterday that it had purchased the stock at an aggregate price of $5.14 million.
However, Macke claims in its suit that those purchases were made secretly and illegally. Allegheny said yesterday that the Macke suit "is without merit and is based on erroneous allegations and misrepresentations by Macke."
Allegheny had negotiated last April with Macke officials to buy out their controlling interest in the Washington food service and vending firm for more than $10 million. "No agreements or understandings were reached, and the discussions were terminated," Allegheny said in its statement yesterday. "Allegheny may seek to reinstitute such discussions in the future."
Allegheny Vice President Harry J. Conn said he wouldn't elaborate on the possibility or nature of those talks.
Macke alleges in its suit that Allegheny, a Pepsi-Cola bottler, secretly bought 11 percent of Macke stock with the help of a Canadian brokerage firm without filing proper notices with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Allegheny already owned 4.8 percent of Macke stock so the alleged new purchases would have given it 14.8 percent control of the company.
The Macket suit also alleges that Allegheny spread misleading and incomplete reports about the possibility of the takeover, tried to buy Macke shareholders' stock and established a "warehousing system" to acquire Macke stock. Macke alleges that under the system the Canadian brokerage firm would buy and hold Macke stock and transfer it to Allegheny when it had controlling interest.