Storer Communications Inc. said yesterday that it has talked with at least two large companies interested in acquiring the Miami-based company but that both companies have since lost interest.
The companies dropped their pursuit when they discovered that purchasing Storer would depress their earnings, making a takeover "undoable," Chairman Peter Storer said yesterday.
Peter Storer, who is in the midst of leading the fight against a dissident shareholder group that wants to liquidate the company, indicated yesterday that he would consider friendly takeover offers although he prefers to continue operating the company under current ownership and management.
Storer owns television stations in Boston, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Milwaukee, San Diego and Toledo, Ohio, and cable television systems that serve more than 1.5 million people in 18 states. The company lost a total of $56.4 million in the last two years but is expected to make a profit in 1985.
Storer is battling "The Committee for Full Value of Storer Communications," the dissident shareholder group that owns 5.3 percent of the company. The group has mailed a letter to Storer's stockholders soliciting support for its plan to liquidate the company by selling its assets, a strategy the group claims would give each stockholder $90 to $100 a share, a significant premium over the stock market price, which closed yesterday at 73 1/2, down 1/2.
Peter Storer sent a letter to stockholders yesterday attacking the dissident group's members and its plans. He said in the letter that the group's members, who are trying to get enough votes to take control of the company's board of directors at the May 7 annual meeting, have no experience in the broadcasting industry.
Storer also disputed the group's claim that it would be able to liquidate the company for $90 to $100 a share in less than one year. He said that tax rules and broadcast license transfer procedures would delay the sale of Storer's television stations in a liquidation, and that stockholders might receive "junk bonds," which are relatively risky, unrated securities, in exchange for some of their stock, rather than cash. He estimated that the after-tax proceeds to stockholders would be closer to $60 a share under the dissident group's plan, according to a wire service report.
Storer said the group's proposal is "ill-considered, inopportune and unrealistic." He said that, if current management is allowed to stay in charge, the company's stock could be worth about $200 a share by 1988 or 1989, because its debt will be reduced and cable television rates will be deregulated.
Storer also said that Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, which provided the dissident group with the $90-to-$100 liquidation estimate, provided a "purportedly independent opinion." Storer suggested that DLJ's opinion was biased because of the way in which the investment firm is being compensated by the dissident shareholder group.
In a related matter in the broadcasting industry, Multimedia Inc., a South Carolina-based communications company, told the Associated Press yesterday that its directors will consider the $61-a-share buyout proposal the company received last week from Lorimar Productions.