X-Rite Merger Contested

April 2, 2006
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GRAND RAPIDS — When it comes to cross-continental business mergers, X-Rite Inc. recently learned that it’s not over until die fette Dame sings. The Grandville-based color management firm’s offer to purchase Swiss competitor Amazys Holding AG for $280 million in cash and stock looked like a near-sure thing, until yet another Swiss firm made a counteroffer.

On March 24, Lucerne-based conglomerate Eichoff Holding AG announced its plans to tender a cash offer of no less than 108.8 Swiss francs ($83) per share of Amazys. X-Rite’s per-share offer was for 77 francs ($59) and 2.11 X-Rite shares (about $26). Based on the currency exchange rate and fluctuations in stock value, the X-Rite offer was slightly higher. However, Eichoff claimed that its formal offer will be at least five francs (about $4) higher than any standing offer.

X-Rite released a statement on the same day, noting that it had formally tendered its offer, while the Eichoff offer was still informal. Forbes reported that Amazys CFO Rolf Jeger said that his firm would continue to support the X-Rite offer, at least until the Eichoff bid is formally tendered.

“Really, it becomes a bit of a waiting game,” said Laura Davis, X-Rite’s director of marketing, communications and design. “We’re going to be watching it and monitoring it very closely.”

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