By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
InFocus said Monday that it has signed a definitive agreement to be acquired by Oregon-based Image Holdings (IHC), which is controlled by eMachines co-founder John Hui.
The company said Image Holdings and its wholly owned subsidiary, IC Acquisition (IC), will make an all-cash tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of InFocus stock at 95 cents per share for a total of about $39 million.
The InFocus board issued a unanimous recommendation that shareholders accept and tender their shares into the offer. The offer amounts to a 36 percent premium over the April 9 closing price and a 90 percent premium over the last 30-day average closing price.
At one time, InFocus used an aggressive retail-pricing strategy to gain acceptance by the home-theater projector audience and move the brand into the top market share ranks, but its struggling financial position in recent months forced it to virtually drop out of the home-theater segment and focus on its core corporate and institutional product lines. Cutbacks have also forced the departures of some top personnel.
Commenting on the move, Tamaryn Pratt, principal of Quixel Research, which follows the home theater projector market, said, that “throughout the years the company has significantly pared down the number of employees, and they’ve been working in what several have said is `start up mode’ and this would compliment that energetic mindset. Being acquired by IHC appears to be a great opportunity for IFS to be nimble and creative without the glare of quarterly earnings.”
Pratt continued: “Right now the home theater space is very challenging for all those participating and IFS has definitely not participated at the same level that they had when they were promoting the Screenplay brand. In the B2B space however, the company still has a strong brand and it would appear that IHC either believes that they can facilitate InFocus’ recovery or leverage the InFocus brand to launch new products.”
The company said the offer and a subsequent merger of InFocus into IHC as a wholly owned subsidiary are expected to close in the second quarter of 2009.
“After an extensive review of strategic alternatives with InFocus management and our financial advisors, we determined this all cash sale of InFocus to IHC provides the best value for InFocus shareholders,” stated Michael Hallman, the lead independent member of the InFocus board.
“In addition to delivering compelling value to our shareholders, the partnership with IHC also creates clear benefits for InFocus customers, suppliers and employees,” said Bob O’Malley, the president and CEO of InFocus. “John Hui understands the technology industry and will assist InFocus in the execution of its strategy.
O’Malley said InFocus’ new status as a privately held company should reduce costs and allow it to better focus on longer-term priorities.
“I associate significant value with the InFocus brand and with the company’s extensive network of channel partners,” stated Hui. “I look forward to working with InFocus management and building on the company’s innovative history and product leadership to return the company to a dominant position in the industry.”
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