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Steinberg Says He Seeks Slots on Tiger's Board

April 08, 1985|NANCY RIVERA | Times Staff Writer

Financier Saul P. Steinberg disclosed Friday that he has been talking with Wayne M. Hoffman, chairman of Tiger International Inc., about electing representatives of Steinberg's Reliance Group Holdings to the Los Angeles-based transportation company's board of directors.

Steinberg disclosed the discussions in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Reliance Financial Services Corp., a subsidiary of New York-based Reliance Group, owns about 3.9 million shares, or 17.8%, of Tiger International, making it Tiger's largest shareholder.

'Friendly' Discussions

Steinberg and Hoffman have been holding "friendly" discussions for about a week, a Reliance spokesman said. The company declined to comment on how many board seats Reliance is seeking or why it is asking for board representation.

No Tiger International representative was available for comment.

Reliance, which began accumulating its stake in Tiger in 1980, threatened to take over the company in 1982, shortly after Tiger's fortunes began to slide because of the recession and rising fuel prices and interest rates. At the time, Steinberg called Tiger's management "ineffective" and added that there was "an urgent need for prompt and significant change."

But the takeover never materialized. Lawsuits filed by both sides eventually were withdrawn, and Hoffman said last year that Steinberg's "relations with us have proved to be very straight and level." Tiger's nine-member board includes former President Gerald R. Ford and Los Angeles lawyer Charles T. Manatt, former Democratic Party chairman. Tiger's annual meeting is in May.

Pared Down Operations

Tiger International, which owns Flying Tiger Line, the world's largest air cargo carrier, suffered cumulative losses of $375.7 million from 1981 to 1983.

Tiger pared down its operations and turned around what remained, reporting income from continuing operations of $44.2 million for 1984. But late-year write-offs resulted in a net loss of $88.9 million.

Steinberg attempted to take over Walt Disney Productions last year. The bid was dropped after Disney agreed to pay $325 million in exchange for Steinberg's Disney stock and a promise by Steinberg not to invest in the Burbank-based company for the next decade.

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