NEW YORK — Anglo-French financier Sir James Goldsmith, who recently dropped a hostile tender offer for Crown Zellerbach Corp. but vowed to continue a proxy fight, said Wednesday that he has increased to 19.6% his stake in the paper and forest-products company.
Goldsmith, who had owned about 9.4% of the San Francisco-based company, said in a letter to its chairman, William Creson, that he had bought an additional 2.8 million additional shares, bringing his total to 5.36 million shares.
The shares were purchased in two privately negotiated cash transactions, he said. He didn't disclose the price he paid for them. A spokesman for New York financier Ivan F. Boesky declined to comment on Wall Street speculation that Boesky may have sold at least some of his 2 million Zellerbach shares to Goldsmith.
Zellerbach closed Wednesday at $42.50, up $1.125 a share, in composite trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Larry Kurtz, a spokesman, said that Zellerbach had no comment.
In his letter, Goldsmith said: "We had hoped we could reach a mutually satisfactory understanding with you whereby we could work together to maximize shareholder values, but, unfortunately, we were unable to come to an agreement." Goldsmith gave the company until Sunday to erase an anti-takeover measure that he claims is illegal. If the company doesn't act, Goldsmith said, he will consider taking additional steps, including the purchase of more shares.