Slaight Communications of Toronto, which last month launched a friendly tender offer to buy the parent company of Valley Cable TV Inc., said Monday that it has tentatively acquired a majority interest of at least 52% of the company's stock.
Slaight also announced that it increased its bid for all of the stock of Standard Broadcasting, Valley Cable's parent, by 50 cents to $22 (Canadian) a share. At the current exchange rate, the offer for Standard Broadcasting amounts to $95 million in U.S. dollars.
Representatives of companies involved in the bidding said Slaight, a small privately held company that owns two Canadian radio stations, still was not assured of completing the acquisition of Standard Broadcasting, but that its prospects appear strong.
They said Slaight might be blocked if another bidder acquired more than a third of Standard Broadcasting's stock. Under Canadian law, a company needs at least two-thirds ownership of another business to merge with it.
Selkirk Communications, another Toronto-based broadcasting company, said last week that it might offer a competing bid of $24 (Canadian) a share for Standard Broadcasting, or $104 million in U.S. dollars. Rafe Engle, president and chief executive of Selkirk, said he would decide in the "next couple of days" whether to go ahead with an offer.
Selkirk officials would not comment Monday on the company's plans or on the day's developments.
Larry Nichols, president and chief operating officer of Standard Broadcasting, said Selkirk might not be deterred by Slaight's announcements, "but it would sure discourage them further."
Valley Cable, which serves 56,000 subscribers in the western San Fernando Valley and the City of San Fernando, emerged as a key element in the bidding. Slaight acquired an option to sever money-losing Valley Cable from the rest of Standard Broadcasting and to sell it back to Hollinger Argus Ltd., which is Standard Broadcasting's parent and, in effect, Valley Cable's corporate grandparent. Selkirk sought a similar option.
Business as Usual
Officials of Valley Cable, who have maintained that the company is heading toward profitability, said day-to-day operations are not being affected by the bidding.
The public bidding for Standard Broadcasting opened in May when Slaight agreed to buy for $21.50 (Canadian) a share Hollinger Argus' 49% controlling interest in Standard Broadcasting and to bid the same price for the remaining 51%.
Slaight's raising of its bid Monday by 50 cents a share was apparently intended to head off another offer. The company said it had received Hollinger Argus' stake as well as another 3% of the company from other shareholders.