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Freedom Chain Rejects Hoiles' 3rd Offer to Buy : Controlling Shareholders 'Not Interested in Selling'

December 12, 1985|JAMES S. GRANELLI | Times Staff Writer

The controlling shareholders of the Santa Ana-based Freedom Newspapers chain on Wednesday rejected an offer by dissident shareholder Harry Hoiles and his family that had valued the media chain at more than $1 billion.

Hoiles, 69, whose family already owns about a third of the stock, said he must confer with his legal and investment advisers before taking his next step. Two previous offers were also rejected and spokesmen for Hoiles had said earlier that the third offer would be his last.

Freedom publishes the Orange County Register and owns 28 other daily papers, 3 weeklies and 5 television stations.

"If we can't figure something out, we'll have to go to trial," said Hoiles.

His options are said to be making still another offer, selling his family's stock in the privately held company to outsiders or going to trial in April on his lawsuit, which seeks to dissolve the company and distribute the assets equally among the families of the three heirs of company founder R. C. Hoiles.

Harry Hoiles said he has not been officially informed of the rejection of his offer but learned about it from a reporter who called to get his response.

In confirming that the families of Mary Jane Hoiles Hardie and the late Clarence Hoiles had rejected the latest offer, Robert C. Hardie, the company chairman, said: "We are not interested in selling out to anyone, period."

Previously, he and others in the company had said the majority shareholders would never sell to Harry Hoiles "at any price."

In his last bid for the company on Oct. 24, Harry Hoiles offered $108 a share, or $682.5 million, for the remaining shares. In the event that his offer was rejected, Hoiles had asked that he be given one-third of the company assets in exchange for his shares, or be paid $108 for each of his shares. Hardie had previously described the price as "ridiculously high" and shareholders have been unwilling to give Hoiles a third of the assets or a third of the value of the company.

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