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Filing by Lindner, American Financial Reveals 5.9% Stake in Spelling's Firm

August 21, 1986|NANCY RIVERA BROOKS | Times Staff Writer

Cincinnati financier Carl H. Lindner and his company, American Financial Corp., said Wednesday that they have bought 5.9% of the outstanding Class A common stock of Aaron Spelling Productions, which counts "Dynasty" and "Hotel" among its television hits.

Lindner and American Financial said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that they bought 475,000 Class A common shares of Los Angeles-based Spelling as an investment. Lindner and American Financial said they have "no present plans to acquire control of Aaron Spelling" but added that they will continue to review their investment and could change their plans "depending on future developments."

The stock was bought between Aug. 1 and Aug. 14 at prices ranging from $14 to $14.03 per share.

A spokesman for Aaron Spelling Productions said company officials had no comment on the SEC filing.

Aaron Spelling Productions recently went public, selling about 68% of its Class A common stock for $77 million, of which the company received $58.7 million.

But control of the company remains firmly in the hands of producer Aaron Spelling, the company's chief executive. Spelling owns all of the company's Class B common stock, which gives him control of up to 68.7% of the voting shares.

Esther and Richard Shapiro, executive producers of "Dynasty" and "The Colbys," filed suit in July to block the public stock offering, contending that the sale violated joint venture agreements between the producers and Aaron Spelling Productions. The suit is still pending.

Lindner, through his insurance-based conglomerate, American Financial, is a reclusive investor with a reputation for buying into ailing companies and giving them time to return to health.

The Aaron Spelling spokesman noted that the company is not in any financial trouble. If it had been publicly held for the year ended July 31, 1985, and had been taxed on its income, the company would have earned $26.3 million on revenue of $209.9 million, the spokesman said.

One of Lindner's greatest successes was Penn Central Corp., in which Lindner started investing shortly after it emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in 1978.

But the investment in Mission Insurance Group of Los Angeles, which was placed under conservatorship by the California Department of Insurance in October, 1985, has been a money-loser for American Financial.

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