Wickes Cos., which has launched an unfriendly $74-a-share bid for Owens-Corning Fiberglas, said Tuesday that it has requested a meeting with the building products maker and indicated that it might be willing to pay more for the company.
Sanford C. Sigoloff, chairman of Santa Monica-based Wickes, said in a letter to Owens-Corning Chairman William W. Boeschenstein that Wickes considered its bid to be "a very fair price given OCF's historic earnings and stock prices."
However, he added that "if there are values which would justify a higher price, we would be prepared to consider a change in our tender offer."
Sigoloff expressed disappointment that Owens-Corning had rejected Wickes' bid as inadequate but said he was "heartened" that the company was considering a merger. With that in mind, he said he has instructed Drexel Burnham Lambert, Wickes' investment banker, to contact Goldman, Sachs & Co., Owens-Corning's adviser, to arrange a meeting "at the earliest practicable time" to discuss a combination of the companies.
In addition, he asked that Owens-Corning instruct Goldman, Sachs to provide Wickes "as soon as possible with all non-public information" that the company has made available to third parties, "so that we may have the same opportunity to determine an appropriate price for OCF's stock as have other parties."
An Owens-Corning spokeswoman said the company had no comment on the Wickes letter.
Although Owens-Corning has said in documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission that third parties have expressed interest, no "white knights" have surfaced to top Wickes' $2-billion bid.
Several analysts said Tuesday that they could not guess what other companies might be interested in acquiring Owens-Corning, which is based in Toledo, Ohio, and is the dominant force in roofing and insulation materials.
"There are not many companies in Owens-Corning's own field which would be large enough to swallow it," noted Cornelius V. Sewell, an analyst with Argus Research in New York.
Despite Wickes' indication that it might be willing to sweeten its offer, analysts agreed that they would be surprised to see a substantially higher bid.
"From a general stock market standpoint, the Wickes bid is very generous, and I'd be surprised to see a much higher price," Sewell said.