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Large Shareholder Calls for Restructuring of AMI

March 03, 1987|JUBE SHIVER Jr. | Times Staff Writer

A Houston investment firm with a 5.5% stake in American Medical International says it is unhappy with the hospital chain's management and may consider supporting the Chicago-based Pesch group that has offered to acquire AMI in a transaction valued at $1.91 billion.

In a filing Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Wedge Group Inc. of Houston said its discussions with Pesch & Co. focused on Wedge's future involvement in AMI. Wedge indicated that it might sell its AMI stock or join with Pesch or others to seek control of the hospital management chain, the nation's third-largest as measured by revenue.

"Wedge believes that some form of restructuring of AMI and its business would be highly desirable and appropriate at this time," a Wedge spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, the head of Pesch, physician LeRoy A. Pesch, said in an interview Monday that he has not been able to attract the interest of AMI's biggest shareholder--the Bass family of Fort Worth. The family has an 11.4% stake in AMI. "I think they are neutral," Pesch said.

Officials at Beverly Hills-based AMI would not comment on the Wedge filing or on the Pesch offer.

As reported, Pesch & Co., a health-care, information systems and real estate concern, renewed its bid for AMI last Thursday, offering $17 in cash for each share of AMI as well as preferred stock with a $4 market value and common stock with an intended market value of $1.

That bid, which Pesch valued at $1.91 billion, followed a $20-a-share, $1.74-billion, all-cash offer that was rejected by AMI's board without explanation on Feb. 9.

"I don't think the talks (with Wedge) increase his chances" of acquiring AMI, said Kenneth S. Abramowitz, a health-care analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. "AMI right now needs less debt not more debt. It would be irresponsible to encumber the company with more debt."

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