SKOKIE, Ill. — Bell & Howell said Thursday that it told its investment banker to invite proposals from potential suitors, and a company management group said it was holding buyout talks with Texas investor Robert Bass.
The Skokie-based mail equipment manufacturer and publisher said in a statement that it told Salomon Bros. to seek offers in light of stock purchases by British publisher Robert Maxwell, an investment group led by Bass, and Macmillan Inc., a New York publishing concern.
Gerald Schultz, Bell & Howell president and chief operating officer, also said in a statement that members of the company's management, except for chairman Donald Frey, have had discussions with the Forth Worth-based Bass group about a possible leveraged buyout. Schultz said these management members would work with the Bass group to attempt to develop such a proposal.
In a separate statement, the company said Schultz had been appointed to the additional post of chief executive, succeeding Frey, effective immediately.
Bell & Howell said its decision to seek buyout proposals reflected separate filings by Maxwell and Bass under antitrust regulations to lift their stake to a level giving them control of the company.
The company's stock closed at $65.25, up $5 in New York Stock Exchange trading.