DANBURY, Conn. — Grolier Inc., an encyclopedia and reference book company, Wednesday rejected a $415-million takeover bid by the French publisher Hachette SA as inadequate.
Earlier this month, Hachette offered to buy Danbury, Conn.-based Grolier for $21 a share with hopes of becoming the world's third-largest publisher.
On the New York Stock Exchange, Grolier stock closed Tuesday at $26.50 a share, up 12.5 cents.
Analyst Peter Appert of Cyrus J. Lawrence Morgan Grenfell Inc. said the $21-a-share offer by Hachette "seemed ridiculously low as a starting point." He estimated that Grolier was worth around $30 a share.
Grolier said representatives of the company have had preliminary contact with several potential suitors. It said it will negotiate the sale of the company with interested parties including Hachette.
If Grolier is unable to obtain satisfactory terms, it said it will continue to explore all alternatives to maximize shareholder value.
These alternatives include a leveraged buyout, a financial restructuring or reorganization, or the sale or acquisition of securities.
In determining that Hachette's offer was inadequate, Grolier said its board gave consideration to the company's financial condition and prospects, the strategic direction of its businesses and other factors described in a filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Grolier said its financial adviser, First Boston, had given its written opinion to the board of directors that the Hachette offer was inadequate.
Grolier's mainstays are the Encyclopedia Americana and the New Book of Knowledge.