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Group of Investors to Buy Stock in Advantage Life : Deal: Its leader, entrepreneur Carl Bozzo, hopes to turn around the Irvine maker of health and beauty products.


IRVINE — An investor group led by entrepreneur Carl E. Bozzo has agreed to buy 3 million shares of stock in Advantage Life Products Inc., a maker of health and beauty products.

Bozzo, a former dentist who turned around an ailing dental health maintenance group and sold it to Sacramento-based Foundation Health Corp. in 1991, said he wants to be a player in the health care business again.

He will serve as chairman and chief executive of Advantage Life Products, and his group of investors will be entitled to two seats on the company's board.

Bozzo said details of the transaction, such as the price of the shares, are yet to be worked out. He said his investor group would own about 15% of the stock and infuse about $1 million into the company.

Bozzo, a Corona del Mar resident, took over as chief executive at National Health Care Systems Inc. in 1986. The ailing company was being sued by shareholders, had four employees and was in financial difficulty.

By the time he sold the company in 1991 to a larger health maintenance organization, it had 120 employees and $20 million in annual revenue.

Advantage Life, best known for its use of infomercials to sell its beauty products, needs the help. The company fired its chief executive, Michael Ackerman, in March. He had served less than eight months.

The company reported a loss of $697,938, or 7 cents a share, for its latest fiscal quarter, compared to a loss of $449,348, or 7 cents a share, for the same period a year earlier. Revenue was $271,136, up from $158,927.

Bozzo said he hoped to use his turnaround skills again with Advantage Life. President Don Danks said he expects to remain with the company and welcomes the contributions of Bozzo.

The company has nine employees, down from a peak of about 30 in 1989. Bozzo said he hopes to reach a final agreement with Advantage Life within 45 days.

The company's stock closed at 50 cents a share, up 6 1/4 cents, in Wednesday's Nasdaq trading.

Advantage Life Products at a Glance

* Founded: 1986

* Headquarters: Irvine

* Proposed new chairman/CEO: Carl E. Bozzo

* Employees: 9

* 1993 sales: $1.3 million, up 8.3% from 1992

* Products: Beauty aids and over-the-counter health products

Sources: Times reports; Advantage Life Products; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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