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Birtcher Medical Systems Finds Potential Buyer : Transactions: An acquisition could scuttle a planned private stock sale with another party.

November 04, 1994|DEBORA VRANA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

IRVINE — Birtcher Medical Systems Inc., buffeted by nearly three years of losses, said Thursday it may have found a buyer--but that an acquisition could jeopardize a planned private stock sale.

Birtcher, which makes surgical products, would not identify the interested party, saying only that the prospective buyer would make the acquisition through a stock swap.

That could hinder Birtcher's plan for a $7-million private placement of stock, however. The financial institution that had expected to buy the shares, Birtcher said, considers a potential acquisition of the company to be a violation of the private sale agreement. But Birtcher officials said they do not think they have violated the agreement and plan to proceed with the private placement.

Mark Matheson, an analyst with investment bank Crowell Weedon & Co. in Los Angeles, said an acquisition of Birtcher "could be a good deal. Someone is out there sniffing."

Birtcher's stock fell sharply in early Nasdaq trading Thursday, sinking as low as 25 cents a share at one point, but it recovered quickly and ended the day at $1.06 a share, up 6.3 cents.

Based in Irvine, Birtcher develops, makes and sells advanced electro-surgical products for hospital operating rooms, surgery centers and physicians' offices. The company, which employs about 120 people in Orange County, reported a loss of $20.9 million for its latest fiscal year. That compared with a loss of $2 million for the previous 12 months.

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