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CALIFORNIA | BANKING | THE STATE

Great Western Implores Shareholders

March 06, 1997|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Chatsworth-based Great Western Financial Corp. implored its shareholders to shun the embrace of its rival in the savings and loan business, H.F. Ahmanson & Co., while it ponders Ahmanson's takeover bid and any alternatives that emerge. Irwindale-based Ahmanson made the all-stock offer public on Feb. 18. It is currently worth about $6.1 billion--more than 30% above Great Western's pre-offer market value. In a letter to his shareholders, Great Western Chief Executive John F. Maher called Ahmanson's tactics "a blatant attempt to limit Great Western's board's options and flexibility in evaluating Ahmanson's proposal and related matters." Ahmanson Chief Executive Charles Rinehart has said he could cut costs by $400 million a year after a Great Western merger, mainly by closing 200 Great Western branches and firing more than 5,000 of Great Western's 14,400 employees. Ahmanson said GW's letter was misleading. "This is further obfuscation by Great Western in terms of their shareholders," an Ahmanson spokesman said. "Our consent solicitation only applies if their board acts unreasonably."

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