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Day Runner Acquires Filofax

Deal: In relatively brief negotiations, Irvine-based maker buys British counterpart for nearly $84.5 million.

September 26, 1998|LESLIE EARNEST | TIMES STAFF WRITER

One day after announcing an unsolicited bid for a British competitor, Day Runner Inc. said Friday it has worked out a deal to buy the company, Filofax Group Plc.

In a whirlwind effort featuring negotiations that stretched into Thursday night, Irvine-based Day Runner sweetened its offer by about $4 million to nearly $84.5 million.

It also began buying Filofax stock on the open market. By Friday, it had collected shares and "irrevocable commitments" from shareholders that would have given Day Runner a 23.2% stake in the stationery products manufacturer. Filofax directors accepted the new offer.

"We put a lot of energy into learning how the process here works and developed a strategy to make this happen, and we're delighted," said Judy Tucker, vice president of business development for Day Runner, which makes organizers and personal planners. "One person said we did it over a cup of tea, but the cup of tea got very cold."

Day Runner agreed to pay about $3.53 per share, a 50% premium over Filofax's Wednesday closing price of about $2.35 a share. Originally, Day Runner had offered to pay $3.36 a share, or $80.5 million. The acquisition will be funded with a bank loan.

Tucker said the deal should be completed by the end of November.

Day Runner launched its unsolicited takeover bid on Thursday as part of its strategy to expand internationally. The stock closed Friday at $19.50 a share, up 38 cents, in Nasdaq trading.

Day Runner said Filofax generated sales of about $63.3 million, about 14% in the United States, in the fiscal year ended June 30. Day Runner's sales for the fiscal year ended June 30 were $167.8 million.

Filofax is known for its ring binders, a 1980s status symbol, and makes business forms and high-end pens.

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