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July 08, 1999

* Stock in St. John Knits Inc. ceased trading on the NYSE as the founding Gray family and a New York investment firm closed a deal to buy the upscale women's clothing company for $30 a share. The shares closed Tuesday at $29.75, a three-month high. An affiliate of New York-based Vestar Capital Partners now owns 78% of the newly structured company, St. John Knits International Inc., based in Irvine, and Chief Executive Robert E. Gray and his family own about 15%. About 7% of the shares are still publicly held; these will trade in the low-profile over-the-counter market.

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