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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Datum Wary of Unsolicited Buyout Bid

November 11, 1999|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Datum Inc. said Wednesday that it has hired an investment banking firm to evaluate an unsolicited buyout bid from a New York firm, but also put in place a "poison pill" plan that would help discourage a hostile takeover.

The moves came a day after Frequency Electronics Inc., a manufacturer of electronic devices, offered to acquire Irvine-based Datum for $58 million, or $10 a share, 29% more than the stock's price of $7.75 before the bid.

Datum's stock rose $1.25, or 16%, to $9 a share Wednesday. A total of 218,100 shares changed hands on the Nasdaq market, more than five times the average daily volume over the last three months.

Datum, which makes sophisticated timing devices to synchronize the flow of information in telecommunications networks, hired Hambrecht & Quist as its financial advisors to help evaluate Frequency's offer to pay cash or stock, or a combination of both.

Datum also hired Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth and Potter Anderson & Corroon as its legal advisors, and said its evaluating the situation.

The company will announce Friday whether it is accepting or rejecting the offer, or deferring a decision, said Erik H. van der Kaay, president and chief executive officer.

Under the poison pill plan, shareholders would receive a right to an additional share of stock for every share that they own if a person or group acquires a certain amount of Datum stock. Van der Kaay declined to say what that threshold level would be.

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