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Irvine's Rbid.com Offers to Buy Controlling Stake in Herbalife

September 26, 2000|From Times Staff and Wire Services

Rbid.com Inc., a small Irvine electronic commerce company, said late Monday that it has offered to pay $172 million for a controlling stake in dietary products distributor Herbalife International Inc.

Rbid.com, which picked up $210 million in financing last week, said it has extended its offer only to the Mark Hughes Family Trust, which owns nearly 54% of the Los Angeles company.

Rbid.com said it would pay $10.25 a share in cash for the trust's 5.95 million Class A common shares and $9.50 a share for the trust's 11.8 million Class B common shares, according to a news release. Executives at the companies could not be reached for comment.

Herbalife had about 10 million Class A shares and 18.7 million Class B shares outstanding as of Aug. 4.

The transaction would normally appear to be doomed were it not for a financing commitment Rbid received last Thursday from Marathon Corp.

Rbid lost $1.1 million in the first six months on less than $2 million in revenue. Its stock, which trades over-the-counter, lost 27 cents a share Monday to close at $1.59 a share. The stock has lost 15% of its value this year.

Herbalife earned $57 million last year on $956.2 million in sales. Its stock gained 6 cents Monday to close at $9.31 a share in Nasdaq trading.

Herbalife's former chief executive, Mark Hughes, was found dead May 21 after what the Los Angeles coroner concluded was a four-day drinking binge.

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Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

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