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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS

Westcorp, Subsidiary Offer Shareholders Discount Buy

March 03, 2001|From Dow Jones Newswires

Westcorp Inc. and its publicly traded auto finance unit, WFS Financial Inc., said Friday they will give shareholders, at no cost, rights to purchase additional shares of common stock at a discount.

The two Irvine companies announced separately that they will distribute one subscription right per common share to holders on or near March 26, when the companies' registration statements are expected to become effective. Stock purchase prices will be decided then as well.

Proceeds from both offerings will go toward improvements in the automobile finance business. The subscription rights are transferable and expected to trade on Nasdaq under the symbol WES Rt for Westcorp and WFSIR for WFS Financial until they expire on or about April 24.

As of Thursday, Westcorp had about 31.9 million common shares outstanding and WFS Financial had about 28.4 million common shares outstanding.

Ernest S. Rady, chairman of both companies, plans to exercise his subscription and other rights. Rady owns about 68% of Westcorp's stock. Its wholly owned Western Financial Bank subsidiary owns 87% of WFS.

Shares of Westcorp gained 15 cents Friday to close at $16.89 on the New York Stock Exchange, while WFS stock lost 25 cents to close at $18.25 a share on Nasdaq.

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