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M&F Worldwide Overpaid for Panavision, Analyst Says

January 15, 2002|From Bloomberg News

M&F Worldwide Corp. officials paid about $200 million more than they should have for financier Ronald Perelman's majority stake in movie camera maker Panavision Inc., an investment analyst testified.

Executives at M&F, in which Perelman owns a 35% stake, agreed to pay $190 million for his 83% of Panavision last year. Shareholders who sued over the purchase said it was engineered to bail the billionaire financier out of a bad investment.

Panavision was loaded with debt and faced problems making payments on its bonds, said Elliot Larner, an analyst with New York's Tweedy Browne Co.

"I felt MFW overpaid for Panavision by something like $200 million," which would have been the entire purchase price, Larner said as the trial of M&F shareholders' suits over the Panavision purchase began in Delaware Chancery Court.

Nearly half a dozen M&F investors say the firm's board wasn't looking out for shareholders' best interests in agreeing to buy out Perelman, best known as chairman of cosmetics maker Revlon Inc.

Shares of Woodland Hills-based Panavision, which have risen 22% over the last 12 months, rose 10 cents to close at $4.75 on the New York Stock Exchange. M&F's shares, which have fallen 7% in the same period, dipped 8 cents to close at $4.45, also on the NYSE.

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