Maytag Shareholder Protests Offer
May 31, 2005
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A California, U.S. company holding 10.5 percent of Maytag Corp. stock said it would vote against the proposed purchase of Maytag by a group of private investors.

Brandes Investment Partners LP and affiliated companies and executives filed a document with the Securities Exchange Commission indicating displeasure with the offer of U.S. $14 a share for Maytag.

Maytag announced May 19 that it has agreed to be bought by New York, U.S.-based Ripplewood Holdings LLC and three partners for $1.13 billion in cash and assumption of $975 million of Maytag debt.

Brandes Investment Partners said in the document filed with the SEC said $14 is inadequate "relative to their estimate of the current fair value" of Maytag stock.

"As a result, the reporting persons currently intend to vote against the proposed merger," the document said. It said Brandes Investment Partners owns 8,395,996 shares.

Maytag shares closed on May 27 down $0.18, or 1.2 percent, at $14.49 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Brandes officials said they may seek analysis of the proposed deal from industry experts and request discussions with officials of Ripplewood and Maytag "to suggest possible changes in the proposed merger to enhance shareholder value."

Timothy Collins, CEO of New York-based Ripplewood Holdings LLC, said he believes the $14 per share offer is fair.

"We've been looking at this industry for 5 or 6 years, and we've been looking at this company for 15 months. If we didn't think we were giving the shareholders a full and fair price, we wouldn't have raised our hand to do this," Mr. Collins said.

Other shareholders also have said they plan to oppose the deal and some industry analysts have speculated another buyer could surface with a better offer.

The board of directors of Newton-based Maytag has approved the merger agreement and intends to recommend to Maytag's shareholders that they adopt it.

The sale is expected to close before year's end, pending regulatory and shareholder approval. (Associated Press)

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