Founders raise bid to take American Greetings private

Thu Jan 17, 2013 6:21pm EST

Jan 17 (Reuters) - American Greetings Corp's founding family raised its offer price to take the gift card and party goods company private, sending its shares up 10 percent in extended trading.

Chief Executive Zev Weiss, other members of the founding Weiss family and related parties offered $17.50 per American Greetings share, up from their previous offer of $17.18.

The deal, which values the company at about $553.7 million, based on 31.6 million shares outstanding, represents a premium of 13 percent to the stock's Thursday close of $15.48.

In a letter to the company's board, Weiss said the group, which held about 80 percent of American Greetings' Class B shares as of Jan. 17, has secured over $700 million of bank financing for the proposed deal. ()

Weiss also said the group does not intend to further increase the offer price.

The initial offer made last September valued American Greetings at about $581 million, based on 33.8 million Class A common shares outstanding at the time.

American Greetings, whose brands include American Greetings, Carlton Cards and Gibson, formed a special committee to review the proposal, but no decision was made.

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