Supplier News

MICHAEL ANTHONY REJECTS OROAMERICA’S OFFER

Michael Anthony Jewelers Inc. has rejected an unsolicited offer from OroAmerica, a major competitor, to buy the Mount Vernon, N.Y., company.

Michael Anthony’s board of directors met Feb. 16 to review the company’s long-term strategic plan and preliminary results for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31. Those results were expected to be “substantially better” than the previous year’s, according to the company. The board unanimously rejected OroAmerica’s offer as “inadequate” and “not in the best interest” of Michael Anthony and its stockholders.

OroAmerica, headquartered in Burbank, Calif., had offered on Feb. 11 to pay $6 a share in an all-cash transaction for all of Michael Anthony’s common stock. That offer was 85% above Michael Anthony’s closing stock price of $3.25 on Feb. 10 and 41% above its highest closing price over the last three years.

Michael Anthony Jewelers makes and markets more than 8,000 styles of karat gold jewelry (retailing from $20 to $200) and watches ($300 to $1,300). It also makes specialty products, such as sports and character jewelry, through licensing agreements with sports leagues, entertainment groups, and colleges. The company was founded by brothers Michael (co-chairman and CEO) and Anthony Paolercio (co-chairman and executive vice president), who own more than 30% of the company. It employs some 550 people and had sales of about $130 million in fiscal 1998.

OroAmerica designs, manufactures, and distributes more than 1,800 lines of gold and silver jewelry, most of which retails for $30 to $200. Founder and CEO Guy Benhamou owns 57% of the stock. The firm employs about 1,200 people; its sales for fiscal 1998 were almost $160 million. It has manufacturing facilities in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, and Peru. – William George Shuster