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Restaurant chain may offer its 6.66 percent of Reds for sale

March 20, 1997

CINCINNATI (AP) _ Two minority owners of a restaurant chain that owns a minority interest in the Cincinnati Reds said Wednesday they want to sell a 6.66 percent share of the club for $10 million.

The announcement touched off an internal dispute in which management of the chain, which owns one of the 15 shares in the Reds, accused the minority directors of ``grandstanding.″

Wolverine Partners _ Barry Nussbaum and Jerry Ruyan _ acquired an 8.7 percent interest last year in Frisch’s Restaurants, Inc., which operates 103 restaurants in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Louisville, Ky.

Nussbaum said the proposed sale fit into Wolverine Partners’ plan to sell ``certain non-performing or underperforming″ assets owned by Frisch’s.

``The Wolverine platform announced nearly a year ago identified the Red’s share as an asset that clearly fit that category,″ Nussbaum said.

Frisch’s responded late Wednesday with a statement castigating Nussbaum and Ruyan for taking their plan public.

``We are astonished that Mr. Nussbaum and Mr. Ruyan, company directors, would take their proposals directly to the media, rather than formally present them first to the board or its special committee. Their actions are totally inconsistent with all rules of corporate governance,″ the statement said.

``We believe that it is in our shareholders’ best interests for our board members to conduct the company’s business in the boardroom, not in the media. Today’s announcement by Wolverine Partners is obviously a grandstand play designed to promote Mr. Nussbaum’s and Mr. Ruyan’s self interest.″

Nussbaum said he had received preliminary approval of other unspecified minority owners of the Reds and of the National League. But he acknowledged that he and Ruyan would have to convince a majority of Frisch’s eight-member board to sell the company’s share of the Reds.

``I don’t understand why they’d be astonished,″ Nussbaum said of management’s. ``We’ve been saying since last year the Reds need to be sold.″

Nussbaum proposes splitting Frisch’s one share into 20 parts and selling each part for $500,000. If one share produced $10 million, that would establish the Reds franchise value at about $150 million.

Marge Schott, the Reds’ general partner, owns 6 1/2 shares. Minority partners are Frisch’s (1 share); Carl Kroch (1); Carl Lindner (1 1/2); Gannett Co. (1); Mrs. Louis Nippert (2); William Reik Jr. (1); and George Strike (1).

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