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Management Group Wants To Take Dickey-John Private

October 29, 1987

AUBURN, Ill. (AP) _ Two directors of the Dickey-John Corp. and their associates have made an initial offer of $28.1 million in a bid to take the agricultural instrument company private.

Directors William Nicklin and Vincent Gorguze and others offered $20.50 per share for the 21-year-old company, which once employed 1,000 people but now has about 480 workers.

Chairman Robert Lanphier, who holds a 7.7 percent interest in the company, said he will not be part of the management group seeking the leveraged buyout.

He said Wednesday he might remain with the company, which manufactures measuring devices for farm equipment and commodities, if some other buyer tops the offer made by Nicklin and Gorguze.

Nicklin, a former Emerson Electric Co. executive from St. Louis, and Gorguze, a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., broker, have been seeking control of the company for several months. They postponed a proxy fight at an Aug. 25 board meeting, and a special four-member committee was named to decide whether it should remain a publicly traded company.

When the committee recommended the company be sold, the Nicklin-Gorguze group resubmitted the $20.50-per-share bid, first made last summer.

″The committee’s decision was based on the desire of (holders) of a majority of the shares that wanted liquidity,″ said Warren Kelly, senior vice president.

The takeover group, which holds or controls at least 10 percent of Dickey- John stock and also includes President Gary Barbera, has no plans to move the company from its plant south of Auburn, officials said.

The company’s stock was up 50 cents at $16.50 in over-the counter trading Thursday.

Share prices had slipped to $11.50 during the recent worldwide plunge in stock prices.

The stock market slide has, in effect, heightened shareholders’ desire to sell, Kelly said.

Other offers will be accepted through Dec. 31, he said.

Dickey-John reported earnings of $54,000 for the quarter ending Sept. 30 compared to losses of $78,000 for the same period a year ago. Quarterly sales topped $6.4 million, up 1.5 percent over the same period in 1986.

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