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Des Moines Hospital Basks in Lampoon Takeover

December 5, 1986

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ A takeover battle for National Lampoon Inc. has been a financial shot in the arm for Des Moines General Hospital, the company’s largest shareholder.

Des Moines General stands to at least double its money on its 150,000 shares, according to Dennis Barsky, the hospital’s financial vice president, who said he never reads the company’s satirical magazine but has been watching the bidding war with glee.

″We’re enjoying this,″ Barsky said Friday.

Despite National Lampoon’s losses of $544,000 in the first nine months of the year, two suitors are aggressively pressing bids of $7 and $7.10 a share. General Hospital bought its 9.7 percent stake in the company at between $2 and $3 a share, Barsky said.

Barsky said General Hospital began changing its portfolio early last year. ″We looked at a number of undervalued situations, and we use the reverse crowd theory. If everybody else is avoiding it, we give it a look.″

General Hospital isn’t interested in just any Wall Street discard, however, Barsky said. ″We make sure there’s nothing totally negative.

″But National Lampoon, they have no debt. How can you get hurt by a company that just makes money and has no debt?″

National Lampoon said Thursday it had received a bid of $11.4 million, or $7.10 a share, from a group led by Mark E. Shanker, former executive vice president of Holdings International Ltd.

National Lampoon also said it received a bid of $11.2 million, or $7 a share, from an investor group headed by Anthony Cassara, former president of Golden West Television Inc., who would pay $7 a share.

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