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Citicorp Offers $680 million for Information Concern

March 19, 1986

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Citicorp has revived its efforts, with a $680 million cash bid, to buy Quotron, a Los Angeles-based information concern that provides stock quotations and database services to customers around the world.

The takeover proposal was made Tuesday in a letter from Citicorp Chairman John S. Reed to Quotron’s chairman and chief executive, Milton E. Mohr.

New York-based Citicorp, the nation’s largest bank holding company, had held merger talks with Quotron late last year, but those broke down.

Quotron did not solicit the new bid, Quotron marketing Vice President George Lavine said in a telephone interview from New York. ″It comes as a surprise to us.″

Asked if Quotron was agreeable to such an offer, Lavine replied: ″That’s for our board of directors to decide.″

Citicorp said it would seek approval of the takeover plan from federal regulators later this week, with a decision expected about a month later.

Asked if Citicorp was making an unsolicited bid, company spokesman John Maloney said, ″All of our discussions up to now have been friendly.″

He said officials of Quotron ″have only received our latest offer today and haven’t had a chance to respond.″

In the letter, Reed said: ″As per our many converstations, I believe that this is an important and exciting step for both of us. ... I believe that we have offered good value for your existing shareholders and am convinced that Quotron can greatly accelerate its development and role in the information business as part of Citicorp’s family.″

Citicorp is offering $19 a share for Quotron’s stock, which closed Tuesday in over-the-counter trading at $16.25, up $1.12 1/2 per share for the day amid speculation that a takeover offer was in the works.

Quotron provides stock quotations and database services through approximately 80,000 customer terminals worldwide.

Citicorp said it intends to operate Quotron as the major unit in a separate information segment subsidiary.

Citicorp currently is involved in a number of information-service joint ventures, including one with RCA to provide videotext, home banking and home shopping and one with McGraw Hill that provides commodities services and is aimed at establishing an electronic marketplace in commodities.

″Quotron would be by far the largest part of this segment,″ Maloney said.

Citicorp’s offer is being made to Quotron’s board. If Quotron directors approve the plan, it would be submitted to shareholders.

Citicorp said it hoped to retain Quotron’s officers and directors after a takeover.

In 1985, Quotron earned $22.1 million, or 64 cents per share, on revenues of $205.6 million. That was down from 1984 when it earned $26.8 million, or 78 cents per share, on revenues of $189.8 million.