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London Company Says No Interest In Payless Cashways

July 12, 1988

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The London firm Ward White Group PLC has said it is not interested in pursuing the acquisition of Payless Cashways Inc. after reviewing information about the building materials firm.

″Any interest we had is withdrawn,″ David Bick, a spokesman for Ward White, said Monday.

Molson Cos. Ltd., a diversified Canadian company, also said Monday that it did not have any interest in acquiring Payless after examining public information about the company. Sanjib Choudhuri, senior vice president of corporate development and planning, declined to say why his company lost interest.

Senior management of Payless has offered $27 a share to take the company private. The offer was made to thwart an unfriendly takeover attempt by New York investor Asher Edelman and Sutherland Lumber-Southwest Inc., a competitor of Payless.

The offer by Payless management is worth $909 million.

Bick said Ward White was approached by an investment banking firm two or three weeks ago about Payless. He said Ward White agreed to request information about Payless because a takeover seemed worth considering, but Ward White’s interest was never great.

″We no longer need nor want the information,″ Bick said.

Ward White owns the third-largest building materials retailing chain in the United Kingdom.

The Edelman-Sutherland group is Payless’ largest shareholder with 8.1 percent of the stock. It had said for weeks that it is interested in acquiring Payless, but has not made a formal offer.

The offer from Payless management requires the approval of two-thirds of the shareholders, who have until 3 to respond.

Payless has 200 stores in 26 states.

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