Hearst Corp.’s $600 million offer to take TV station group Hearst-Argyle television private expired late Friday, after too few investors agreed to tender their shares.
Hearst, which already owns 73% of Hearst-Argyle stock, made the offer on Aug. 24 for about $23.50 per share. While that price was a premium to Hearst-Argyle’s trading price at the time, many investors believed it was too low.
Hearst-Argyle appointed a special committee of independent directors to review the offer on Aug. 27. On Sept. 27, that special committee recommended rejecting the Hearst offer, finding it “inadequate and not in the best interests of Hearst-Argyle Television stockholders, other than The Hearst Corp. and its affiliates.”
Hearst had stuck to its guns with the offer, vowing that it would not raise the price as the Oct. 12 deadline for the tender drew near. Late on that expiration date, the media giant proved that it wasn’t bluffing.
“Hearst Corp. announced today that its previously announced tender offer to acquire all of Hearst-Argyle Television’s shares of Series A Common Stock that it does not already own has expired, stating that the conditions precedent to the tender offer have not been satisfied,” Hearst said in a statement. “All Hearst-Argyle Television shares previously validly tendered pursuant to the offer will be returned promptly in accordance with the terms of the offer.”
Hearst-Argyle shares were down $1.50 each (6%) in early trading Monday to $23.54 per share.