Fisher Spurned $211 Mil Offer

Fisher Communications turned down a $211 million offer to acquire the company from a Canadian real estate outfit called Huntingdon Real Estate Investment Trust, reports Puget Sound Business Journal.

Huntingdon, based outside Vancouver, reportedly offered just shy of $24 a share for Fisher last month–an 18% premium over Seattle-based Fisher’s stock price Dec. 3.

Huntingdon didn’t take the abrupt rejection lightly. Reports the paper:

Huntingdon officials said they originally broached the buyout offer to Fisher CEO Colleen Brown and Fisher’s board in a Dec. 6 letter. In a Jan. 3 letter to Brown and the board, Huntingdon officials said they were “astonished” that the board rejected Huntingdon’s offer just four days later.

“Equally astonishing is the complete absence in that (Dec. 10) letter of any attempt to explain on what basis the Fisher board reached its conclusion that the proposal is not in the best interest of Fisher and its shareholders,” Huntingdon wrote on Jan. 3.

Huntingdon officials said they were going public with their buyout plan “so that Fisher shareholders can make their own assessment of the sufficiency of our proposal.”

Fisher said in a statement today that its board of directors “carefully reviewed and considered the proposal shortly after receiving it. With the exception of one director as discussed below, the Fisher board unanimously concluded that the proposal is not in the best interest of the shareholders, and determined not to pursue the proposal.”

Indeed, Fisher dealt with its dissenting director. Says the statement:

David Lorber has been excused from all Fisher board deliberations and reports in connection with the Huntingdon offer. In addition to serving on Fisher’s Board, Mr. Lorber also is a member of the Board of Trustees of Huntingdon. Furthermore, according to publicly available information, FrontFour Capital Group LLC is the largest shareholder of Huntingdon, and Mr. Lorber is a co-founder and current portfolio manager of FrontFour, and Huntingdon’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Zachary George, is also a co-founder and managing member of FrontFour.

Fisher owns 20 television stations and 10 radio stations.

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.