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Archive for Wednesday, December 29, 1999

JOSTENS TO BE SOLD FOR $950 MILLION

December 29, 1999

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J-W Wire Reports

New York -- Jostens Inc., the largest U.S. maker of school yearbooks and class rings, said it has agreed to be acquired by the Bahrain-based investment group Investcorp SA for $950 million in cash and debt.

Jostens shareholders will receive $25.25 per share in cash, a 38 percent premium to Jostens' closing share price Monday. Investcorp will also assume about $100 million in Jostens debt.

Following the deal, Jostens will be 94 percent owned by Investcorp and other co-investors, including DB Capital Partners and Jostens senior management.

Minneapolis-based Jostens -- which has production operations in Topeka -- also sells graduation products such as diplomas, announcements, caps and gowns and class pictures for schools throughout the United States and Canada.

The company has seen its sales slow and its stock price fall sharply this year. Jostens reported sales of $122.6 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $127 million a year earlier.

After touching a 52-week high of $27.125 in January, Jostens shares have fallen by about 48 percent this year to close Monday at $18.3125. In trading Tuesday, Jostens' shares climbed $5.9375, or 32.42 percent, to close at $24.25.

Jostens said Tuesday it planned to trim costs by cutting 100 jobs, or about 1.5 percent of its total workforce.

The company said it would take a fourth-quarter charge of about $20 million before taxes -- or $13.2 million, or 40 cents a share, after taxes -- to pay for the job cuts and a number of other restructuring moves.

"These actions will return our cost structure to a more normalized level, create a clear organizational focus on our school business and streamline our organization to enable quicker, more nimble decision-making," said Robert C. Buhrmaster, Jostens chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Excluding the charge, Jostens is expected to earn 42 cents per share in the fourth quarter, according to analysts surveyed by First Call Corp.

For the full year, Jostens said it expected to earn between $1.55 and $1.65 per share, excluding charges, which is line with Wall Street expectations.

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