Clinton Cards US owner could go private after bid

THE AMERICAN greetings card giant that saved Clinton Cards when the company plunged into administration this year has received a bid from a consortium led by its chief executive to take it private.

American Greetings, which makes and supplies cards for retailers, said yesterday that brothers Zev and Jeffrey Weiss, the firm’s chief executive and chief operating officer, had tabled an offer valuing the company at $580m (£359m). A successful deal would take American Greetings back into Weiss family hands after more than 50 years as a public company.

The company said the board will form a committee of independent directors to consider the bid of $17.18 per share. News of the offer moved American Greetings’ shares up 17 per cent yesterday from their $14.34 price before the bid was announced.

Clintons, was one of the US firm’s biggest customers before it went into administration in May. American Greetings swooped in in June to save around 400 stores – around half the total outlets – and unveiled a new image, including a name change to Clintons, under the control of Schurman Retail Group. Clintons said the retailer’s turnaround would be unaffected by the takeover.

American Greetings was founded by the Weisses’ ancestor Jacob Sapirstein in 1906 and went public in 1958. Zev became chief executive in 2003 when his father Morry – who remains chairman – stepped down. “After careful consideration, we have concluded that the best course of action is for American Greetings to return to its roots,” Zev Weiss said.