$60M Lillian Vernon Acquisition Approved

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Lillian Vernon Corp.'s stockholders yesterday overwhelmingly approved the agreement that will let a private equity fund managed by Ripplewood Holdings LLC acquire the catalog and online marketer for $7.25 per share in cash.


Closing is expected within 10 days. The deal, originally announced in April, is valued at $60 million.


Company founder Lillian Vernon will serve as non-executive chairman and spokeswoman. She was expected to retain a 5 percent ownership position. Vernon held 26.1 percent of the stock while her son and company spokesman David Hochberg owned 14 percent of the company. He was not to retain an ownership share.


Ripplewood's industrial partner, ZelnickMedia, will handle daily management. Strauss Zelnick will be the company's chairman.


Ripplewood manages about $4 billion of committed capital through four institutional private equity funds, focusing on investments in the United States and Japan.


ZelnickMedia is a partnership of media executives that owns interests in, advises and manages media enterprises in recorded music, magazine publishing, CD manufacturing, online games and media-related software in the United States and Asia. ZelnickMedia has worked with Ripplewood on investment opportunities since Zelnick founded the firm two years ago.


Bear, Stearns & Co. Inc. was the adviser to ZelnickMedia and Ripplewood. Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as financial adviser to Lillian Vernon Corp.


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