Johnson Outdoors’ merger plan fails

RACINE, Wis. - A bid by family members to take Johnson Outdoors Inc., private failed earlier this week after a vote by shareholders failed to achieve the 66-2/3 percent of the votes needed to approve such a move, the company reported in a press release.

Johnson Outdoors Inc., said its proposed merger with JO Acquisition Corp. received enormous support from Johnson Outdoors' longstanding shareholders, but did not receive the support of some institutions that more recently became shareholders.

Under the terms of the proposed merger, which was announced on Oct. 29, 2004, all shareholders of Johnson Outdoors, other than JO Acquisition Corp. and members of the Johnson family (the Buy-Out Group), would have received $20.10 per share in cash, and the Buy-Out Group would have acquired 100 percent ownership of Johnson Outdoors.

"While the outcome of today's vote isn't what we had hoped for, I want to thank all of our shareholders who supported this merger and reaffirm my strong commitment to Johnson Outdoors and its future," said Helen Johnson-Leipold, the chairman and CEO of Johnson Outdoors.

Johnson Outdoors Inc. also issued a press release earlier this week saying the Johnson family would not raise its offer for the recreation equipment maker.

Previously a hedge fund had suggested the bid by the family's JO Acquisition Corp. was not high enough, but a spokeswoman for the buyout group said that the price of $20.10 a share would not be raised.

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