Johnson Outdoors sued over buyout offer

MADISON, Wis. – A shareholder alleging that the Johnson family is trying to take Johnson Outdoors Inc. private at a price unfair to minority shareholders, has filed a lawsuit against the company, a story in yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Johnson Outdoors said last week that director Samuel C. Johnson and his daughter, Helen Johnson-Leipold, who is chairman and chief executive, are offering $18 a share to buy the portion of the company not already owned by the Johnson family.

Shares of the company moved higher than the $18 offer price when the news was announced last week, and at the close of business Wednesday stood at $18.95, the Journal Sentinel reported.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in Racine County Circuit Court on behalf of shareholder Robert Buchta, asks the court to require that the Johnson’s offer be approved by a majority of the minority shareholders, the newspaper reported.

The suit contends that there can be no independent committee of the company’s board of directors because the family controls the board, according to the story.

In its initial release on the offer last week, the company said the Johnsons expect the company board will appoint a committee of independent directors to evaluate their proposal and obtain a fairness recommendation from financial advisers.

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