Home shopper ups hostile bid

ValueVision Intl. Inc., the newly public home shopping company, made a hostile tender bid for infomercial-maker National Media Corp. for more than $ 100 million.

The offer follows National Media’s rejection of a slightly cheaper ValueVision bid last week. Rather than upping its offer to the board, ValueVision took its case directly to shareholders.

“We are confident that once National Media’s shareholders have an opportunity to review first-hand the strength of our offer, they will come to the same conclusion that we have — that our offer is in the best interest of both their company and its shareholders,” Robert L. Johander, ValueVision’s chairman/CEO, said in a statement.

National Media declined to comment.

“There will be a response, but it’s premature right now to comment,” said Craig Streem, National Media vice president of investor relations.

ValueVision, which hired Salomon Brothers Inc. to line up financing, offered $ 10.50 a share in cash for about 5.8 million shares of National Media stock. With the 1.2 million shares of National Media stock it already owns, ValueVision would own a 50.2% stake in National Media. ValueVision then proposes to buy the remaining stock for the equivalent of $ 10.50 a share in its own stock. The offer will begin no later than Wednesday.

The company made a similar offer to National Media’s board for $ 10 a share, which was rejected last week.

ValueVision, founded by execs from the Cable Value Network, hits about 10 million homes, and 2 million of those are full time. Some of National Media’s more popular infomercials include Tony Little’s personal training video and an exercise device hawked by former Olympian Bruce Jenner. The announcement came after the stock market closed and in New York Stock Exchange trading, National Media closed unchanged at $ 10.75. When ValueVision made its $ 10 bid, National Media was trading at $ 7.75.

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