Fisher Spurns Suitor

Investor scolds board for turning down premium price
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Fisher Communications (NASDAQ:FSCI) rejected an unsolicited cash buyout offer of between $43 and $45 a share in April, the Seattle company said this week.

“The board of directors unanimously concluded that the unsolicited expression was not in the best interests of shareholders,” Fisher said in a statement acknowledging the offer from an unidentified source.

Fisher shares traded at around $31 when the offer was turned down, leaving at least one institutional investor peeved. FrontFour Capital Group, a hedge fund management outfit in New York, issued a press release describing a letter it sent to the Fisher board from Portfolio Manager David A. Lorber.

“We are extremely disappointed by the board of directors“ apparent unwillingness to engage in discussions with a potential buyer,” Lorber said. “Given the board and management“s failure to create shareholder value over the past two-and-a-half years, the board“s rejection of an unsolicited indication of interest at a 35 to 40 percent premium, announced June 23, 2008, has left us no choice but to publicly express our discontent.”

Lorber went on to suggest that Fisher end all thoughts of acquisitions and make nice with the next company wanting to give it $12 to $14 a share more than it“s trading for.

“We believe that this board should immediately announce the retention of an investment advisor with a clear mandate to engage all strategic and financial buyers in a transaction that would maximize shareholder value,” Lorber said. “Additionally, this Board should affirmatively announce a permanent moratorium on all acquisitions.”

Fisher stocks held at around $35 throughout the news of the deal and the subsequent tongue-lashing from FrontFour.