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Victorinox bids for rest of Swiss Army Brands

Victorinox is looking to totally control its North American distribution network. Victorinox

Swiss knife maker Victorinox has made an offer to buy the shares of its American distributor it doesn't already own.

Victorinox, one of the two companies that make Swiss army knives, already has a two-thirds stake in Swiss Army Brands. It has tabled an offer worth $9 per share, or $24.9 million (SFr38.87 million) for the remaining third.

According to documents submitted to the American Securities and Exchanges Commission, the stock market watchdog, the purchase price is 44.4 per cent over the June 10 closing price for Swiss Army Brands shares on the Nasdaq market.

If the acquisition is 100 per cent successful, Swiss Army Brands will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Victorinox, and the distributor will no longer be listed on the stock market. The Swiss company announced it would make its offer via another newly formed subsidiary.

It has also reserved the right to modify, amend or withdraw its proposal at any time.

Swiss Army Brands sells Victorinox’s knives and other products such as multi-tools in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. Sales were over $129 million in 2001, down 1.9 per cent over the previous year, and finished with losses of $3.1 million.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR