NEW YORK — Swiss Army Brands Inc., a division of Victorinox AG, said Monday that chairman Peter Gilson and president A. Jeffrey Turner plan to resign “in the immediate future,” although the company did not specify when.
This story first appeared in the July 30, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This follows news last week that Swiss firm Victorinox AG has agreed to purchase the remaining outstanding shares — about 33 percent — of Swiss Army that it doesn’t already own. Swiss Army makes pocket knives, watches, sunglasses and a variety of other products.
On Monday, Victorinox said that Susanne Rechner, senior vice president of global watches at SABI, was to be designated president of Swiss Army Brands if and when the tender offer is completed. Both Gilson and Turner have indicated their intention to tender all the shares they hold.
As part of the agreement, Victorinox will pay $9 a share in cash for the approximate 2.7 million outstanding shares of SABI held by other holders. The deal is slated to be completed in mid-August, according to a firm spokesman.
The two companies have engaged in legal rankling in recent months regarding the sale. In June, both companies issued statements announcing the tender offer, but later in the month a number of lawsuits were filed on behalf of shareholders of SABI asserting that Victorinox’s offer was “unfair” and “grossly inadequate.”
In regard to the latest deal, a special outside committee determined that the tender offer is “fair and in the best interest of stockholders of Swiss Army Brands,” Victorinox stated. Most of the lawsuits are still pending, according to the spokesman.
Victorinox, headquartered in Ibach-Schwyz, Switzerland, also makes pocket knives and tools.
In the first quarter ended March 31, SABI, based in Shelton, Conn., reported a loss of $936,000, an improvement over a loss of $2.3 million in the previous year’s quarter. Revenue gained 17.6 percent to $24.7 million.
In recent years, Swiss Army has begun to add more categories and promote itself as a lifestyle brand.