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Card maker American Greetings will go private

Shareholders must OK the deal to go private.

Associated Press/File

Shareholders must OK the deal to go private.

CLEVELAND — American Greetings has agreed to be taken private by a group led by some of its top executives in a deal that values the company at about $580 million.

The greeting card and gift seller said Monday that a group formed by the Weiss family, including chairman Morry Weiss, chief executive Zev Weiss, and others, will buy the shares of the company they don’t already own for $18.20 per share in cash.

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This is a 13 percent premium to American Greetings Corp.’s closing price of $16.10 last Thursday.

If the board declares a quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share and the deal closed in July as expected, shareholders would receive $18.35 per share.

The Weiss family initially offered to buy the Cleveland company in September for $17.18 per share.

The company values the entire deal at $878 million including assumed debt and the settlement of stock options not held by the Weiss family.

American Greetings said that the acquisition will be financed with a combination of the contributions of company stock owned by the Weiss family, cash funded by a $240 million nonvoting preferred stock investment committed by a subsidiary of Koch Industries Inc., $600 million in debt financing, and available cash.

The board unanimously approved the deal, which still needs shareholder approval.

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