Kayak maker Johnson Outdoors Inc. of Racine, Wis., will remain a public company, after a special meeting of shareholders did not produce the favorable supermajority vote required under Wisconsin law.
The firm announced in October its plan to go private in a transaction valued at $177.3 million. The Johnson family had formed JO Acquisition Corp. to conduct the transaction. The late Samuel C. Johnson's family members include Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Outdoors.
Under terms of the deal, public shareholders would have received $20.10 per share in cash, and family members would have acquired 100 percent ownership.
``Our goal was, and still is, to return this company to its origins as a private, family-owned enterprise, free of the constraints and costs of operating as a publicly traded entity,'' Johnson-Leipold said at that time.
Among other requirements, the plan would have had to receive an affirmative nod from 66.6 percent of the voters. The votes had to be cast at a special shareholders meeting March 22, and had to come from shareholders other than members of the buy-out group and their affiliates or associates, according to a company news release.
``While the outcome of today's vote isn't what we had hoped for, I want to thank all of our shareholders who supported this merger and reaffirm my strong commitment to Johnson Outdoors and its future,'' Johnson-Leipold said in a March 22 statement.
The rotational molder had not released the outcome of the vote.
Johnson-Leipold has said she believes that being private and family-owned would have provided a competitive advantage for the company, giving management freedom and flexibility.