Magazine article American Banker

TNS Founder: 'Handcuffs Off'

Magazine article American Banker

TNS Founder: 'Handcuffs Off'

Article excerpt

John J. McDonnell Jr., rebuffed by the board of TNS Inc. in a bid to lead a group of insiders in taking the company private, says he plans now to pursue his bid from the outside.

Mr. McDonnell, who was ousted as chairman and chief executive of the Reston, Va., network vendor, said he still wants to buy it, and as quickly as possible -- in a hostile bid if need be.

"That is my intent," he told American Banker last week. "Now that they have taken the handcuffs off, it is my intent to try to put together the financing for another bid."

TNS, a provider of communications services for transaction processors, announced last week that Mr. McDonnell, its founder, had resigned from its board. The board had removed him as chairman in August and as CEO in September. Having cut his last insider tie to company, he is free to pursue a new offer.

The rift between Mr. McDonnell and the board began in March when he made an offer to take TNS private at $22 a share. The board set up a special committee to evaluate his offer and other competing offers. Eventually the committee rejected Mr. McDonnell's offer and the others, saying they undervalued TNS and were never firm. (The shares were at $15.92 in midday trading Monday.)

In Mr. McDonnell's letter of resignation from the board last week, he asserted that his was a firm offer, and he complained that the board was "continuing to attempt to shackle me from seeking a fair offer for the company."

In response to his letter, the board rebutted his claims, but did release Mr. McDonnell "from any further obligation to" a standstill agreement. …

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