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Just before the presses rolled…

press.jpegLast Thursday, Readers Digest announced that it was being acquired by Ripplewood Holdings in a $2.4 billion deal. But the day before the deal was announced, Readers Digest Chairman Thomas O. Ryder entered into an amended employment contract according to this exhibit filed yesterday. Under the agreement, Ryder is set to receive up to a $4 million severance payment, provided the deal with Ripplewood is completed by the end of next June.

Ryder, who had announced his plans to step down as chairman at the end of this year last October, will stick around for another six months, according to the most recent agreement. But he still plans to step down as chairman. His new title will be "special advisor" to the CEO. But it won’t be that special — Ryder will only be paid $5,000 a month for his services, a fraction of what other top executives get (just pick any recent bank merger) in similar situations. Still, there is that $4 million severance. And over 3 million shares of stock, which is roughly worth over $50 million based on Ripplewood’s acquisition price of $17 a share.

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