The wrong number?

July 30, 2007

images8.jpegEarlier today, Verizon Wireless (a joint venture of Verizon (VZ) and Vodafone) announced that it was buying Rural Cellular (RCCC) for $757 million, or $45 a share.

While the price was a hefty 35% premium to the $31.81 that Rural closed at on Friday, it wasn’t much of a premium to Rural’s price last month, when it left a clue of a pending deal in this 8K that increased severance benefits for several top executives, including chief executive Richard Ekstrand and CFO Wesley Schultz. On June 27, the day that 8K was filed, the stock closed at $43.74, which is higher than it’s currently trading at right now.

It’s not clear from Rural’s filings why the stock dropped 27% over the past month. There were no earnings that disappointed and no other significant filings, other than three Form 4s disclosing sales by Kevin Douglas, who, according to the most recent proxy, owned 12.4% of Rural’s shares.

So this one is a bit of a puzzle: there was a clear clue that a deal was in the works, but buying the shares based on that filing would have been pretty disappointing.

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