Shares of Stewart Enterprises, which runs
funeral homes and cemeteries, plummeted today after rival Service
Corporation International withdrew a takeover offer.
Houston-based Service said in a statement late last night it
rejected Stewart's demand that Service finance the entire deal,
that Service assume all responsibility and risk for gaining
regulatory approval and raise its $11-per-share offer for the
Jefferson, Louisiana-based company.
The two sides had been in talks since July 23rd after Stewart
rejected a previous offer of $9.50 a share on July 14th.
Stewart, in a news release early today, responded that it "was
surprised and disappointed by the unexpected withdrawal." The
company also said it "will continue to assess all of our
alternatives" and remains open to doing a deal with Service.
Stewart owns 221 funeral homes and 139 cemeteries in the United
States and Puerto Rico.
Service owns 1,300 funeral homes and 350 cemeteries in the
United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. In 2006, Service paid $1.2
billion to acquire Alderwoods Group, another major chain.