Feeling the investment waters were a bit too chilly, Westinghouse Electric Corp. yesterday announced that it was taking its 62 percent share of Micros Systems Inc. off the block to wait for a warming trend.
"Obviously they couldn't get the price they wanted," said Jeffrey L. Pittsburg, vice president of Goldis-Pittsburg Institutional Service Inc., a research company based in Garden City, N.Y. "They don't have to sell it tomorrow morning."
In a two-sentence statement, Westinghouse said it was postponing the sale indefinitely because of market conditions. "If market conditions change, Westinghouse will re-evaluate its options," the statement said.
Westinghouse has owned its stake in the Beltsville maker of point-of-sale computer systems for restaurants and hotels since 1986. On Dec. 22, the electric equipment company said it was considering selling its 4.85 million shares of Micros and using the $150 million proceeds to pay down debt.
But the possible sale of such a large chunk of stock spooked investors, and Micros' stock fell by 8 percent on Dec. 23, to $36.875 a share. Since Westinghouse filed a registration statement for the sale with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Jan. 25, the stock has dropped more than 10 percent, from $34.25 a share to its close yesterday of $30.50, down 12.5 cents for the day. Westinghouse's stock also dropped by 12.5 cents a share yesterday, to close at $14.25.
Micros may have been the victim of a poor market in small-company stocks, Mr. Pittsburg said. The company has been profitable in the last five years, reporting a net income of $8.7 million last year, 50 percent higher than the previous year.