CLEVELAND (AP) -- Sherwin-Williams has found itself the target of a below-market offer from an increasingly common source, TRC Capital, of Toronto.
TRC has already made similar bids for shares of Ford, Royal Philips Electronics, Marathon Petroleum and a host of others. The latest bid comes after warnings from the Securities and Exchange Commission that such bids are becoming common from sources that hope to "catch investors off guard."
Anyone holding a share of Sherwin-Williams would have to be paying little attention to sell now. The company, based in Cleveland and incorporated in 1884, has been striking new all-time highs all year long. It hit another one Tuesday, at $138.50.
Calls to Lorne Albaum, the securities lawyer who founded TRC, were not immediately returned Tuesday.
The tactics of the company, however, follow a clear pattern. It made a below-market bid for Ford in March after a 17 percent run-up in the value of its stock this year.
Sherwin-Williams joins a growing list of corporations warning investors about TRC, including cigarette maker Altria Group Inc., drug maker Gilead Sciences Inc., defense contractor Raytheon Co., restaurant food seller Sysco Corp., and General Electric Co.
On Tuesday, Sherwin-Williams said TRC Capital made a mini-tender offer for 1 million shares, or 0.97 percent of Sherwin-Williams' outstanding stock, at a price of $129.50. That is 4.4 percent below the stock's closing price on July 30, the day before the offer began.
A mini-tender offer is an offer to buy less than 5 percent of a company's outstanding shares, which doesn't trigger the same prohibitions and shareholder protections that a bigger offer would.
It is unclear if the TRC's strategy, perhaps best encapsulated by a quote attributed to P.T. Barnum, that "There's a sucker born every minute," is working.
However, a Ford shareholder in March, could theoretically have shown the double-edged nature of TRC's bids.
The offer was for $11.70 per share in March. Ford shares were trading at $9.33 Tuesday.
- Royal Philips Electronics