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American Greetings board to consider buyout

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Greeting card maker American Greetings Corp. said Friday its board has formed a committee of independent directors to consider an offer by the company's top executives to take the company private.

CEO Zev Weiss and his brother, President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Weiss, along with other investors and executives, submitted their proposal to the board on Sept. 25. The group wants to buy all of the company's common stock that it doesn't already own for $17.18 per share. The deal would value American Greetings at around $581 million.

American Greetings' shares fell 7 cents to close at $16.99 Friday. They have traded between $12.47 and $17.85 in the last year.

The four-person committee will be led by Scott Cowen, who is also the president of Tulane University. The committee has retained legal and financial counsel and will consider other options besides the Weiss' offer, the company said.

American Greetings' brands include Carlton Cards, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus.

The company lost $4.3 million, or 13 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter, which ended Aug. 24. The loss was mainly due to costs related to the June acquisition of Britain's Clinton Cards PLC, which was one of American Greetings' largest customers before it filed for bankruptcy.