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Robert Trigaux

Portnoy's complaint: Investor seeks Cryo-Cell control as Oldsmar company looks for buyer




Wake up and good morning. In what appears to be a growing proxy battle with South Florida investor David Portnoy (photo, above), Oldsmar-based Cryo-Cell International Inc. put itself up for sale and is now weighing multiple offers. The feud between Portnoy and Cry-Cell management, notably CEO Mercedes Walton (below, right), has been simmering for years.

mercedes_walton2cryo-cellceo.jpgCryo-Cell carved out a business of storing frozen stem cells from umbilical cord blood for families willing to pay a fee. The company is modest in size with less than 60 employees, a $2.50 price per share and a market value under $30 million at the moment.

Its annual meeting is later this month on the 25th and Cryo-Cell executives look like they want a deal to sell the company in place before they face a proxy contest from Portnoy. He wants to gain control of Cryo-Cell and has sent a letter asking shareholders to vote for his slate of nominees for the board of directors at the upcoming annual meeting. So, too, has Cryo-Cell's management, asking for its choice of directors to be chosen. Read more in this Tampa Bay Business Journal story.

A year ago, Cryo-Cell engaged Morgan Joseph TriArtisan LLC as its investment banker and financial advisor to look for possible buyers. Little occurred then but the company says several offers exist now.

Sound familiar? This St. Petersburg Times story chronicled Portnoy's board fight with Cryo-Cell in 2007.

(Photos: courtesy of Portnoy and Cryo-Cell.)

-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times



[Last modified: Tuesday, August 9, 2011 7:08am]


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