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Security Tag shareholders endorse sale of company

Security Tag Systems Inc. shareholders Thursday agreed to sell the company to Sensormatic Electronics Corp. for about $40-million, some $7-million more than earlier estimated.

The final sale price was based on a one-week average price of Sensormatic stock, which has risen significantly since the deal was struck last November.

Security stockholders will get .0975 share of Sensormatic stock for every Security share they held.

But shareholders' happiness quickly gave way to employees' concern about their future.

"Everybody's feeling a little insecure right now," said Wade Herman, one of Security Tag's 140 employees who know they have jobs for now but little more.

Sensormatic, which is 16 times as big as Security Tag, is based in Deerfield Beach.

Both companies make and distribute loss prevention equipment sold to retailers all over the world. Sensormatic dominates the industry in the United States, but one of Security Tag's products _ an Inktag clipped to apparel that deters shoplifters by exploding and covering the garment with dye _ outsells Sensormatic's version.

Sensormatic executives have made several visits to the St. Petersburg plant and met with executives since the deal was hatched last November. But they completed the acquisition without any plan of how long they would maintain Security Tag as a subsidiary separate from Sensormatic's Deerfield Beach headquarters.

"It's very difficult to keep morale together in a merger, but I think in the long run better things lie in the future with Sensormatic," said Security Tag chairman Van McNeel.

"Sensormatic has assured us they are going to absorb us in a very gradual process," said Carter Clarke, Security Tag's chief executive officer.

Sensormatic chairman Ron Assaf has made similar statements in earlier interviews with the Times.

Sensormatic got 30 percent ownership of Security Tag when it acquired a British security-equipment maker and distributor last year. That meant Sensormatic's sales representatives were marketing both companies' product lines in Europe. Sensormatic later decided to buy the rest of Security Tag. The Federal Trade Commission spent months reviewing the antitrust implications of the deal, but issued no objections.

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