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SHARON Winner, Fla. company team up



Published: Sat, May 5, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Operations of the Florida company will be moved to Sharon.

By DON SHILLING

VINDICATOR BUSINESS EDITOR

SHARON, Pa. -- The Winner family is joining its business that makes and distributes The Club with a small company in Florida that makes gun locks.

Saf T Lok of West Palm Beach, Fla., said Friday it has signed a letter of intent to acquire Winner International, which markets The Club vehicle anti-theft device, but the Winner family will retain 95-percent ownership of the combined companies.

The Florida company's offices and manufacturing operations will be moved to Sharon, said John Hornbostel, Winner general counsel. The number of jobs that will be relocated to Sharon hasn't been determined but Saf T Lok employs about 10 people.

Winner International is part of Winner Holdings, which also owns companies such as The Winner clothing store, Winner Advertising and Winner Steel. The other holdings are not affected by the Saf T Lok deal.

Details unreleased: Hornbostel said details of the pending deal are not being released but added that Saf T Lok is the acquiring company because it has publicly traded stock.

It intends to pay the Winner family a certain amount of stock for Winner International. The Club has so much more value than Saf T Lok's products, however, that it will take a large amount of stock to complete the deal, so the Winner family will control Saf T Lok, Hornbostel said.

Took over company: Saf T Lok is a troubled company that James E. Winner Jr., founder of Winner Holdings, has taken over. He is chief executive of the company and in February brought his slate of candidates to the board of directors. Frank Brooks, founder of Saf T Lok, resigned as president in March.

A company press release said that Winner, who also is Saf T Lok chairman, has said that he intends for Saf T Lok to be a fast-growth company that intends to make acquisitions and expand with internal growth.

The company lost $6.6 million last year after losing $3.8 million in 1999. Its stock is trading at just under $2 a share.

Hornbostel said joining with Saf T Lok makes sense for Winner because of Saf T Lok's quality products. Placing these products in Winner's distribution and marketing channels should help them become successful, he said.

Saf T Lok's features: Winner, which distributes hundreds of safety and security products, sells gun locks, but Saf T Lok products have patented features that make them unique, he said.

These gun locks have a three-button combination that allows a loaded handgun to locked so it won't fire. Other gun locks can't be used when a gun is loaded, he said.

Brooks began making gun locks in 1988 and merged with RGB Computer in 1996 to provide funding for his products. The company's name was changed to Saf T Lok later that year.




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