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China Security Soars as CEO Talks Up LBO

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of China Security and Surveillance (CSR) soared by as much as 25% Tuesday on frantic volume after its founder and CEO reiterated his desire to take the company private, this time naming a price of $6.50 a share.

In a letter sent to the company's board, Chief Executive Guoshen Tu said the deal would be a combination of equity and debt, and that he has conducted "preliminary discussions with potential sources of debt financings."

Still, Tu hasn't yet struck an agreement with any of those sources, he said in his letter. Nor did he name the entities he says he has spoken with, noting only that he is "confident the debt financing necessary for the acquisition can be arranged on a timely basis."

China Security, based in Shenzhen, which sits just across the harbor from Hong Kong, is a complex roll-up of Chinese security-equipment manufacturers, especially of surveillance cameras and related gear. It was among the first Chinese issuers to sell stock in the U.S. after coming public on this side of the Pacific, in 2006, through a controversial procedure called a reverse merger.

The letter issued Tuesday was similar to one sent by Tu to the company's board in late January, when China Security first made public the CEO's intentions to take the company private. Among the only differences: in January, Tu said the purchase price "will not exceed $6.50 per share." On Tuesday, Tu said the price would be $6.50 a share. Not long after the January move by Tu, China Security's board said it hired the Japanese investment bank Nomura International as its adviser.

Investigating Chinese Reverse Mergers

Also in Tuesday's letter, Tu said he would "provide all the necessary equity financing out of my own holdings of common stock and related sources."

Much of Tu's stock, however, is encumbered. Several years ago, Tu pledged 13.9 million of his China Security shares as collateral to a Hong Kong hedge fund called Abax Global in order to obtain a $50 million personal loan. Tu said he wanted to use that money to buy more CSR stock or lend the proceeds back to his company for corporate purposes. Tu's personal loan has since been recapitalized and taken over by the state-owned China Development Bank.

(The company says that Tu beneficially owns 20.9% of its common stock. China Security has about 89.5 million shares outstanding, according to its 2010 annual report.)
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