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American Greetings Announces Authorization For $75 Million Share Repurchase Program

Stocks in this article: AM

CLEVELAND, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM) today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized the repurchase of up to $75 million of Class A common shares. The share repurchases are currently expected to be made through open market purchases or privately negotiated transactions as market conditions warrant, at prices the Company deems appropriate, and subject to applicable legal requirements and other factors. There is no set expiration date for this program and there is no minimum or maximum number of shares to be repurchased under the program.

Chief Executive Officer Zev Weiss said, "We continue to believe that our current stock price is undervalued and want to take advantage of that discount through a new share repurchase authorization. Furthermore, we are giving consideration to the amount of cash used to pay dividends and whether a portion of the funds used to pay dividends should be reallocated to purchasing additional shares if our stock price continues to be undervalued.  We expect that any decision to change our dividend policy would be made and announced by our second fiscal quarter earnings call in late September.  Given our financial performance and strong balance sheet, we remain confident in our product leadership strategy and committed to finding the best ways to return capital to shareholders."   

About American Greetings CorporationFor more than 100 years, American Greetings Corporation (NYSE: AM) has been a creator and manufacturer of innovative social expression products that assist consumers in enhancing their relationships to create happiness, laughter and love.  The Company's major greeting card lines are American Greetings, Carlton Cards, Gibson, Recycled Paper Greetings and Papyrus, and other paper product offerings include DesignWare party goods and American Greetings and Plus Mark gift-wrap and boxed cards.  American Greetings also has one of the largest collections of greetings on the Web, including greeting cards available at Cardstore.com and electronic greeting cards available at AmericanGreetings.com.  In addition to its product lines, American Greetings also creates and licenses popular character brands through the American Greetings Properties group.  Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, American Greetings generates annual revenue of approximately $1.7 billion, and its products can be found in retail outlets worldwide.  For more information on the Company, visit http://corporate.americangreetings.com.

Factors That May Affect Future ResultsCertain statements in this release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Federal securities laws.  These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historic or current facts.  They use such words as "anticipate," "estimate," "expect," "project," "intend," "plan," "believe," and other words and terms of similar meaning in connection with any discussion of future operating or financial performance.  These forward-looking statements are based on currently available information, but are subject to a variety of uncertainties, unknown risks and other factors concerning the Company's operations and business environment, which are difficult to predict and may be beyond the control of the Company.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those suggested by these forward-looking statements, and that could adversely affect the Company's future performance, include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • the Company's ability to complete or otherwise achieve the desired accretive effect from its share repurchase program;
  • a weak retail environment and general economic conditions;
  • the loss of one or more retail customers and/or retail consolidations, acquisitions and bankruptcies, including the possibility of resulting adverse changes to retail contract terms;
  • competitive terms of sale offered to customers, including costs and other terms associated with new and expanded customer relationships;
  • the ability to successfully integrate Clinton Cards and achieve the anticipated revenue and operating profits, together with the outcome of negotiations with landlords and the ultimate number of stores acquired;
  • the ability of the administrators to generate sufficient proceeds from the liquidation of the remaining Clinton Cards business to repay the remaining secured debt owed to American Greetings;
  • the timing and impact of expenses incurred and investments made to support new retail or product strategies, including increased marketing expenses, as well as new product introductions and achieving the desired benefits from those investments;
  • the timing of investments in, together with the ability to successfully implement or achieve the desired benefits and cost savings associated with, any information technology systems refresh the Company may implement;
  • the timing and impact of converting customers to a scan-based trading model;
  • the ability to achieve the desired benefits associated with the Company's cost reduction efforts;
  • Schurman Fine Papers' ability to successfully operate its retail operations and satisfy its obligations to the Company;
  • consumer demand for social expression products generally, shifts in consumer shopping behavior, and consumer acceptance of products as priced and marketed including the success of new and expanded advertising and marketing efforts, such as the Company's on-line efforts through Cardstore.com;
  • the impact and availability of technology, including social media, on product sales;
  • escalation in the cost of providing employee health care;
  • the Company's ability to comply with its debt covenants;
  • fluctuations in the value of currencies in major areas where the Company operates, including the U.S. Dollar, Euro, U.K. Pound Sterling, and Canadian Dollar; and
  • the outcome of any legal claims known or unknown.

Risks pertaining specifically to AG Interactive include the viability of online advertising, subscriptions as revenue generators, and the ability to adapt to rapidly changing social media and the digital photo sharing space.

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