Shepard extends tender offer for Donegal Group

NEW YORK (AP) -- Gregory Shepard, a major shareholder of insurance company Donegal Group Inc., said Monday that he's extending a bid to buy nearly 1 million of the company's Class B shares and changing conditions of the tender offer after a muted response from shareholders.

Shepard in March had offered to buy about 963,000 shares for $30 each, then a 42 percent premium to their latest closing price. The bid was meant to have ended on Friday.

As of Friday Donegal Group said that more than 362,700 shares had been tendered and almost 9,000 submitted by guaranteed delivery.

Shepard on Monday extended his offer to May 20 so regulators can process the applications that will allow him to buy more stock. He also dropped the conditions that he be allowed to appoint three directors to the company's board and that future grants of Class A stock options be restricted.

He has urged Donegal to consider combining itself with another mutual insurance firm.

Shepard is the company's largest shareholder after Donegal Mutual Insurance Co. At the start of the offer Sheppard said he owned 18 percent of Donegal Group's Class A shares and 7.1 percent of its Class B shares.

Class B shares of Donegal Group climbed $3.82, or 20 percent, to close at $22.97 on Monday. The Class A shares fell 22 cents to $15.10.