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ARCHIVED  August 13, 1999

Bandstand’s Clark lands InfoAmerica

FORT COLLINS — Venerable entertainment impresario Dick Clark has taken control of a Fort Collins-based company that a year ago appeared set to revolutionize the way people order tacos, burgers and fries.But for Clark, made famous by his long-running teen TV show “American Bandstand,” a more-recent popular video bloopers program and countless appearances as a TV commercial pitchman, fast food is not in the plans after the merger of his cable TV company with InfoAmerica Inc.
InfoAmerica, founded 20 years ago by college pals Paul Knight and Larry Salmen, brought touch-screen technology to the restaurant business, with mixed results.
A 1985 public stock offering, when the company’s touch-screen system was targeted for information kiosks in airports, shopping centers and other high-traffic areas, yielded lots of shareholders but not much in the way of revenue growth.
Shareholders’ interest was behind the merger plan with Clark’s cable holding, Knight said.
“We’ve been looking for a new business for a number of years,” Knight said. “There had been no liquidity for our shareholders for more than 10 years, and we have been looking for a way to find liquidity. We found a suitable acquisition, and we’re hoping it will work out for everyone.”
A 77-page U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission document spells out the complex merger agreement, wherein InfoAmerica acquired companies held by Clark, 69, and cable television partner Dick Lubic, and which operate cable-TV systems in and around Tehachapi, Calif.After the merger:
n Clark and Lubic received 53.2 percent of InfoAmerica’s outstanding stock.
n Knight and Salmen resigned as officers and directors of the company.
n Clark was appointed chairman, and Lubic president and CEO of the company that they have renamed Americas Inc.
Lubic said in a statement that Americas plans expansion into Mexico’s Baja California peninsula from its Kern County, Calif., base. The company will offer high-speed data transmission and cable-television service to the cities of La Paz and Los Cabos, with plans to enter the Mexicali and Tijuana markets.
Knight would not comment on Americas’ plans, but hinted that Clark and Lubic were seeking a public “shell” to house and raise capital for their private cable-TV holdings.
“We’re not really in a position to talk about the company,” Knight said. “We’re not insiders. We’re out of it. But they obviously wanted to raise additional money, and wanted to do it publicly.”
Knight and Salmen, following the merger, retain a 12.6 percent ownership share of the new company. Knight said he was optimistic that he, Salmen and other InfoAmerica shareholders would benefit from the Americas merger.
“Since the goal was to get shareholder liquidity, you look for something that has some good upside potential,” he said. “That was there.”
Knight also hinted that he and Salmen would engage in another business venture closely related to their InfoAmerica experience.
“We’re considering a plan along similar lines to what we were engaged in before,” Knight said.
Knight and Salmen developed software called Touchware 4.0 in the 1980s. It was first used in advertising kiosks, and later installed in fast-food restaurants, including many in the Taco Bell chain. The software allowed customers to directly transmit their order to the kitchen by making selections on a touch-sensitive computer monitor.

FORT COLLINS — Venerable entertainment impresario Dick Clark has taken control of a Fort Collins-based company that a year ago appeared set to revolutionize the way people order tacos, burgers and fries.But for Clark, made famous by his long-running teen TV show “American Bandstand,” a more-recent popular video bloopers program and countless appearances as a TV commercial pitchman, fast food is not in the plans after the merger of his cable TV company with InfoAmerica Inc.
InfoAmerica, founded 20 years ago by college pals Paul Knight and Larry Salmen, brought touch-screen technology to the restaurant business, with mixed results.
A…

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