Raider Boone Pickens aims to sew up large investment in Singer

Corporate raider T.Boone Pickens, who only last month said he wanted to buy a stake in the Boeing Company, has announced that he may buy up to 15 percent of the Singer Company. Mesa Limited Partnership, Mr. Pickens's investment firm, said it asked the Federal Trade Commission for permission to acquire up to 15 percent of the Stanford, Conn.-based company.

Singer, long the premier sewing machine maker, now derives most of its revenue from selling aerospace and marine systems, among other products, to the government.

Last year, its sales to the United States government accounted for 69 percent of revenues.

Mesa said it now owns common shares in Singer and options to acquire common stock which together would give it a 4.4 percent interest in the company.

Pickens's disclosure under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act followed a similar move last month when he asked for permission to buy 15 percent of Boeing, the world's largest aircraft manufacturer. Boeing has asked the state of Washington to strengthen its anti-takeover legislation.

The filing with the FTC does not require that the purchases be made, but it serves the purpose of stirring interest in the company's stock.

After Pickens disclosed his intention late last month to buy Boeing stock, shares in that company also rose sharply.

Singer refused to comment on the Mesa announcement.

A Singer spokesman would not say whether Singer, which has about 28,000 employees, had any discussions with Mesa.

Singer, which spun off its sewing products and furniture business in 1986, currently operates two business groups.

The government products group consists of aerospace and marine systems, and the electronic-mechanical products group makes equipment for measuring and control devices.

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