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Service Corp. Drops Stewart Bid Citing Pre-Conditions

Service Corp. International (SCI), the biggest U.S. funeral-home and cemetery owner, said it withdrew its proposal to buy Stewart Enterprises Inc. (STEI) because of ``unacceptable'' pre-conditions. Stewart sank 30 percent in late trading.

Service Corp. couldn't agree to accept all financing and regulatory risk and wouldn't increase its bid of $11 a share, Chief Executive Officer Thomas Ryan wrote in a letter to Stewart CEO Thomas Crawford included in a regulatory filing today.

Houston-based Service Corp. offered as much as $1.04 billion in July after Stewart rejected its initial bid of at least $9.50 a share as ``inadequate.'' Service Corp., which runs more than 1,300 funeral homes and 300 cemeteries, was looking to add Stewart's more than 200 funeral homes and 100 cemeteries.

Stewart dropped $2.12 to $4.97 at 4:53 p.m. New York time after the close of Nasdaq Stock Market trading. Shares of the Jefferson, Louisiana-based company had lost 20 percent this year as of 4 p.m. Service Corp., down 49 percent this year, was unchanged at $7.19 as of 4:16 p.m.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meg Tirrell in New York at mtirrell@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Colleen McElroy at cmcelroy@bloomberg.net.

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