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ABBEY HEALTHCARE WITHDRAWS PROPOSAL TO LIFETIME CORPORATION

 COSTA MESA, Calif., April 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Timothy M. Aitken, chairman and chief executive officer of Abbey Healthcare Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: ABBY) today announced the following in connection with Abbey's previously announced proposal to merge Abbey with Lifetime Corporation (NYSE: LFT):
 After a full review and careful consideration of the response, or lack thereof, to our letter of April 4th to the directors of Lifetime, the board of Abbey has decided to withdraw its proposal to Lifetime. It would be neither productive nor in the best interests of Abbey's shareholders to continue to seek a dialogue with a board that steadfastly refuses to meet with our representatives -- despite its implicit recognition of the limitations of Lifetime's current management.
 Our interest in merging with Lifetime is based on a clearly articulated objective of building a stronger company through combined capabilities. One hundred percent of the largest national payors that Abbey currently has under contract indicated unilaterally that the collective capabilities of Abbey and Lifetime would better serve their financial and patient care needs.
 The best testament to Abbey's management capability is its performance in the past two years. The facts speak for themselves:
 -- Increased 1992 operating profits 63 percent over 1991 to $21.2 million.
 -- Increased operating margins from 5.7 percent in 1991 to 8.5 percent in 1992.
 -- Raised $221 million in debt and equity capital.
 -- Reduced debt by $56.4 million.
 -- Increased equity $80.7 million.
 Furthermore, our management team has set, and fully expects to attain, specific goals that will position Abbey for continued success in a rapidly changing healthcare environment.
 One of Abbey's greatest strengths is that it exemplifies the ethics of the healthcare industry. All 157 branches are now accredited by JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations). Our people -- from the board of directors, to senior management, to our front line professionals -- share a fundamental belief that the way we treat one another within the company is a paradigm for the way we respond to our clients. We recognize that our seriousness of purpose, our methodology, our integrity, and the manner in which we exercise our responsibilities has a far-reaching effect on everyone within our company, as well as all those who depend on us for care. We believe this to be equally true of Lifetime and the 50,000 plus nurses employed through its subsidiary, Kimberly Quality Care.
 For Abbey, the proposed Lifetime merger was not just a corporate finance transaction, but in fact, was more about the good sense in combining the two companies and the synergies that would result. We have reason to believe that we are not alone in that assessment. Evidence indicates that associates in the field, representing both Abbey and Lifetime, enthusiastically endorsed such a merger, and the obvious benefits to patients.
 Abbey understands full well that both its business and that of Lifetime's is dependent on people, their motivation and dedication. From 1981-86, first under American Hospital Supply Corporation and then as a minor subsidiary of Baxter Travenol, Abbey did not prosper! During the next four years, the company deteriorated further as a subsidiary of a Canadian public company with its senior management frequently in England (not unlike Lifetime), remote from the day to day business, and more interested in the accumulation of personal wealth than the well- being of the company. A badly organized acquisition incurred a mountain of debt which almost broke the back of the company and further demotivated its 2,000 plus employees.
 Four key elements saved Abbey:
 1. A new senior management team which won support of Abbey's bankers giving it time to reorganize the entire company - its cost structure and sales.
 2. The same senior management team gained the support and confidence of employees throughout the company.
 3. An essential capital injection of $8.5 million which included $2.5 million from 43 Abbey employees, evidencing their dedication to the company's future.
 4. An understanding of managed care and the healthcare revolution oncoming.
 These changes laid the groundwork for Abbey to respond to the challenges ahead, including a public offering whose success hinged on the company's ability to establish credibility with new investors. Today, Abbey is a highly successful company with access to capital. Equally important, because of the company's recent history, management is both sensitive and reactive to its shareholders and fully conversant with the trust that has been placed in them. Under no circumstances will this company, or its representatives, abuse that trust.
 -0- 4/7/93
 /CONTACT: Daniel H. Burch or Stanley J. Kay, both of MacKenzie Partners Inc., 212-929-5748, after 7:00 p.m. EDT 516-627-7865, for Abbey Healthcare Group, Inc./
 (ABBY LFT)


CO: Abbey Healthcare Group, Inc.; Lifetime Corporation ST: California IN: HEA SU:

TM-LD -- NY079 -- 3974 04/07/93 18:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 7, 1993
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