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Stride Rite Corp. announced today its board of directors has rejected a $900 million takeover bid from a group of investors.

Arnold Hiatt, chairman of the children's shoe manufacturer, said the board determined "a successful, independent Stride Rite is in the best long-term interests of Stride Rite's shareholders, employees, customers and the communities we serve."

Stride Rite received the $32-per-share offer in December from a group led by Walsh, Greenwood & Co. in Greenwich, Conn.

Stride Rite, which makes and sells shoe brands such as Keds and Sperry Top-Sider, has more than 180 stores and more than 60 shoe sections in department stores.

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