updated 7/9/2007 10:45:27 AM ET 2007-07-09T14:45:27

A group led by billionaire investor Carl Icahn has agreed to increase its offer for Lear Corp. by about 3.5 percent to about $2.9 billion, and the automotive supplier said Monday it will delay the shareholder vote on the bid.

The Icahn-controlled American Real Estate Partners LP increased its price for shares of Lear common stock from $36 a share to $37.25 a share.

The original offer represented a premium of about 4 percent over the stock's value at the time it was made in February by Icahn, already Lear's largest shareholder.

"The Lear board concluded unanimously that the original merger agreement with (American Real Estate Partners) was fair and in the best interests of Lear's stockholders. The increased price makes the transaction even more attractive," Larry McCurdy, Lear's lead independent director, said in a statement. "We believe the revised price represents a meaningful increase in value for Lear stockholders, and we strongly encourage a vote in favor of the revised merger proposal."

Lear, which already had moved its annual shareholder meeting from June 27 to Thursday amid shareholder criticism of the deal, said it will adjourn Thursday's meeting in Wilmington, Del., without a vote and move it to July 16.

Under the amended agreement, if holders of a majority of Lear's outstanding shares don't approve the proposal, American Real Estate Partners will be entitled to $12.5 million in cash and 335,570 shares of Lear common stock. The company also has agreed to increase the Icahn group's share ownership limitation from 24 percent to 27 percent of Lear's outstanding common stock.

Icahn now owns about 16 percent of the company.

Southfield-based Lear's products include seats and electronic systems for all major automakers.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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