Following a brief jump higher after the $605 million agreement with Cerberus Capital Management was revealed Thursday morning, the stock started to weaken. Midday Friday it was off 2.1 percent to $3.94, leaving the direct beauty seller with a market capitalization of $1.7 billion.
The private equity firm will spend $170 million to buy 80.1 percent of Avon North America, which will be spun off into a private company. Cerberus will spend another $435 million for preferred stock in the rest of the company, which will dilute other shareholders and give the investor about 16.6 percent of that business.
Avon is also suspending its $100 million cash dividend.
Riley & Co. analyst Linda Bolton Weiser noted that Avon has $500 million in debt coming due in 2018 and plans to spend $250 million to pay down half of that, while restructuring and cutting costs to improve cash flows enough to pay down the rest.
“Management was evasive on the conference call about whether the cash burn rate would increase in 2016 and 2017 — they said to wait for more information at the analyst meeting on Jan. 21,” Weiser said.
“We remain on the sidelines, as we believe cost reductions Avon will announce on Jan. 21 will likely be offset by reinvestment and [foreign currency exchange] impacts — Argentina, 4 percent of Avon’s annual sales and 6 percent of operating profit, has just moved to a floating rate currency, with a devaluation of about 30 percent on Dec. 17, and the Brazilian réal has been on a downward trend,” the analyst said.
Activist Barington Capital Group, which has a stake in Avon, has said the company sold at “fire sale” prices and that it is exploring its options.