HELENE CURTIS STOCK SOARS ON TALK OF A BUYOUT; BIDDER UNIDENTIFIED
Byline: Jennifer L. Brady
NEW YORK — Shares of Helene Curtis Industries shot up 12 3/4 to 65 3/4 on The New York Stock Exchange Wednesday amid speculation that the company is about to be sold.
After shares jumped 8 1/4 to 53 1/8 Tuesday, Helene Curtis confirmed Wednesday that it is in talks with one or more parties who are interested in a possible business combination. However, it did not identify any of the parties.
In a statement, the cosmetics firm said its board will be considering a proposal made by Shamrock Holdings of California Inc., a 7.6 percent shareholder of Helene Curtis. Shamrock had requested that the board consider the sale of the company.
The Chicago-based firm added that it has had no further communication with Shamrock, and the board has not met to consider the proposal. Helene Curtis also said that there are no assurances that any transaction will occur.
The company declined to make any further comment beyond the prepared statement.
Eileen Gormley, analyst at the Pershing Division of Donaldson Lufkin and Jenrette, said in a telephone interview that conjecture as to who would be likely suitors for the company drove up the stock. She noted that in the past, personal care giants such as Colgate-Palmolive Co., Proctor & Gamble Co. and the Anglo-Dutch firm, Unilever NV had expressed interest in the personal care products owned by Helene Curtis.
Helene Curtis, which owns three major consumer hair care brands — Suave, Finesse and Salon Selectives — markets its products through mass merchants, supermarkets and drug stores, and to beauty salons through distributors. The company also makes Degree antiperspirant.
Gormley also cited international firms such as French conglomerate L’Oreal Inc. and the German Joh. A. Benckiser, which recently backed down from a bidding war for Maybelline Inc.
Gormley added that P&G, which makes Pert Plus, Pantene and Max Factor products, would be an unlikely partner due to antitrust concerns. — Fairchild News Service