Tue, May 15, 2012 - Page 10 News List

Avon said to be considering Coty Inc buyout offer

AP, New York

Cosmetics maker Avon Products Inc changed course on a buyout offer it had previously rejected, saying on Sunday that it would consider selling itself to Coty Inc after the latter sweetened the deal.

In a sparse two-sentence statement, Avon said its board would respond to Coty within a week.

Coty offered US$23.25 per Avon share on March 30, or about US$10 billion. On Wednesday last week, Coty sent Avon a letter raising the price about 6.5 percent to US$24.75 per share, or almost US$10.7 billion.

It demanded a response by yesterday and said it would withdraw its offer otherwise.

Avon, whose brands include Skin-So-Soft, Anew and Mark, had told Coty that it would not discuss any revised offer until its new CEO, Sherilyn McCoy, finishes reviewing all of Avon’s operations, according to Coty’s letter.

Coty said it was disappointed; agreeing to sell itself would be Avon’s best hope for a turnaround, the smaller company said.

Avon has been under pressure from a bribery scandal, possible credit rating downgrades, pinched profits and other problems.

McCoy, a longtime Johnson & Johnson executive, became CEO just days after Coty made its offer.

Both of Coty’s offers represent a premium on Avon’s March 30 closing price of US$19.36, the last trading day before Coty’s offer was made public. Shares closed on Friday at US$20.19.

Privately held Coty is a beauty-products maker whose brands include Davidoff and Sally Hansen. Coty said its financing sources include Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Founded in 1886, Avon became a fixture in households across the US as its legions of “Avon ladies” went door to door selling makeup to family members, friends and acquaintances.

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