CVSL Said to Offer $268 Million to Acquire Direct Seller Blyth

CVSL Inc., a direct-selling company run by Mary Kay Inc.’s former chairman, has offered to buy Blyth Inc. for about $268 million, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

CVSL offered to pay $16.75 a share for Blyth, which sells candles, fragrances and ViSalus weight-loss products, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The offer, which was extended last week in a letter to Blyth, could be made public by CVSL as soon as today, one of the people said. Blyth rose 21 percent to close at $15.50 (BTH) yesterday, giving it a market value of $248.2 million.

CVSL is run by John Rochon, who was chairman of Mary Kay -- the cosmetics seller known for giving pink Cadillacs to top sales representatives -- until 2001. Last year he took over Computer Vision Systems Laboratories Corp. (CVSL) to create a new direct-selling company. The Plano, Texas-based company’s other acquisitions this year include Tomboy Tools Inc. and Agel Enterprises LLC, which makes nutritional and skin-care products.

Jane F. Casey, Blyth’s vice president of investor relations, didn’t return calls seeking comment on the offer. John Rochon Jr., chairman of CVSL’s investment committee, declined to comment.

Blyth, based in Greenwich, Connecticut, reported revenue of $211.7 million for the second quarter, down from $309.5 million a year earlier, because of slumping sales of ViSalus, and the company cut its full-year earnings outlook in August. Ahead of yesterday’s gains, the shares had fallen 18 percent this year.

Rochon, 62, oversaw a sixfold increase in revenue at Mary Kay from the time he led its leveraged buyout in 1985 to about $3 billion when he left in 2001. As the founder and chairman of Dallas-based Richmont Holdings Inc., he also mounted takeover attempts for competitor Avon Products Inc. (AVP) in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lauren Coleman-Lochner in New York at llochner@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kevin Orland at korland@bloomberg.net

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