For an outfit in play, Carter-Wallace (CAR) isn't behaving like a takeover target. Despite the persistence of investor Marvin Davis in trying to buy the personal-products maker, its shares have stayed put--between 13 and 15--even though Davis sweetened his bid last December from 18 to 20.
All that may soon change: Whispers are that a cash-rich British maker of packaged goods, foods, and detergents will bid 24 a share for Carter-Wallace. At that price, Carter-Wallace's big stakeholder, CPI Development, controlled by Carter-Wallace CEO Henry Hoyt Jr., is expected to embrace the offer, says one New York investment banker. CPI, which owns 95% of Carter-Wallace Class B shares, representing 10 votes apiece, opposes Davis' push.
"The fit between this new suitor and Carter-Wallace makes perfect business sense," says this pro. Carter-Wallace products include proprietary drugs, cold and cough remedies, antiperspirants, and pregnancy test kits, as well as toothpaste, condoms, laxatives, muscle relaxants, and pet products.
Those products mesh with the buyer's lineup, argues the banker. This company is a maker and world marketer of tea, ice cream, soap, detergent, and cosmetics. In the U.S. alone, its sales exceeded $10 billion. "Price won't be an issue with this suitor," he adds.
Carter-Wallace couldn't be reached for comment.