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Newell Rubbermaid to Sell Hardware and Teach Platform Units

Newell Rubbermaid Inc., the maker of Sharpie pens and Calphalon cookware, put its Hardware and Teach Platform businesses up for sale as part of a restructuring plan to boost profitability.

The businesses, which include brands such as Bulldog, Ashland and Amerock, represented about $300 million in revenue in 2012, the Atlanta-based company said today in a statement. Total revenue last year was $5.9 billion, up less than 1 percent from the prior period.

“They don’t fit within our strategic priorities,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Polk said today in a telephone interview, adding that the company is selling the units separately and won’t sell individual brands. “There’s been a lot of interest out there. Money’s cheap -- it’s a seller’s market right now.”

Newell is selling the units to better focus on its commercial products, tools and writing businesses, Polk said. The teaching division includes interactive whiteboards, while the hardware business sells do-it-yourself and construction items such as paint rollers, picture hangers and drawer handles.

Polk has been cutting jobs and reducing operating units in an effort to improve margins and boost sales outside the U.S. Last year, Newell announced plans to eliminate 10 percent of its workforce.

Newell rose 0.7 percent to $26.57 at the close in New York. The shares have gained 19 percent this year compared with a 13 percent advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Separately, Newell today reported adjusted first-quarter earnings per share of 35 cents, topping the 32-cent average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

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