False Spring For Scotts

The lawn-care giant bets on the wrong CEO and game plan

A year ago, the 126-year-old Scotts Co., the sultan of sod, seemed set for a growth spurt. The Marysville (Ohio) maker of TurfBuilder and other products had an energetic new CEO, Theodore J. Host, a former Coca-Cola Co. marketing whiz. And through a $200 million stock swap, Scotts was merging with Stern's Miracle-Gro Products Inc., the plant-food king. As CEO Tadd C. Seitz, who remained board chairman, stepped aside, he predicted that Scotts would soon be a billion-dollar company.

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