Coty/Avon: A Low Bid May Be the Best Offer
Avon Products Chairman and CEO Andrea Jung may have a hard time fending off a takeover by New York-based perfume maker Coty, which has offered $10 billion to buy the world’s largest door-to-door seller of cosmetics. Avon has rejected the bid, which values the company at 8.9 times its 2011 earnings, as too low. There may not be any other suitors; Avon is grappling with slow sales and seeking a new CEO. Rommel Dionisio, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, says the company’s direct-selling model is an awkward fit for potential bidders such as Procter & Gamble. An ongoing Securities and Exchange Commission probe into Avon’s overseas business practices is another negative.
Burger King: Going Public—Again
Burger King Holdings, the fast-food chain taken private in 2010 by New York investment firm 3G Capital, will go public again after merging with a company owned by financier William Ackman. 3G will get $1.4 billion in cash to transfer Burger King to Justice Holdings, a company co-founded by Ackman. Justice and its founders will hold 29 percent, giving Burger King a potential equity value of about $4.8 billion. 3G paid $3.3 billion for Burger King, whose sales have stalled, just 18 months ago.
Nike: The NFL’s Spring Line
While Nike dresses some college teams in designs that range from lizard skins to wings, its new uniforms for the National Football League hew closely to the 92-year-old league’s traditional look. Nike took over the NFL clothing license on April 1 from Adidas’s Reebok unit, which held it for more than a decade. The deal may add $500 million a year in sales, according to analyst Chris Svezia for Susquehanna Financial Group. Nike says the uniforms are lighter and have more stretch to improve a player’s mobility.
CVR Energy: Shareholders Back Icahn
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn says he has majority shareholder support for his unsolicited $2.6 billion takeover bid for CVR Energy, setting up a proxy fight at the refiner’s annual meeting next month. The $30-a-share offer would give Icahn a 69 percent stake in the Texas company, allowing him to move forward on a plan to replace the board and eventually sell the company, which he says is undervalued. CVR has benefited from an oversupply of crude in the U.S. Midwest that has depressed prices for the oil it processes at its two refineries.
Ford Motor: A concierge for buyers
Ford Motor, which cut 35 percent of its big-city Lincoln dealers last year, is asking the survivors to put their sales staff through a training academy that emulates the concierge service at a luxury hotel. Ford hired Les Clefs d’Or, an international association of hotel concierges, to help create a “Lincoln Academy.” CEO Alan Mulally wants to attract a younger, wealthier clientele to its premium marques. Lincoln, whose buyers average 65 years old, has seen sales slide 63 percent since peaking in 1990.