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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Marriage Bell Blues: Wall Streeters Blow Chance To Ask About Procter and Gamble Acquistitions

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Shameless voyeurs that we are, we thought we'd drop in on Procter & Gamble's conference call for investors this week to see if P&G would offer any hints about its rumored acquisition of Newell Rubbermaid or Clorox Corp. Well, you can't say we don't go the extra mile for our readers. Enduring an hour and 41 minutes of talk of product mix, pricing, market share and consumer value, your loyal servant was utterly let down by the Webcast hosts. Most disappointing of all was that the dozen or so Wall Street analysts who had the privilege of grilling CEO Bob McDonald blew the chance and didn't ask a single question about acquisitions, not even hypothetically. Our Web site traffic tells us there is great interest in a possible P&G buyout of Newell Rubbermaid, which has a product line somewhat complementary to P&G's, but employees, regular stockholders and snoops like us don't get to ask questions on these conference calls. So it looks like we're going to be in the dark for a while longer. In his discussion of growing market share in other countries, McDonald did say one thing that could be interpreted as being acquisition-ready: "Getting the portfolio right is strategic, and we're working to do that so we can touch and improve more lives ... That's our focus." Hmm, touching and improving more lives. So while P&G is selling Pampers, Charmin and Downy to those moms in India and China, it might be thinking it could improve their lives even more by selling them Graco baby strollers, baby swings and digital baby monitors from Newell Rubbermaid. To some, it makes total sense.

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