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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Wooster Ohio's Revenge: P&G May Be Ready To Swallow Company That Gobbled Up Rubbermaid

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Wooster is a small Ohio town that was punched in the gut when Rubbermaid Corp. was bought in 1998 and the prized corporate headquarters went dark. Thousands of blue and white collar jobs were flushed. If there is any truth to the published rumor that (TheFlyOnTheWall) Procter & Gamble is making a bid for Newell Rubbermaid, the merger ceremony would have the flavor of a reunion. Rubbermaid returns to Ohio ownership (though not likely to Wooster), and some former top P&G execs restore their ties to Cincinnati. Newell Rubbermaid's CEO, Mark Ketchum, spent 33 years at P&G before retiring in 2004. Newell Rubbermaid's top marketing exec, Ted Woehrle, put in 24 years as a P&Ger before jumping to Newell in 2007. Both reached the apex of their P&G careers under retired CEO A.G. Lafley. And both rose through the ranks alongside P&G's current CEO, Bob McDonald.

Newell Rubbermaid is based in Atlanta. It still makes Rubbermaid branded items, along with Calphalon, Graco, Goody, Levelor, Sharpie and the tool brands Irwin and Lenox. P&G appears primed for an acquisition -- it's sitting on about $6.3 billion in cash and McDonald -- who moved into the CEO's office last July -- could be ready to pull the trigger on a big deal. Here's what TheFlyOnTheWall said last week: "It is believed that the boards of both companies met earlier, and Newell is looking for at least $21-22 per share."

At this point, Wall Street hasn't put much on the rumor. Newell Rubbermaid closed at $14.47 Friday; hardly a bump. Last month, P&G reportedly was ready to swallow Clorox Corp., a company it divested in 1969. That reunion hasn't happened. Clorox is filled with a lot of ex-P&Gers. Its CEO, Donald Knauss, began his career at P&G and, like McDonald, is an Indiana native. Executive VP Frank Tataseo spent 17 years at P&G, chief marketing officer Thomas Britanek 13 years and senior VP Benno Dorer 14 years.


  1. Ketchum won't be back if the sale happened. He told Fortune Magazine the reason he left was he was told CEO would not happen for him at P&G...and Woehrle knew he would never be Chief Marketing Officer at P&G. So, a BIG Golden Parachute would await.

    This is a potentially dumb move by P&G if they are serious to buy Rubbermaid. Clorox would be so solid...just not sure if it would pass muster with an Obama JD.

  2. Why would Obama JD query Clorox move? Gillette deal was worse for Mass. in jobs. Is P&G going to be 'too big to fail'? Nah. It's going to be just right to stave off the Chinese. Rubbermaid looks like great deal. Roll Tide.