Rumours fly over sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser

The internet is ‘afrenzy’ at the moment with stories relating to a possible sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser. We’ve picked it up here from a couple of sources which contradict each other slightly, but this is not surprising and is normal in any takeover/merger rumour situatuion. SSL International and Colgate-Palmolive are both ‘in the frame’ (allegedly), but it’s not clear who’s buying whom or what (guess that they could also be considering buying & selling business divisons or brands). We will let you read them and make up your own mind. Chris

Rumours fly over sale or merger of Reckitt Benckiser

Simon Pitman, Cosmetics 19 Nov 2009

Talk of a multi-billion euro transaction involving Reckitt Benckiser, a global brand owner of personal care and household products, has sent share prices rocketing.

The UK company has been linked to big names such as SSL International, owner of the Durex brand, but according to well-placed sources used by British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, the most obvious candidate is US consumer giant Colgate-Palmolive.

The report stated that Reckitt Benckiser was close to making a cross-border transaction that would probably be structured as a merger if it were to take place with a business such as Colgate-Palmolive.

Such a deal would also tie in with the company’s desire to no longer be headquartered in the UK, due to the unfavourable tax situation and economy.

You can read the full Cosmetics Design-Europe article here:

The story has also been covered in the  British press (amongst other places). In yesterday’s UK  Daily Telegraph, they carried the following:

Talk of Reckitt doing a big deal

Ben Harrington,, 18 Nov 2009

The latest tale is that Reckitt Benckiser is close to announcing multi-billion pound cross-border transaction.

It is not clear which company Reckitt is targeting. SSL International, the maker of Scholl footwear products and Durex condoms, has always been tipped as a target for Reckitt. However, well-placed sources think the most obvious candidate is US giant Colgate-Palmolive.

The theory is that any deal between Reckitt and Colgate-Palmolive would have to be structured as a merger as they are roughly the same size.

Earlier this year, David Hayes and Alex Smith – the Nomura analysts who first raised the prospect of a Kraft bid for Cadbury – argued that Colgate-Palmolive could merge with a British company. However, they thought it more likely that Unilever would be the US company’s obvious merger partner.

You can read more of the Daily Telegraph report here:

This has been reported previously in the press. See related article ‘Reckitt Benckiser considers quitting Britain over tax‘ published in the UK Daily Telegraph 13th Aug 2009.

Whatever, your thoughts, it’s an interesting story that has wide ramifications and we’ll keep you posted as and when updates are available. Chris


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