“I cannot comment on Beiersdorf, but I will remind you that acquisitions are part of our growth strategy,” Mr. Lafley pointed out. “But they must be strategic, and they must fit culturally. We are not an unfriendly takeover company, and we are very patient.”
Last month, Beiersdorf shares surged following talk that Anglo-Dutch company Unilever was on the verge of making a bid. Under Germany’s takeover law, a buyer would have to make an offer for the entire company. P&G has long been a rumored potential buyer and entered into talks last year with Allianz about the Beiersdorf stake. However, they could not agree on price, and P&G was unable to convince Tchibo, which holds 30% of Beiersdorf, to sell.
In March, P&G bought German health care group Wella in a deal worth €6.5 billion; P&G had been eyeing Wella since the 1980s, Mr. Lafley said.
“The way we think about things is much more long-term,” he said. “We think in terms of 100 years and not quarters. We’re thinking about a beauty and personal care business which will be a leader in 2025 or 2050.” In the meantime, there is “plenty of room” in the market for both L’Oréal and P&G, Mr. Lafley said.