German consumer goods company Henkel
plans to swap its 29% stake in Clorox for a combination of Clorox’s operating businesses and its stake in a joint venture with Henkel and $2.1 billion in cash, executives reported.
Last year, Henkel, owner of the Persil brand in Germany and Schwarzkopf hair care and cosmetics, paid $2.9 billion for U.S. soap maker Dial. Henkel executives said the company planned to finance the Dial deal partially by divesting existing holdings in either Clorox or Ecolab.
By acquiring its own shares back, the possibility is removed that Clorox could have been purchased by a third party. Henkel will exchange its Clorox shares for a newly-formed subsidiary of Clorox that will hold a portfolio of operating businesses including Soft Scrub, Combat, Home Mat and Home Keeper. The businesses have aggregate sales of $160 million and are “highly profitable.” The deal will end the relationship between the two companies, including Henkel’s right to representation on Clorox’s board.