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Ding-Dong! Avon Stalling

June 2, 2014

With turnaround slowing, sale talk resumes.

Few things in life are sure things: Death. Taxes. Talk of Avon being up for sale. Those nattering-nabobs on Wall Street are at it again.

After losing $3 billion in market value since its last known suitor walked away, observers say company executives may be williing to open their door to potential buyers.

Avon’s board in March recommended shareholders vote against a proposal to limit golden parachutes for management fired in connection with a sale. That could be interpreted as a sign the board is open to a deal if Chief Executive Officer Sheri McCoy’s turnaround efforts fail to revive the $6.2 billion company, said B. Riley & Co. After two years of losses and a $500 million bill to clean up bribery charges, Avon is trading 42% below the $24.75-a-share bid from Coty Inc. in 2012.

“That is an indication that the board thinks that it might have to sell the company and so it doesn’t want any hurdles in the way,” Linda Bolton Weiser, a New York-based analyst at B. Riley, said in a phone interview. A sale “is going to have to be their next choice.”

While some analysts are sure a sale is eminent, they're not sure of the suitor. Coty aside, the only name floated was Tupperware, which is said to be interested in Avon's strong position in Latin America.



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