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Clorox Said Near Deal to Sell Auto Brands to Avista

Monday, 20 Sep 2010 02:21 PM

Clorox Co., the maker of household- cleaning products, is near an agreement to sell its STP and Armor All auto-care brands to private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners for $750 million to $800 million, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The sale may be announced in the coming days, said these people, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Blackstone Group LP, Golden Gate Capital and Castle Harlan Inc. were among firms that looked at the assets, which have been on the block since April, one of the people said.

Avista, made up of the former DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, invests primarily in health care, energy and media companies. JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been handling the sale for Oakland, California-based Clorox.

Dan Staublin, a spokesman for Clorox, declined to comment on speculation and said the company will make an announcement if and when it reaches an agreement on the auto-care business. A JPMorgan spokeswoman also declined to comment, and an Avista spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call to her office made outside of regular business hours.

Clorox Chief Executive Officer Don Knauss said in May the bleach maker would explore options for the auto-care brands because the businesses have languished for years and aren’t a good fit. Proceeds from a sale could be used to help bolster household and professional-cleaning businesses in Latin America and Asia, areas where Clorox has said it wants to expand.

Clorox rose 20 cents to $66.85 at 9:54 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares had gained 9.3 percent this year before today.

STP, Armor All

STP and Armor All have annual sales of about $300 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about $95 million, the people said. Potential buyers viewed STP, a maker of oil treatments, brake fluid and fuel-system cleaners, as more valuable than Armor All, which makes automotive polishes and cleaners, the people said.

The deal is not finalized and may be delayed or fall through in the final stages, said these people.

Some of the private-equity firms considered buying STP and Armor All to merge them with other car-care brands also for sale, said one of these people.

Pennzoil-Quaker State Co., a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, is shopping around brands including Rain-X wiper blades, Fix-a- Flat tire inflator and Gumout, a gas-tank cleaner. Pennzoil- Quaker announced it was exploring options for those brands in May.

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Clorox Co., the maker of household- cleaning products, is near an agreement to sell its STP and Armor All auto-care brands to private-equity firm Avista Capital Partners for $750 million to $800 million, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The sale may be...
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2010-21-20
Monday, 20 Sep 2010 02:21 PM
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