Church & Dwight dispels rumours of potential sale

Company says it is "not engaged in discussions" concerning potential bid

US consumer goods giant Church & Dwight has dispelled rumours that it is looking for a buyer.

The parent company of Nair, Batiste and Pearl Drops issued a statement following days of speculation that it was planning a sale, and that Reckitt Benckiser was the frontrunner to buy.

Rumours were traced back to Spanish website negocios.com, which reported that Reckitt Benckiser planned to offer $23bn for the company in a bid led by JP Morgan for 100% ownership of the company. Negocios.com did not reveal its sources, however. In earlier reports, P&G was also rumoured to be eyeing the company.

However, Church & Dwight promptly stepped in to set the record straight, making an exception to its policy of not commenting on market rumours. In the statement, the company said: “Over the last several days multiple rumours were reported in the press regarding a potential purchase of the company. The company believes that it is prudent to advise its employees and investors that the company is not engaged in discussions with, nor has it received any proposal or communication concerning a potential bid for the company or any of its business units and is not otherwise aware of any information supporting these rumours.”

It followed up by adding that it would maintain its policy of not commenting on rumours except as required by law in the future.

Share prices were affected by the speculation, however, and by 19 May had soared as high as $107.36, up 11%. Despite not being in discussions for sale, Church & Dwight’s latest financial figures make it an attractive asset. In recent Q1 2016 results, organic sales grew 5.2%, while EPS jumped $0.86, a 7.5% increase on Q1 2015. The figures exceeded the company’s forecasts and caused it to raise its full-year sales and gross margin outlook.

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