Newell Follows Up Yankee Candle Acquisition with WoodWick Candles

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Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE: NWL) has agreed to buy food container maker Sistema Plastics and candle producer Smith Mountain Industries for a combined $570 million. The acquisitions are part of Newell’s Growth Game Plan strategy to reshape its portfolio through M&A in order to focus on core business lines. Newell won Mergers & Acquisitions’ 2015 M&A Mid-Market Award for Strategic Buyer of the Year.

Sistema, based in Auckland, New Zealand, makes food storage containers under the Sistema brand, and has about $145 million in annual sales. The target will expand Newell’s international presence into regions including: Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and New Zealand. Newell is paying $470 million for Sistema.

Smith Mountain produces candles under the WoodWick brand. Newell is paying $100 million for the Lynchburg, Virginia-based target, which has about $65 million in annual sales. Hoboken, New Jersey-based Newell says WoodWick fits in its home fragrance division, which owns Yankee Candle. Newell completed its $15 billion purchase of Yankee Candle owner Jarden in 2016.

Newell CEO Michael Polk says both acquisitions will strengthen the company’s presence in core categories, particularly in food storage, home fragrance and writing. Newell launched its Growth Game Plan in 2012 to create a “larger, faster growing, more global and more profitable company." For example, in 2015, Elmer’s was added to the writing division, which houses the Sharpie brand.

Newell is in the process of selling 10 percent of its portfolio so it can focus on fast-growing businesses. The company has agreed to sell the Irwin tools brand to Stanley Black & Decker Inc. (NYSE: SWK) for $1.95 billion. That sale also includes the Hilmor and Lenox brands. Cameron Partners and Rothschild are advising Newell on the Sistema deal.

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