Newell Rubbermaid Capped Growth Strategy with Beloved Elmer’s Glue, Sealing Strategic Buyer of the Year

Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL) wielded M&A in 2015 to continue fine-tuning its product mix. The most significant middle-market deal for the company was the purchase of the 65-year-old Elmer’s Products Inc., a $600 million transaction that closed in October. The company also announced it would buy the owner of Yankee Candle, and it sold some non-core businesses including its Levolor and Kirsch window covering brands. The moves were in keeping with the company’s Growth Game Plan, which was launched in 2012 to create a “larger, faster growing, more global and more profitable company.”

One of the purposes of the new strategy is to allow Newell Rubbermaid to focus on businesses, such as writing, baby and parenting product lines. Elmer’s was added to the writing division, which houses the Sharpie brand, and is already helping that business grow in sales. In addition to its namesake brand, Elmer’s also owns Krazy Glue, and X-Acto, which is known for making cutting blades. For the 2015 fourth quarter, Elmer’s contributed about $37 million, or around 8 percent, in net sales to Newell Rubbermaid’s writing business. The latter posted about $466 million in net sales in the same quarter, which represents about 30 percent of Newell Rubbermaid’s overall net sales of $1.56 billion in the 2015 fourth quarter. “The addition of Elmer’s adds even more firepower and long-term potential to our building growth-acceleration and margin-development story,” says Newell Rubbermaid CEO Michael Polk.

One other area Newell Rubbermaid is focusing on is baby and parenting to help build up its Graco brand. This is where the $15 billion pending acquisition of Yankee Candle parent Jarden Corp. comes in. That deal is expected to close by the end of the 2016 second quarter. In addition to Yankee Candle, Jarden owns Nuk baby bottles. In 2014, Newell Rubbermaid completed its $210 million purchase of baby stroller maker Baby Jogger from the Riverside Co.

To help its growth process, Newell Rubbermaid has also been divesting assets along the way. For instance, Newell Rubbermaid recently announced plans to sells its Levolor and Kirsch window shade brands to Hunter Douglas for $270 million. In 2015, the company completed the $215 million sale of its Endicia Internet mailing services business to, and in that same year Newell Rubbermaid sold its mobile work station business to Capsa Solutions. Back in 2013, the company sold five hardware brands to private equity firm Nova Capital Management.

Newell Rubbermaid’s restructuring strategy has been helping the company improve sales. The company’s annual revenue increased from $5.73 billion in 2014 to $5.92 billion in 2015, a modest improvement of about 3 percent.

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