Tuesday evening, The Wall Street Journal reported that Procter & Gamble has consulted with Blackstone Group on the potential sale of some of its brands, confirming earlier speculation. The consumer-products giant is reportedly considering shedding its Duracell, Pringles, and Folgers/Milestone coffee business units in an effort to concentrate focus on what the Journal calls fast-growing, high-margin businesses, particularly in the health-and-beauty arena.
Pringles and the coffee brands enjoy annual sales of more than $1 billion; Duracell brings in more than $2 billion in sales each year. Pringles' operating margin is 25%, the coffee businesses' margin is about 19%, and Duracell's is 20%. Nevertheless, competition has limited the brands' annual sales growth below PG's overall goal of 4% to 6%.
According to sources close to the matter, potential buyers for these brands include private equity firms. PG shares are unchanged in early trading as they attempt to fight to another new high.