Through its planned merger with Jarden Corp., housewares giant Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is powering up for global growth.
Newell Rubbermaid President and CEO Michael Polk said he sees “a number of intuitive combinations” in the planned merger, which was announced in December 2015. Both companies are major producers of plastic goods like office supplies, food containers and baby products. Polk will serve as CEO of the combined company, to be called Newell Brands.
Speaking at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in February, Polk described ongoing reorganizing and efficiency improvements at Newell Rubbermaid, with $500 million in cost savings expected to result from the merger.
“While the brands had tremendous potential — they were competing in very good categories with all kinds of upside opportunity connected to them — the company was constrained from unlocking its trapped capacity for growth in part driven by the way we were organized, the way we were designed,” he said.
The Jarden news follows a series of bolt-on acquisitions by Newell Rubbermaid, including Contigo, Avex and Bubba beverage container brands; Elmer's adhesive and cutting products; and Baby Jogger strollers. In March the company announced it would divest its window covering brands Levolor and Kirsch to architectural products firm Hunter Douglas.
Newell Rubbermaid is now organized into writing, commercial, tools, baby and home divisions. The merger will bring on board Jarden's infrastructure in Europe, and help Newell Rubbermaid adapt more nimbly to a shift in customers' purchasing patterns, Polk said.
“There are capabilities that exist on the Jarden side that are interesting and important that we will tap for growth and improved performance on the Newell side of the family, particularly in the work they do in direct-to-consumer e-commerce,” Polk said March 9 at the UBS Global Consumer Conference, “They've been a little more bold, I'd say, than our team has been in deploying some of their core assets into new geographies across Europe.”
In particular, Polk sees new potential for the company's writing business through Jarden's presence in France and Germany.
Polk also reported moves to broaden Newell Rubbermaid's advertising and bolster the new products pipeline, including more investment in industrial design.
The transaction with Jarden is scheduled to close in the second quarter of this year.