Updated — Nineteen years after Newell Co. bought housewares giant Rubbermaid Inc., Newell Brands Inc. is looking to sell it, and a bunch of other companies, including another plastics business, comb and brush maker Goody.
Newell announced Jan. 25 that it was “exploring strategic options” for Rubbermaid Commercial Products and Rubbermaid outdoor, closet, refuse and garage offerings, as part of a sweeping move to cut its global factory and warehouse space by 50 percent, and its customer base by that same amount.
In issuing its preliminary 2017 financial results, Newell said the moves would result in “a significant reduction in operational complexity” and give Newell “an approximately $11 billion focused portfolio of leading consumer-facing brands with attractive margins and growth potential in global categories.”
Newell's stock fell 20 percent after the announcement, to close Jan. 25 at $24.78 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The other businesses Newell is looking to exit are Waddington, Process Solutions, Mapa, Rawlings and U.S. playing cards.
Potential buyers of Rubbermaid include competing plastics housewares makers, a company outside the housewares industry or private equity.
United Solutions Corp. bought the Rubbermaid storage tote business in January of 2017. Officials of the Leominster, Mass.-based company could not be reached for comment for this story. A spokesman for Sterilite Corp. of Townsend, Mass., declined to comment.
Iris USA, based in Surprise, Ariz., could not be reached for comment.
Another housewares company, Keter Group, was purchased two year ago by London private equity firm BC Partners, which could not be reached for comment, and Canadian pension fund the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, where a spokeswoman said the fund declined to comment.
Also on Jan. 25, the company announced that three of its 12 board members had resigned, including Martin Franklin, the former CEO of Jarden Corp., who built Jarden into a major consumer products company through acquisitions before selling to Newell in late 2015.
The moves mark a major unwinding of businesses that Newell acquired over a long period of building a conglomerate-type company in a wide range of products. Newell bought Wooster, Ohio-based Rubbermaid in 1999.
“Newell Brands intends to begin the evaluation process immediately and expects any resulting transactions to be completed by the end of 2019,” the company said. Newell's initial guidance for 2018 assumes it will continue to own all the assets for the entire calendar year.
Newell Brands CEO Michael Polk said the strategy will make “a stronger, simpler, faster Newell.”
Hoboken, N.J.-based Newell will give more details on its strategic and operational initiatives when it releases fourth quarter earnings Feb. 16.