Sara Lee to Buy Endust, Behold Brands from Johnson WaxDAVID DISHNEAU , Associated Press
Feb. 25, 1993 6:36 PM ET
CHICAGO (AP) _ Sara Lee Corp. said Thursday it will acquire the Endust and Behold brands from S.C. Johnson and Son Inc. in a deal that will make Sara Lee a major player in furniture-care products.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Acquisition of the popular brands represents a new direction for Sara Lee's household and personal care products division, which markets Kiwi shoe polish in the United States and a broader range of products overseas.
''The acquisition of these highly recognizable brands is consistent with our strategy of acquiring and building strong consumer brands and expanding them globally,'' Cornelis Boostra, head of the household products unit, said in a statement.
Endust is North America's leading no-wax furniture-care product, according to Racine, Wis.-based Johnson, which is better known as Johnson Wax.
It is the No. 2 furniture polish in the United States with $20 million in annual supermarket sales, a 14 percent market share, according to Information Resources Inc., a Chicago-based market information firm. Johnson's own Pledge brand is the top seller, with annual sales of $76 million, according to Information Resources.
Behold had U.S. sales last year of $5 million, a 3.5 percent market share, according to Information Resources.
Johnson said it was divesting the brands, which were included in its December acquisition of The Drackett Co., because it already had a presence in the furniture-care market with Pledge and Favor.
Analysts said the acquisition marks a new thrust in U.S. household products for Chicago-based Sara Lee, which has concentrated in recent years on expanding its knitwear and overseas coffee and tea businesses.
Analyst William Maguire of Merrill Lynch Research, said he was surprised by the move.
''I have a feeling this is just a feeler acquisition to find out if the United States can be as lucrative for them as the European market has been,'' he said.
John McMillin of Prudential Securities, said Sara Lee is trying to beef up its household products division, which suffered a 7 percent sales decline in fiscal 1992 to $1.2 billion after Sara Lee sold its European drug business. The company had $13.2 billion in overall sales in the last fiscal year, which runs from July through June.
''Sara Lee is always looking for growth and lately there hasn't been much growth in household products,'' McMillin said.
He speculated that Sara Lee will market the furniture polishes internationally through the same system it uses for Kiwi, the company's most widely distributed brand.
Sara Lee stock rose 37 1/2 cents to close at $29.50 a share Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.