Spectrum Brands Merges With Top Shareholder

Spectrum's deal with HRG Group will “result in an independent company with meaningfully increased trading liquidity in our common stock."
Matthew HellerFebruary 26, 2018

Consumer products company Spectrum Brands is merging with HRG Group, its largest shareholder, in a $10 billion deal that will make it completely independent and provide trading liquidity in its stock.

HRG, a New York holding company, currently owns 59% of Spectrum, whose brands include Black & Decker, George Foreman grills, Rayovac batteries, and Kwikset locks. The stake in Spectrum is HRG’s principal asset.

Under the terms of the deal announced Monday, Spectrum Brands shareholders will get one newly issued share of the combined company for each Spectrum share they own in a tax-free transaction, while HRG shareholders will get shares of the combined company to match their current stake.

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HRG stock jumped 4.65% on news of the deal. The company, which also owns insurance company Front Street Re (Delaware) Ltd., has a market capitalization $3.21 billion, while Spectrum Brands has a valuation of $6 billion.

The merger will “result in an independent company with meaningfully increased trading liquidity in our common stock,” David Maura, executive chairman of Spectrum Brands, said in a news release, adding that Spectrum would have “the flexibility to strategically redeploy a large amount of capital through share repurchases and highly accretive acquisitions.”

Dave Prichard, a spokesman for Middleton, Wisc.-based Spectrum, said the deal effectively dissolves HRG and was the result of several months of negotiations.

“Our stock will be more freely traded,” he told the Wisconsin State Journal. “We think that’s a positive because it allows more shareholders to buy Spectrum Brands stock. There’s more float.”

Spectrum Brands is the successor company to Rayovac, which was founded in 1906 as the French Battery Co. The George Foreman and Black & Decker small kitchen appliances businesses were acquired in 2010.

Spectrum said the merger will not affect the pending sale of its global battery business to Energizer Holdings and the company’s plan to explore alternatives for its appliances division. Leucadia National, HRG’s largest shareholder, will own at least 10% of the combined company.

“We believe this transaction will deliver substantial value to all Spectrum Brands shareholders, including the company’s minority shareholders,” board member Terry Polistina said.

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