Henkel Sounds-Out Wella with ‘Informal’ €4.5bn Bid

15 October 2002

German household products and chemicals giant Henkel has run an informal bid for haircare group Wella up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes.

The salute, if any, is likely to be of the two-fingered variety as family-controlled Wella has been famously dismissive of earlier attempts by Henkel to take it over. “We are growing faster than the company always named as a prospective buyer, Henkel,” jeered Wella chairman Heiner Guertler last year. “We do not need anyone to support us.”

But this time round a cool €4.5 billion ($4.44bn; £2.85bn) has been slapped on the table – sufficient perhaps to occasion a reflective pause from Herr Guertler and other shareholders.

According to insiders, Wella might be less snooty toward an offer at or above its own valuation of between €70-€80 per share – equivalent to €4.7 - €5.4 billion.

Henkel’s ardor is stoked by its desire to invigorate its sluggish cosmetics division, which currently accounts for 16% of sales. Its flagship consumer brand across Europe is Persil washing powder – save in the UK where the brand is owned by Unilever.

Data sourced from: The Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff