Jacobs Reportedly Plans Proxy Fight To Force Gillette Sale
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) _ Investor Irwin Jacobs plans to launch a proxy fight to force the sale of Gillette Co., which has spurned repeated takeover proposals from Revlon Group Inc., the Wall Street Journal reported today.
Jacobs, who holds a sizable but less than 5 percent stake in the Boston- based maker of razor blades and personal-care products, plans to solicit shareholder consent to force the board to break a standstill agreement between Gillette and Revlon, The Journal said.
Revlon’s takeover proposals twice were rebuffed by Gillette’s board this summer. At this time, Jacobs is not considering an attempt to remove Gillette’s board, the Journal said, citing unidentified sources.
Jacobs’ apparent aim is to allow Revlon Chairman Ronald O. Perelman to take his bid for control directly to Gillette shareholders, presumably through a hostile tender offer, the paper said.
Perelman has been blocked from direct action by a standstill agreement signed with Gillette last fall after an earlier takeover attempt in which he agreed not to seek control of the company for 10 years.
The Journal said that alternately, Jacobs apparently hopes that by freeing Perelman he may force Gillette into the hands of another potential suitor.
Jacobs could not be reached for comment over the weekend, The Journal said. A woman answering the telephone at Jacobs’ home today said he was at his office, but his office answering machine was on.
A Gillette spokesman was unavailable for comment today.
In rejecting Revlon’s repeated bids for the company, Gillette officials have said shareholder values could best be helped by continued improvements in company operations.
Revlon’s latest bid was a $5.41 billion, $47-a-share proposal on Aug. 17.