This week, Newell Brands announced plans to sell Pure Fishing and Jostens as part of its accelerated transformation plan, which is set to conclude by the end of 2019. The plan would absolve Newell Brands from two-thirds of its factories and approximately half of its work force.
The announcement comes on the heels of a $2.3 billion deal for Newell to sell another one of its brands, cookware maker Waddington Group, and a $624.4 million valuation of Pure Fishing by Wells Fargo on April 17.
According to the Wall Street Journal, since acquiring former Pure Fishing owner, Jarden Corp., in 2016, shares of Newell Brands have fallen 40-percent. The expected completion of its accelerated transformation plan would generate $10 billion for Newell—about half of which, the Journal says, will be used to buy back shares.
Who could buy Pure Fishing?
Pure Fishing is a titanic force in fishing. With Abu Garcia, Berkley, Fenwick, Hardy, PENN, Pflueger, Shakespeare, Spiderwire, and Stren among its list of iconic brands and a total valuation well over half a billion dollars, a serious player would need to step up to acquire its assets in total.
One potential suitor, former Jarden Corp. founder Martin Franklin, holds the keys to a $1.25 billion investment firm. Franklin resigned from Newell’s board in January, after an attempted takeover failed. Franklin, along with fellow former Jarden Corp. board members Ian Ashken and Ros L’Esperance have the resources and a possible desire to re-acquire Pure Fishing.
Franklin, along with activist investor Starboard Value, has been leading a proxy fight against Newell since his resignation. According to CNBC, former Jarden Corp. CEO Jim Lillie has also joined that fight.
Meanwhile, an anonymous official at Zebco has indicated that the Tulsa-based company would be intrigued by certain brands within the Pure Fishing portfolio.
For now, the fishing industry will have to wait to learn the future of Pure Fishing. With Newell Brands in sell mode, that news could break sooner rather than later.