$5.8 Billion Housewares Merger

Newell Co. said Wednesday it will acquire Rubbermaid Inc. in a stock-and-debt deal valued at $5.8 billion, creating a housewares behemoth with more than $6 billion in annual sales.

Newell will issue 0.7883 shares per share of Rubbermaid, or $38.68 a share to put a 49 percent premium on the issue based on closing prices Tuesday.

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Newell (NWL)
Newell will also assume about $500 million in net debt. After the deal goes through, Rubbermaid stockholders will own about 40 percent of the combined company.

In early trading, Rubbermaid (RBD) stock surged 6 5/8 to 32 1/2, a gain of more than 25 percent. Newell (NWL) fell 3 5/16 to 45 3/4.

Newell, a little known but well respected company, is a seller of such well known brands as Calphalon pots and pans, Anchor Hocking Glassware and Rolodex files. It had $3.2 billion in sales in 1997.

Wooster, Ohio-based Rubbermaid, whose fortunes have fallen in recent years, is the leading maker of plastic containers for food and other household goods, and it still enjoys status as one of the world's most recognizable brand names. It had $2.4 billion in sales in 1997.

Written By Jeffry Bartash