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TheStreet Open House

Avon Rejects Coty's Unsolicited Indication Of Interest





NEW YORK, April 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE: AVP) today confirmed that it received an unsolicited, non-binding indication of interest from Coty Inc. to acquire Avon for $23.25 per share.

Avon's Board of Directors, consistent with its fiduciary duties, carefully considered an indication of interest from Coty that was substantially the same as one made less than two weeks ago. At that time, the Board concluded, and it still believes, that Coty's indication of interest is opportunistic and not in the best interest of Avon's shareholders.

In reaching its conclusion, Avon's Board considered, among other things:

Strategic direction: The Board of Directors remains confident in the Company's stand-alone prospects.

Coty's indication of interest substantially undervalues Avon and is opportunistically timed:  The Avon Board believes Coty's indication of interest, which offers Avon shareholders only a 20% premium over the Company's closing share price on March 30, 2012, does not reflect the fundamental value of Avon and its global beauty care franchise.  Indeed, the indication of interest represents a multiple of only 1.1 times Avon's net revenue for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011 and 8.7 times 2011 EBITDA.  This is significantly below multiples that the Board of Directors believes an iconic consumer company is worth in a change of control transaction.                

The completion of the CEO searchAvon is committed to its publicly announced process of hiring a new CEO and executing against what the Company believes are its strong long-term prospects.  With a new CEO, Avon's Board firmly believes that there is greater opportunity to improve shareholder value in excess of Coty's conditional indication of interest.

Coty's indication of interest does not constitute a real offer:  Coty's indication of interest is non-binding and, by its own terms, subject to numerous conditions such as financing, due diligence and the negotiation of a definitive agreement.  Coty's letter to Avon dated March 30 alludes to the possibility that, following diligence, Coty reserves the right to raise or lower its price to acquire Avon.  In the final analysis, Coty is attempting to obtain a "free look" at Avon in the absence of any commitment whatsoever to close a transaction at any price.

Avon's Board and management are committed to creating value for shareholders and, in so doing, take their fiduciary duties and responsibilities very seriously. The Company remains committed to its publicly stated path of completing the CEO search and executing against what it believes are Avon's strong long-term prospects.  Coty's indication of interest of $23.25 per share does not provide a compelling reason for Avon to deviate from its current plans.  Under the circumstances, Avon's Board is convinced that rejecting Coty's indication of interest is in Avon shareholders' best interests.

Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with over $11 billion in annual revenue. As the world's largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in more than 100 countries through approximately 6.4 million active independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon's product line includes beauty products, as well as fashion and home products, and features such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, ANEW, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques, Avon Naturals, and mark. Learn more about Avon and its products at www.avoncompany.com.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT FOR PURPOSES OF THE "SAFE HARBOR" STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995

Statements in this release that are not historical facts or information are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "estimate," "project," "forecast," "plan," "believe," "may," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "planned," "potential," "can," "expectation" and similar expressions, or the negative of those expressions, may identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are based on management's reasonable current assumptions and expectations. Such forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievement of Avon to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, and there can be no assurance that actual results will not differ materially from management's expectations. Such factors include, among others, the following:

  • our ability to implement the key initiatives of, and realize the gross and operating margins and projected benefits (in the amounts and time schedules we expect) from, our global business strategy, including our multi-year restructuring programs and any initiatives arising under our long-range business review, product mix and pricing strategies, Enterprise Resource Planning, customer service initiatives, sales and operation planning process, outsourcing strategies, Internet platform and technology strategies, information technology and related system enhancements and cash management, tax, foreign currency hedging and risk management strategies;
  • our ability to realize the anticipated benefits (including any financial projections concerning, for example, future revenue, profit, cash flow and operating margin increases) from our multi-year restructuring programs, any initiatives arising under our long-range business review or other initiatives on the time schedules or in the amounts that we expect, and our plans to invest these anticipated benefits ahead of future growth;
  • the possibility of business disruption in connection with our multi-year restructuring programs, long-range business review or other initiatives;
  • our ability to realize sustainable growth from our investments in our brand and the direct-selling channel;
  • our ability to transition our business in North America, including enhancing our Sales Leadership model and optimizing our product portfolio;
  • a general economic downturn, a recession globally or in one or more of our geographic regions, or sudden disruption in business conditions, and the ability of our broad-based geographic portfolio to withstand an economic downturn, recession, cost inflation, commodity cost pressures, economic or political instability, competitive or other market pressures or conditions;
  • the effect of political, legal, tax and regulatory risks imposed on us in the United States and abroad, our operations or our Representatives, including foreign exchange or other restrictions, adoption, interpretation and enforcement of foreign laws including any changes thereto, as well as reviews and investigations by government regulators that have occurred or may occur from time to time, including, for example, local regulatory scrutiny in China;
  • our ability to effectively manage inventory and implement initiatives to reduce inventory levels, including the potential impact on cash flows and obsolescence;
  • our ability to achieve growth objectives, particularly in our largest markets, such as the U.S., and developing and emerging markets, such as Brazil or Russia;
  • our ability to successfully identify new business opportunities and identify and analyze acquisition candidates, secure financing on favorable terms and negotiate and consummate acquisitions as well as to successfully integrate or manage any acquired business;
  • the challenges to our acquired businesses, such as Silpada, including the effect of rising costs, macro-economic pressures, competition, and the impact of declines in expected future cash flows and growth rates, and a change in the discount rate used to determine the fair value of expected future cash flows, which have impacted, and may continue to impact, the estimated fair value of the recorded goodwill and intangible assets;
  • the effect of economic factors, including inflation and fluctuations in interest rates and currency exchange rates, as well as the designation of Venezuela as a highly inflationary economy, foreign exchange restrictions and the potential effect of such factors on our business, results of operations and financial condition;
  • our ability to successfully transition and evolve our business in China in connection with the development and evolution of the direct-selling business in that market, our ability to operate using a direct-selling model permitted in that market and our ability to retain and increase the number of Active Representatives there over a sustained period of time;
  • general economic and business conditions in our markets, including social, economic and political uncertainties in the international markets in our portfolio;
  • any developments in or consequences of investigations and compliance reviews, and any litigation related thereto, including the ongoing internal investigation and compliance reviews of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related U.S. and foreign law matters in China and additional countries, as well as any disruption or adverse consequences resulting from such investigations, reviews, related actions or litigation;
  • key information technology systems, process or site outages and disruptions;
  • disruption in our supply chain or manufacturing and distribution operations;
  • other sudden disruption in business operations beyond our control as a result of events such as acts of terrorism or war, natural disasters, pandemic situations, large-scale power outages and similar events;
  • the risk of product or ingredient shortages resulting from our concentration of sourcing in fewer suppliers;
  • the quality, safety and efficacy of our products;
  • the success of our research and development activities;
  • our ability to attract and retain key personnel;
  • competitive uncertainties in our markets, including competition from companies in the cosmetics, fragrances, skincare and toiletries industry, some of which are larger than we are and have greater resources;
  • our ability to implement our Sales Leadership program globally, to generate Representative activity, to increase the number of consumers served per Representative and their engagement online, to enhance the Representative and consumer experience and increase Representative productivity through field activation programs, execution of Service Model Transformation and other investments in the direct-selling channel, and to compete with other direct-selling organizations to recruit, retain and service Representatives and to continue to innovate the direct-selling model;
  • the impact of the typically seasonal nature of our business, adverse effect of rising energy, commodity and raw material prices, changes in market trends, purchasing habits of our consumers and changes in consumer preferences, particularly given the global nature of our business and the conduct of our business in primarily one channel;
  • our ability to protect our intellectual property rights;
  • the risk of an adverse outcome in any material pending and future litigations or with respect to the legal status of Representatives;
  • our ratings, our access to cash and short and long-term financing and ability to secure financing, or financing at attractive rates;
  • the impact of possible pension funding obligations, increased pension expense and any changes in pension regulations or interpretations thereof on our cash flow and results of operations; and
  • the impact of changes in tax rates on the value of our deferred tax assets.

 

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