said Thursday that it had begun exclusive negotiations to sell its struggling stationery products business to
The stationery products division, which includes Paper Mate pens and Liquid Paper white-out could fetch around $900 million, according to
analyst Sally Dessloch.
Dessloch said in February that office products companies have been changing hands an average of 1.3 times sales. Last year, Gillette's stationery products division posted sales of $743 million. Dessloch estimated that Gillette's division would fetch a multiple slightly below that number due to its declining profitability. Gillette declined to comment on a sale price.
In October, Gillette began an internal review of the stationery products division. In February, Boston-based Gillette tapped investment bank
to help it find a buyer for the business, which has seen its profits lag in recent years.
Gillette shares closed up 1 3/8, or 4%, at 34 3/4. Newell Rubbermaid, based in Freeport, Ill., saw its shares rise 1/2, or 2%, to close at 26 3/4.