German consumer conglomerate Henkel is deep in talks to buy Sealed Air’s professional cleaning unit, Diversey, for a price likely to exceed $3 billion, two sources told The Post. Henkel’s push into the US this week included airing an ad during the Super Bowl for its laundry detergent brand, Persil ProClean. Henkel had already owned Persil last year when it scooped up the Dial, All and Wisk soap brands as part of a $3.
6 billion acquisition of Wilton, Conn. Sun Products. Sealed Air announced in October it planned to spin off the Diversey unit, as well as its food hygiene and cleaning businesses to shareholders.
It said a spinoff of Diversey, which sells machines, tools and chemicals, would happen in the second half of 2017. However, Sealed Air is also pursuing a sale of Diversey as part of a dual process, sources said. “ firms want to bid for it, but Henkel is in there” and it may pay more, a source said.
“This could be a spin, but it sounds to me like a sale is even more likely,” a Sealed Air analyst said. “Valuations are pretty strong, and I think Diversey’s tax basis is also pretty high so they would have limited tax leakage on a cash sale. ” The analyst also noted that buyout firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice was prepping an IPO of its industrial packaging company Mauser Group.
On Monday, however, CD&R announced it was instead selling it for cash to Stone Canyon Industries for $2. 3 billion. Sealed Air, which bought Diversey for $4.
3 billion in 2011, is expected to take a significant haircut on the sale as it failed to integrate the acquisition with its packaging businesses, sources said. Henkel and Sealed Air did not return calls..