Proctor & Gamble planning $55 billion deal for Gillette


NEW YORK Procter & Gamble Co. is preparing to buy battery and shaving-products maker Gillette Co. for $55 billion in stock, according to published reports. If approved by regulators, the acquisition would create the world s largest consumer-products company.

The deal would couple Gillette s Duracell batteries, Right Guard deodorant and razor brands with P&G s Tide detergent, Clairol and Pantene hair products and Folgers coffee.

The deal was to be announced Friday, the New York Times quoted executives close to the deal. The Wall Street Journal reported that Procter was near a deal for Boston-based Gillette.

A P&G spokeswoman, Linda Ulrey, declined to comment on the reports tonight.

Gillette officials did not immediately return calls for comment.

The deal, as reported by both papers, calls for P&G to pay about 0.975 of its shares, or $54, for each Gillette share.

That represents an 18 percent premium for Gillette, which closed at $45.85 today on the New York Stock Exchange. P&G shares fell 12 cents to close at $55.32.

Cincinnati-based P&G released its quarterly earnings today, a day earlier than planned. Company executives were scheduled to meet with analysts Friday in New York.

P&G shares have risen nearly a third since 2003, as the company s strong stable of global brands has powered consistent profits and sales growth. That rise has given the consumer-products behemoth plenty of stock currency to pursue acquisitions.

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