Bayer sells Dr. Scholl’s footcare brand to Yellow Wood Partners

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’s Bayer (BAYGn.DE) signed a deal on Monday to sell its Dr. Scholl’s footcare brand to U.S. private investment firm Yellow Wood Partners for $585 million, the second of two consumer care products it had put on the block.

Bayer, whose stock has slumped amid lawsuits over an alleged cancer-causing effect of its Roundup weed killer, struck a deal in May to sell U.S. sun care brand Coppertone to Nivea maker Beiersdorf (BEIG.DE) for $550 million.

The divestments are part of a wider overhaul unveiled in November by Bayer Chief Executive Werner Baumann, who is under pressure to boost the share price.

Bayer’s Dr. Scholl’s, which generated $234 million in sales last year, is primarily a North American brand. Rival Reckitt Benckiser (RB.L) owns the Scholl footcare business outside North America.

Bayer acquired weed killer Roundup as part of the $63 billion takeover of U.S. seeds and pesticides maker Monsanto last year. The German company has said Roundup is safe to use.

The German group, which is scheduled to release second-quarter results on July 30, is also looking for a new owner of its animal health business, the world’s largest maker of flea and tick control products for pets, which analysts have said could fetch 6 billion to 7 billion euros.

Reuters this month quoted sources familiar with the matter as saying Bayer had approached U.S. drug firm Elanco Animal Health (ELAN.N) about a possible tie-up.

Bayer’s consumer healthcare business, bolstered by the 2014 acquisition of a Merck & Co (MRK.N) division for $14 billion, will focus on remaining brands that require more medical expertise.

The business has faced falling revenues as U.S. consumers switched from established drugstores to online shops.

Boston-based Yellow Wood will create a standalone company for the Dr. Scholl’s consumer brand and it plans to invest in the business to drive growth and profitability, Bayer added.


Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Michelle Martin and Edmund Blair


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