HOBOKEN, N.J.—Nineteen years after Newell Co. bought housewares giant Rubbermaid Inc., Newell Brands Inc. is looking to sell it.
Newell said Jan. 25 that it was "exploring strategic options" for Rubbermaid Commercial Products, and Rubbermaid outdoor, closet, refuse and garage offerings, as part of a sweeping move to cut its global factory and warehouse space by 50 percent, and its customer base that same amount.
In issuing its preliminary 2017 financial results, Newell said the moves would result in "a significant reduction in operational complexity" and give Newell "an approximately $11 billion focused portfolio of leading consumer-facing brands with attractive margins and growth potential in global categories."
The other businesses Newell is looking to exit are Waddington, Process Solutions, Mapa, Rawlings, Goody and U.S. playing cards.
The moves mark a major unwinding of businesses that Newell acquired over a long period of building a conglomerate-type company in a wide range of products. Newell bought Wooster, Ohio-based Rubbermaid in 1999.
"Newell Brands intends to begin the evaluation process immediately and expects any resulting transactions to be completed by the end of 2019," the company said. Newell's initial guidance for 2018 assumes it will continue to own all the assets for the entire calendar year.
Newell Brands CEO Michael Polk said the strategy will make "a stronger, simpler, faster Newell."
Hoboken-based Newell will give more details on its strategic and operational initiatives when it releases fourth quarter earnings Feb. 16.