MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook tests ‘buy’ button to help companies drive sales

BY Dan Berthiaume

Menlo Park, Calif. – Facebook is testing a new “buy” button designed to help businesses drive sales through Facebook in News Feed and on Pages. With this feature, people on desktop or mobile can click the “Buy” call-to-action button on ads and page posts to purchase a product directly from a business, without leaving Facebook.

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Facebook said in a brief post on its website that the buy button was designed with privacy in mind and that it has taken steps to help make the payment experience safe and secure. None of the credit or debit card information people share with Facebook when completing a transaction will be shared with other advertisers, and people can select whether or not they’d like to save payment information for future purchases. The current test is limited to a few small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S.

If Facebook can overcome consumer privacy concerns, the buy button could be a huge boost in its viability as a direct e-commerce platform. Many retailers do offer direct purchase capability from their Facebook pages, but a buy button embedded in ads and posts will make the purchase process much easier and more top-of-mind for consumers.

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News

Newell Rubbermaid expands home solutions segment with latest acquisition

BY CSA STAFF

Newell Rubbermaid has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ignite Holdings from North Castle Partners, a leading private equity firm focused on consumer businesses that promote healthy, active and sustainable living.

Ignite is a leading designer and marketer of durable beverage containers sold under the Contigo and Avex brands. The company is expected to deliver $125 million of net sales in 2014. The purchase price is $308 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Newell Rubbermaid’s growth rate, normalized operating income margin and normalized EPS in the first year. Newell Rubbermaid plans to reinvest a portion of Ignite’s profitability to more aggressively build the Contigo and Avex brands.

"Ignite has a great track record of growth, establishing a leading share position in two of the fastest growing consumer durable categories in North America,” said Newell Rubbermaid president and CEO Michael Polk. “Their commitment to leverage great design to deliver differentiated products is evident in their results. The acquisition of Ignite marks the next step in the Growth Game Plan as we transform Newell Rubbermaid into a larger, faster growing, more global and more profitable company."

The acquired business will become part of the home solutions segment with Contigo and Avex joining the company’s Rubbermaid, Calphalon, Goody and Levolor brands.

"Ignite’s focus on design, product performance and constant innovation is a seamless fit with our Growth Game Plan strategy," said Mark Tarchetti, chief development officer. "The Contigo brand has set the standard for the category and we are proud to make it part of our portfolio. This acquisition creates the opportunity to build a global beverage container business leveraging both the premium Contigo and mainstream Rubbermaid brands. We intend to invest behind the business to build on Ignite’s current strong momentum, expanding product lines, channels of distribution and geographic footprint over time."

"We are delighted to have found a long term strategic owner for the business who shares our pride in the achievements and strength of the company, but can bring a new level of investment and global perspective," added Sami El-Saden, CEO of Ignite.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2014, subject to customary conditions and regulatory approvals. Robert W. Baird & Co. acted as financial adviser to Newell Rubbermaid on the transaction.

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OPERATIONS

Office Depot names CVS exec Mark Crosby as North America president

BY Dan Berthiaume

Boca Raton, Fla. – Office Depot Inc. has named retail veteran Mark Cosby as president, North America. Cosby, 55, most recently served as president of pharmacy at CVS Caremark. He will be a member of Office Depot’s executive committee and leadership team and report to Roland Smith, chairman and CEO of Office Depot.

Cosby joins Office Depot following a 30-year career at a number of leading retail chains. Prior to CVS, Cosby spent five years at Macy’s Inc., where he served in a number of executive roles, including president, stores.

Previously, Cosby served as president, full-line stores at Sears, Roebuck & Co. and COO and chief development officer at Yum Brands Inc.

Cosby "brings three decades of significant leadership experience at large and complex retail operations, including serving as president of three leading retail chains," said Office Depot chairman and CEO Roland Smith. "I believe Mark’s leadership style, skills and experience will enable him to quickly make a positive impact on our business."

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