Office Depot to sell joint venture in Latin American operation
Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot has reached an agreement to sell its 50% stake in Office Depot de Mexico S.A. de C.V. to its joint venture partner Grupo Gigante, S.A.B. de C.V. for roughly $690 million in cash.
Office Depot de Mexico, which was founded in 1994 as a joint partnership between Office Depot and Grupo Gigante, has more than 248 stores throughout Mexico and Central America and more than $1.1 billion in annual sales.
“Grupo Gigante has been a wonderful partner in Mexico for almost 20 years,” said Steve Schmidt, president of international for Office Depot. “Over the past year, we have been actively exploring with them ways to illuminate the value of this business through a potential IPO. Through the process, they expressed a desire to own the business outright that culminated in the sale announced today.”
Office Depot expects to get $550 million after taxes, which it will use to redeem some convertible shares from private-equity firm BC Partners and to redeem $150 million of bonds that are due in August.
The sale is subject to Mexican regulatory approval and Grupo Gigante S.A.B. de C.V. shareholder approval.
Office Depot noted that, in accordance with the terms of its planned merger agreement with OfficeMax, it had obtained the required consent from OfficeMax to proceed with the sale.
Build-A-Bear Workshop names former Stride Rite exec as new CEO
St. Louis — Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. has appointed Sharon Price John, 49, as CEO, effective immediately. John, who previously served as president of Stride Rite Children’s Group, a division of Wolverine Worldwide, succeeds company founder Maxine Clark, who is retiring as CEO. Clark will remain on the board of directors.
John has more than 20 years of experience with children’s brands, including Hasbro and Mattel as well as Stride Rite. She joins Build-A-Bear Workshop, which has strugged in recent year, at a time when the company’s turnround efforts, which include the rollout of an experiential store design, seem to be bearing fruit.
“I am confident that Sharon has the skills and passion to build upon our strategies that resulted in our strong year-to-date sales performance and position our company for sustained profitable growth,” former CEO Clark stated. “I am thrilled we have attracted a leader with Sharon’s experience and credentials and I look forward to working with her to ensure a smooth transition and to being a member of our board.”
In her statement, Clark noted that in the second quarter, which represents the company’s seasonally smallest quarter of the year and typically results in a loss, same- store sales were strong, putting its year to date comp at positive 10.3% on a consolidated basis through May.
In an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, John said that her new job aligned well with her background in branded toys and children’s retail. She also expressed her respect for Clark, who she called an “amazing iconic businesswoman.”
“Maxine has built a wonderful brand a wonderful business model over the last 15 years,” John said
Clark will assist in a six-week transition period and will be paid $29,166 a month for six months to serve as a consultant, according to the report.
Founded in in 1997, Build-A-Bear Workshop currently operates more than 400 stores worldwide.
P&G’s Always brand prepares to give a girl a break
CINCINNATI — Procter & Gamble’s Always feminine care brand has announced the launch of its “Give a Girl a Break” initiative that aims to turn filmmaking passions into careers for a group of aspiring young women.
“Women help and inspire each other every day, but unfortunately that is not always how women are portrayed. Even a little encouragement from another woman can spark amazing accomplishments and we want to celebrate women supporting other women,” stated Sarah Innes, P&G North America FemCare marketing director. “We are proud to launch ‘Give a Girl a Break’ as an inspiring example of what can be achieved by a community of women who encourage each other to pursue their passions. We hope many will join Always in this effort and help demonstrate how women are stronger together.”
The “Give a Girl a Break” will engage the Always Facebook community to commit to helping other women and support the filmmakers’ journey.
How it works: “Give a Girl a Break” features three teams of female filmmakers as they create short films showing how support from other women can make a difference. During the production, the Always community has a chance to engage with the teams and their stories through:
• Exclusive behind-the-scenes videos;
• Facebook updates from the sets;
• Twitter chats with the filmmakers and María Marín;
• Photos and updates documenting the journey.
Upon completion, all three films will debut on the Always Facebook page where fans can vote in different categories to show the filmmakers their support.