P&G shareholders approved Gillette acquisition
CINCINNATI (AP) - Procter & Gamble Co. shareholders on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved buying the Gillette Co., another step in forming the world's largest consumer products company.
A.G. Lafley, the company's chairman, president and chief executive, said 96.5 percent of the shareholder votes cast favored the $57 billion deal, which would bring prominent consumer brands under one umbrella, including P&G's Pampers diapers brand and Gillette's line of shavers.
"We have the opportunity to combine two of the world's leading consumer companies," Lafley said at a special shareholder meeting. "This is a great deal for P&G and shareholders alike."
Most shareholders voted before the meeting on the deal announced in January. Gillette shareholders were scheduled to vote later Tuesday in Wilmington, Del.
The Federal Trade Commission still is reviewing the deal and the European Commission has a Friday deadline to approve the merger or begin an in-depth probe. Earlier reports said the companies could sell some overlapping dental-care product lines to address competition concerns.
Lafley said discussions with regulators seemed to be going well, and the deal could close by early fall. He said it was premature to comment on what the companies may sell.
Shareholder Evelyn Y. Davis, while supporting the merger, questioned Lafley about the legal costs of the deal and the compensation for Gillette CEO James M. Kilts, which has been estimated as high as $185 million.
Lafley said Kilts has done an outstanding job at Gillette and will help lead the transition to integrate the companies.
Dan Kiley, president of Retirement Capital Advisors Inc., which manages assets for about 560 P&G retirees' families, said his clients are "ready to promote the merger. They can see the benefits that can be derived from a larger company with the global reach and wider range of products."
The deal would be the largest acquisition in the 167-year history of P&G, whose range of brands includes Crest, Tide and Head & Shoulders. Besides its line of razors, Boston-based Gillette makes Braun electric shavers, Oral-B toothbrushes and Duracell batteries.
P&G shares rose 36 cents to $54.21 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange, while Gillette shares gained 35 cents to $51.98. P&G shares have ranged between $50.33 and $57.40 in the past year while Gillette shares have traded between $37.77 and $54.33.