New PDF release: Avon: Building The World's Premier Company For Women

By Laura Klepacki

“…this booklet is essential for numerous reasons…avon is the epitome of the entrepreneurial innovator; studying the way it was once performed is easily definitely worth the time spent.” (MBA company, summer time 2005)

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A favorite sport of corporate raiders was to buy up struggling firms, break the company into bits and pieces, and sell each division off. Avon had been bleeding for quite some time, and the sharks were starting to circle. RALLYING THE TROOPS Preston swallowed hard and set about the difficult task of telling the members of Avon’s worldwide team that things were going to have to change. To this point, limos had been ordered at will and travel and entertainment expenses were routinely above plan. He asked everyone to pay attention to their costs and pitch in to help.

Two weeks after turning Amway away, Avon’s Board rejected an advance by Rochon. By August, Irwin Jacobs, previously of the Jacobs/Amway partnership, resurfaced with a new, higher bid of $41 a share, up from the previous $39. Again, the board threw out the offer. qxd 38 3/9/05 11:31 AM Page 38 AVON: BUILDING THE WORLD'S PREMIER COMPANY FOR WOMEN John Rochon was not to be counted out just yet. P. 5 percent of the company’s stock. The group behind Chartwell included the Fisher real estate family, Argonaut Partners (headed by John Rochon and Mary Kay), and the Getty Family Trust.

But Avon had its doubts. Separately, the two parties (Chartwell and Rochon) could each buy Avon stock and then regroup to own a majority of the company. qxd 3/9/05 11:31 AM Page 39 STAY FOCUSED 39 Avon possessed a poison pill, formally known as a “shareholder rights plan,” that was designed to defend against takeover attempts. If any one shareholder bought more than 20 percent of the stock, all other shares would double and effectively decrease that party’s ownership percentage. Avon wasn’t going to wait around to find out what would happen and challenged Argonaut’s claim with a lawsuit.

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