Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP) is set to open higher this morning after it was revealed that a group of activist investors are seeking a sale of the company. AVP stock was up 7% at 7:30 a.m. in pre-market trading.
Shah Capital, Barington Capital Group LP and NuOrion Partners have banded together to call on Avon to seek a buyer, according to The Wall Street Journal. The move could set up a fight for the company’s board as a key deadline looms, according to the newspaper.
The three firms together own about 3.5% of outstanding AVP stock. Earlier this month, InvestorPlace contributor Vince Martin named Avon stock as one of eight equities likely to reach a new low in 2018.
“AVP stock has bounced a bit after hitting a 28-year low below $2 back in November,” he wrote. “But that bounce seems likely to be short-lived. There’s little reason to see any growth here, and the debt load alone looks like enough to sink AVP. A 28% decline this year — half of 2017’s fall — will be enough to send AVP to a new all-time low. And while that sounds like a big move, in the context of the stock’s recent movements it’s just a continuation of the trend.”
That situation seems to have now evolved to the point where the activist investor group has had enough. “We have lost confidence in the ability of the board to create meaningful long-term value for its public shareholders,” they wrote to Avon’s board, according to The Journal. “We believe that a better capitalized strategic buyer would do a much better job unlocking the tremendous value potential at Avon.”
Avon is in the middle of a major transition, with CEO Sheri McCoy expected to exit the company at the end of March. Avon rejected an $11 billion takeover offer six years ago.
AVP stock has lost 56.5% of its value in the past 12 months.