January 15, 2016 / 1:16 PM / 3 years ago

Revlon's largest shareholder Perelman seeks strategic options

(Reuters) - Revlon Inc’s (REV.N) controlling shareholder and billionaire, Ron Perelman, said on Friday he would seek strategic alternatives for the cosmetics maker but did not detail a specific plan.

A Public Safety officer keeps watch as people stand in front of a billboard owned by Revlon in Times Square in the Manhattan borough of New York October 13, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Shares of the company, the owner of Charlie perfumes and Almay cosmetics, rose as much as 11.5 percent to $28.06.

Revlon has been struggling to keep pace with changing consumer preferences, which have shifted toward more niche and exclusive brands.

The company is also facing intense competition from bigger rivals such as Estee Lauder Cos Inc (EL.N) and L’Oreal SA (OREP.PA) whose deep pockets allow them to spend heavily on research and marketing new brands.

In December, Revlon’s peer Avon Products Inc (AVP.N) sold 80.1 percent of its North American business to Cerberus Capital Management LP after grappling with falling sales in the region for more than three years.

Revlon’s sales have declined in the past three quarters and, in 2013, the company said it would exit China, a lucrative market for U.S. beauty companies.

In September, Revlon launched a restructuring plan to cut costs across its consumer and professional businesses.

Perelman bought Revlon in 1985 in a hostile takeover for about $1.8 billion, and, in 2009, made an unsuccessful attempt to take the company private.

His investment company MacAndrews & Forbes, which has a 77.6 percent stake in Revlon, said on Friday it did not have any specific or definitive plan or proposal.

The takeover battle between Perelman and Revlon’s board resulted in the “Revlon rule,” a legal requirement that states that a board has an overriding duty to seek the highest possible offer for shareholders in case the company is being sold.

Revlon, founded in 1932, had a market value of about $1.32 billion as of Thursday close.

The company’s shares were up 9.4 percent at $27.55 in afternoon trading. The stock had fallen nearly 24 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 14 percent rise in Estee Lauder’s shares.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik and Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; additional reporting by Yashaswini Swamynathan; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sriraj Kalluvila

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