With No Suitors, Company Reorganizes as a Stand-Alone

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CINCINNATI (AdAge.com) -- Package-goods marketer Dial Corp.'s board of directors on Monday said it still believes the company would be better off as part of a larger company but also took steps to go it alone for the immediate future.

Dial's board extended the contract of Chairman-CEO Herbert M. Baum, 64, for an additional two years through January 2006 and said it is considering making acquisitions complementary to its existing business line as well as buying back stock or paying down debt.

The Scottsdale, Ariz., company said in a statement it also would "maintain an eye toward a possible future business combination," and "continues to believe that, given today's marketplace, Dial would be better served over time to be part of a larger consumer-products company."

But the statement was less urgent than a year ago, when the board said it would seek a sale or merger, which Mr. Baum said he would make a top priority. He has since acknowledged that no buyer has emerged and the company is not in talks with potential acquirers.

Since Mr. Baum succeeded former Chairman-CEO Mal Jozoff two years ago, the company has sold or shuttered such under-performing businesses as its specialty personal care brands, cut its debt nearly in half to $327 million and added $700 million to its market capitalization.

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