SCOTT BABY WIPES GIVE PROCTER LEADER SLOT;K-C SELLS OFF BRANDS FOR $220 MIL

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By acquiring the former Scott Paper Co. baby wipes brands last week for $220 million, Procter & Gamble Co. also acquired instant leadership over seller Kimberly-Clark Corp. in the $500 million category.

Kimberly-Clark will continue to market Huggies baby wipes. That brand held a 29.1% dollar share of the U.S. baby wipes category in the first quarter of 1996, vs. 32.9% for the Baby Fresh and Kid Fresh brands sold to P&G, according to Dean, Witter, Discover & Co. Huggies gained 2.4 share points on the Scott brands in that period compared to the fourth quarter of 1995.

Kimberly-Clark was required to sell the brands to get U.S. Department of Justice approval of its merger with Scott last year.

DMB&B PICKS UP WIPES

D'Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, New York, which already handles P&G's Pampers diaper account, will now handle the U.S. baby wipes business formerly with Bozell. Ad spending on Baby Fresh and Kid Fresh totaled $8.7 million under Scott in 1995, says Competitive Media Reporting.

Bozell, hoping to keep the account after the sale, had dropped out of a review by Kimberly-Clark before its agency consolidation earlier this year to avoid a conflict.

In Europe, P&G already markets baby wipes under the Pampers brand. But P&G wouldn't speculate on whether it will extend its Pampers, Luvs or Charmin brands into the U.S. wipes category.

`A STRONG BRAND'

"We see Baby Fresh as a strong brand with a significant equity," a P&G spokesman said. "This is really the most efficient way for us to get into that category in the U.S. and other countries where the Scott brands are currently exported."

Tristan Gerra, an analyst with Dean Witter, said P&G "definitely [paid] a high price" for the brands. "On the other hand, it's a very good fit. Procter will probably be able to gain from distribution synergies, as well as cross-merchandising with its diaper brands...And in the long term they have the potential to expand their market share."

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