Brands on the block

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Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, is looking to sell its Oxydol laundry detergent brand in the latest in a series of sales of "non-strategic" brands in recent years, including Prell shampoo and Hawaiian Punch. Oxydol, acquired by P&G in 1927, hasn't received advertising or significant promotional support for several years but does hold a place in advertising history: "Oxydol's Own Ma Perkins," which debuted in 1933, was the first radio soap opera. Today, the brand has sales of less than $10 million and, while still profitable, doesn't have potential as a global brand, P&G said.

Monsanto Co., St. Louis, agreed to sell its NutraSweet ingredient business for $440 million to Boston-based investment company J.W. Childs Equity Partners II. The sale, along with Monsanto's recent disposal of its tabletop sweetener business, is part of the company's efforts to focus on agriculture and pharmaceuticals rather than consumer-based food products. The new NutraSweet Co. plans to extend the aspartame ingredient business, which is currently used in more than 5,000 foods and beverages, as well as put additional focus on its neotame sweetener.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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