Becomes Player in $400 Million Tooth-Whitening Segment

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CINCINNATI ( -- Gillette Co. has agreed to buy Den-Mat Corp., privately held maker of Rembrandt at-home and professional whitening kits, toothpastes and mouthwashes, the companies said today.

Distant No. 3
Rembrandt is a distant No. 3 to Procter & Gamble Co.'s Crest and Colgate-Palmolive Co. in consumer whitening products in the U.S., which includes the $400 million whitening kit category and another roughly $200 million in whitening toothpastes.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Karlen Williams Graybill, New York, handles the Rembrandt brand, which spent $11.7 million on media through the first 11 months of 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. A spokesman for Gillette said the company has yet to make a decision on the advertising account pending closing of the deal, which is expected in the second quarter.

Omnicom Group's BBDO Worldwide, New York, handles Gillette's Oral-B manual and power toothbrush business.

Core franchise
"While we will continue our focus on Oral-B's core franchise in manual and power brushing, this acquisition places us in the dynamic whitening segment that will be a platform for future growth," Bruce Cleverly, president of Gillette Oral Care, said in a statement.

The at-home tooth-whitening kit segment, launched in mass retail only in 2000 with the rollout of Crest Whitestrips, grew to a $328 million business by 2003, according to Information Resources Inc., and would top $400 million if sales at Wal-Mart Stores and club stores not tracked by scanner data were included.

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