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MEMPHIS, Tenn.-Gerald Beddall, a past president of Clairol, has been named exec VP of acquisitions and strategic planning at Maybelline.

The appointment coincides with the company's move to establish an acquisition fund to expand its beauty business through product acquisitions and licensing agreements.

Mr. Beddall's arrival at Maybelline sparked speculation the company may try to go after Clairol as it seeks to diversify into personal-care products, including haircare, that are compatible with its mass market distribution.

Clairol parent Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. has long denied the unit is for sale though rumors persist to the contrary.

Industry executives close to Maybelline say its shopping list also includes Helene Curtis Industries. In addition, Maybelline is said to have recently talked to Dep Corp., Chattem and Chesebrough-Pond's regarding its Cutex business.

Maybelline's acquisition/licensing fund will be financed with cash on hand and a renegotiated bank credit agreement that will allow the company to make a tender offer for repurchase of as much as 2.9 million, or 16.2%, of its 17.9 million outstanding shares of common stock.

President-CEO Bob Hiatt acknowledged expansion plans but would neither confirm nor deny specific targets.

Mr. Beddall, 51, brings a breadth of beauty business experience to his Maybelline position, a new post. He was most recently president-ceo of Helia International, a skincare marketer, and earlier held a variety of marketing posts at Colgate-Palmolive Co.

As part of his new responsibilities at Maybelline, he will oversee the company's Yardley North America business, concentrated in bath soaps and additives, and seek to grow Maybelline's international business.

One of the objectives of the company's acquisition and licensing plan is to increase its total business overseas. Maybelline had been looking at acquiring the Yardley business outside the U.S. but recently put those plans on hold.

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