Dial Corp.'s board decided to seek a buyer for the consumer-products maker, which is struggling to compete with larger rivals in a consolidating industry.
Analysts said the maker of Dial soap, Purex laundry detergent and Armour canned meats could fetch about $2 billion, with price estimates ranging from $19 to $22 a share.
The Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company hired Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its investment banker.
Dial wants to sell its bigger lines to a single buyer to avoid paying a large tax bill, a spokesman said.
Investors say Sara Lee Corp. is the most logical single buyer and might want the Armour meat business as well as Dial's household lines. Sara Lee makes Jimmy Dean meats as well as L'eggs hosiery.
Clorox Co. or another consumer products company also might be interested in buying Dial, then selling Armour, they said.
Representatives of Sara Lee and Clorox declined to comment.
Dial shares rose 59 cents to $17.44 on the New York Stock Exchange.