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Water Pik Says Sale Is Possible

January 05, 2005|Jerry Hirsch | Times Staff Writer

Water Pik Technologies Inc., best known for its line of water-jet devices to clean teeth and gums, said Tuesday that it was exploring strategic alternatives including a sale of the company.

"While we are pleased with the prospects for future growth, after completing an internal comprehensive strategic review of our businesses, the board has determined it is appropriate to consider alternatives to maximize value to all stockholders," Chairman Robert P. Bozzone said in a statement.

In addition to a sale of the Newport Beach-based company, alternatives under consideration include selling a portion of Water Pik or taking it private, said Jeff D'Eliscu, a company spokesman.

Water Pik's products include swimming pool equipment and water heating systems. The relatively small company competes against some of the nation's largest businesses, including Gillette Co., Clorox Co., Procter & Gamble Co. and Colgate-Palmolive Co.

Water Pik is in a fight with Gillette over patent rights and licensing fees.

In November, Gillette asked a federal court in Boston to rule that its line of Braun flossers did not infringe a similar Water Pik product. Water Pik, Gillette said, has threatened a patent infringement lawsuit against the personal-care products giant.

Despite the competition, Water Pik did well last year.

Since hitting a low of $11.60 in mid-August, Water Pik shares have risen 55%. Before the announcement Tuesday, the shares rose 17 cents to $17.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Water Pik reported a 53% gain in profit to $4.6 million, or 36 cents a share. Sales for the period rose 23% to $93.3 million.

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