P&G sells Zest soap business

By Dan Sewell
AP Business Writer / January 4, 2011

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CINCINNATI—Procter & Gamble Co. has shipped most of its Zest soap business to a private equity company.

The sale, which the world's largest consumer products company announced Tuesday, is its latest move to focus more on its biggest and fastest-growing brands such as Gillette shavers, Tide detergent and Olay skin cream.

P&G spokeswoman Kate DiCarlo said Zest was no longer a strategic fit as a global brand, but does have a role in some markets.

Terms of the sale to Brynwood Partners VI L.P., based in Greenwich, Conn., weren't disclosed. Brynwood said its newly formed portfolio company, High Ridge Brands Co., has obtained the 6-decade-old Zest brand for the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

P&G retains the brand for sales in Latin America, the Middle East and the Philippines.

Among other household brands P&G has sold in recent years are Folgers coffee and Sure deodorant, as well as its prescription drug business.