Coty abandons bid for Avon after two-month stand-off

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The Independent Online

The fragrance firm Coty has pulled out of its $10.7bn (£6.7bn) takeover bid for Avon Products after it said the US cosmetics group had taken too long making its mind up.

Coty, which is headed by the former Reckitt Benckiser chief Bart Becht and majority-owned by the Reimann family, had financial backing for its offer from Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway.

The end of the bid after an eight-week stand-off leaves Avon's new chief executive, Sheri McCoy, who joined days after the bid came, with the massive task of halting the cosmetic firm's sales decline and turning it round.

Mr Becht told Avon's board: "Your total lack of engagement with us leads us to believe that you remain reluctant to explore a friendly, negotiated combination on a reasonable timetable. Two months is enough."

Setting a strict deadline and walking away from takeover bids is typical of Mr Buffett. He sets a value on what he considers a business is worth, makes an offer and if it is not accepted withdraws, as he did with the $3.3bn battle for the reinsurer Transatlantic last year.