Los Angeles Business Journal

Physicians Formula Accepts Higher Buyout Offer

By Deborah Crowe Thursday, September 27, 2012

Azusa cosmetics company Physicians Formula Holdings Inc. on Thursday said it has turned down an earlier buyout offer from a San Francisco private equity firm in favor of a higher $74.9 million bid by another local cosmetics company.

Physicians Formula said its board accepted the new $4.90 a share bid from privately held Markwins International Corp. in the City of Industry.

Markwins’ color cosmetics, accessories and beauty collections are sold at a variety of price points in department and specialty stores in more than 60 countries. Its brands include Color Workshop, Black Radiance, and Color Institute. Physicians Formula skin care and cosmetics products are sold mainly in large U.S. chain retailers.

"The acquisition of Physicians Formula fulfills a strategic Markwins’ objective to expand and diversify our already robust brand portfolio,” Markwins Chief Executive Eric Chen said in a statement.

Physicians Formula said Markwins’ offer represented a 33 percent premium to the company's closing share price of $3.68 on Aug. 14, the last trading day before the company signed a merger agreement with Swander Pace Capital, whose bid only offered a 14 percent premium.

“Markwins and Physicians Formula sell non-competing brands in similar channels,” Physicians Formula Chief Executive Ingrid Jackel said in a statement. “Combining the resources and experience of both companies will strengthen the combined portfolio of brands.”

The announcement comes two weeks after Physicians Formula disclosed that it had received another offer from an unnamed party. Under the terms of its agreement with Swander Pace, Physicians Formula will pay a termination fee of about $1.28 million to the private equity firm.

After trading at nearly double its normal volume, Physicians Formula shares on Thursday closed up 1 cent to $4.86 on the Nasdaq.