BREAKING: Purell seeks to change hands – get the full scoop on the buyer hunt!

Gojo Industries Inc., the family-owned company behind the Purell hand sanitizer brand, is said to be seeking a buyer and has reportedly enlisted JPMorgan Chase & Co. to conduct an auction. With annual sales of about $1 billion, sources suggest the Akron, Ohio-based firm could be valued at around $3 billion. At this early stage in the sale process, bankers are believed to be targeting other companies as buyers, rather than private-equity firms. The Purell brand became highly sought after during the COVID-19 pandemic, as stocks of hand sanitizer ran low and consumers scrambled to find alternatives.

Founded in 1946 by husband and wife Goldie and Jerry Lippman, Gojo Industries pioneered the first waterless heavy-duty hand cleaner, which was sold primarily to factories and industrial sites. In 1988, the company launched the Purell brand, offering consumers a convenient solution for killing germs and maintaining hand hygiene on-the-go. Today, besides its iconic hand sanitizer gel, the Purell product range has expanded to include soaps, wipes, and surface sanitizers.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Gojo Industries has played a crucial role in combating the virus by supplying hand sanitizers to households, businesses, and healthcare facilities worldwide. Demand for its products rose dramatically, causing shortages that compelled the company to ramp up production. In response, Gojo added new manufacturing lines at its plants in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and Wooster, Ohio, as well as increasing production at its Maple, Ohio, facility.

In February 2020, Gojo Industries announced a significant multi-million dollar expansion plan, incorporating two new manufacturing facilities and a distribution center in the region. The company stated that the expansion would create over 300 new jobs to support its commitment to health and well-being. The new sites, located in Ashland and Stark Counties, were expected to be operational by the summer of that year, but it is not clear whether the pandemic impacted the timeline.

Hand sanitizer, an essential tool in preventing the spread of COVID-19, has experienced fluctuating supply and demand. Early in the pandemic, manufacturers could barely keep up with growing demand, resulting in shortages and high prices. As public awareness of the importance of hand hygiene increased, smaller companies and individuals started to create their own sanitizing products, which were often not as effective as the Purell brand.

However, as people started wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and adhering to social distancing guidelines, the use of hand sanitizers decreased. As a result, the sanitizer market began to stabilize, and supply issues started to be resolved.

Despite the changing landscape, Gojo Industries has maintained a strong presence in the market, with the Purell brand remaining one of the most trusted and sought-after names in hand hygiene. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s role in running the auction for the company suggests that there is likely to be considerable interest from potential buyers.

The possible sale of Gojo Industries comes as the M&A market continues to heat up amid an economic recovery push from the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies are increasingly looking to make deals to secure a stronger position as they emerge from the crisis.

With Gojo Industries being a highly successful company and the Purell brand enjoying sustained popularity, a successful auction could attract a multitude of interested buyers, including large consumer goods and healthcare conglomerates. As the pandemic continues to shape global consumer behavior, businesses with a focus on hygiene and health will likely remain highly sought after.


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