Clorox Secures Brita Business In Americas

OAKLAND, CA— Clorox’ Brita Products Company expects to accelerate its product and marketing development with the acquisition of full control of the Brita trademark and water filtration business in North and South America. Clorox recently announced it was buying from Germany’s Brita GmbH the Brita business in the Americas. Terms were not disclosed at press time. Clorox, based here, has been a Brita licensee since 1988. In 1995, Clorox, acquired of Canada’s Brita International Holdings, including BIH’s portions of two joint distribution ventures with Brita GmbH covering North and South America. By purchasing Brita GmbH’s portion of those joint ventures Clorox’ Brita Product unit secures, in the Americas, exclusive use of the Brita trademark, full rights to develop and market new products under the Brita name and all business assets in the regions. Scott Weiss, a Clorox VP who became general manager of Brita Products Company earlier this year, said Clorox and Brita GmbH will continue to share technical and marketing information. “The relationship now becomes one of information exchange versus joint approval,” Weiss said. Weiss said speed to market has become a more critical component of the retail water filtration market. Product Diversification Clorox’ Brita unit originally took the core Brita pour-through water filter technology and backed it with multi-million dollar annual advertising campaigns to build Brita into the dominant player in the U.S. retail water. Brita Products in recent seasons has diversified its water filter product mix with several new pour-through pitcher designs, as well as the introduction of a faucet-mount unit and a filtering sports bottle. Clorox now finds itself going against the likes of another packaged goods powerhouse, Procter & Gamble, which acquired the fast-growing PUR water filter business in late 1999. “There is going to be an accelerated pace of activities by Brita Products,” Weiss said. “We will go faster across all elements of the business. “The business has gotten to a scale and the competitive landscape has changed where [the joint venture with Germany’s Brita GmbH]no longer served the brand or the retailers as well as it could.” Weiss credited Brita GmbH for its pioneering work in water filtration and ongoing support of Clorox’s effort. “Brita, as a brand, created the water filtration category, and that creation would not have been possible with the unique relationship between Clorox and Brita,” Weiss said.