(Adds background on Newell Brands)
By Joshua Franklin and Harry Brumpton
Oct 30 (Reuters) - Newell Brands Inc is nearing a deal to sell Jostens, a U.S. manufacturer of memorabilia such as class rings and yearbooks, to private equity firm Platinum Equity LLC for around $1.3 billion, two people familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The deal would mark the latest divestiture for Newell. The maker of Rubbermaid, Crock-Pot slow cookers and Yankee Candles has been unloading some of its branded products businesses in an effort to move toward higher-margin consumer products, after more than doubling in size by acquiring Jarden Corp in 2016.
The sources, who asked not to be identified because the matter is confidential, cautioned that there was always a chance that negotiations end without a deal. Platinum Equity and Newell Brands declined to comment.
Newell ended a proxy fight with activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP in April, with the company agreeing to add three new directors to its board. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn agreed to give up two of the four seats he secured earlier this year to pave the way for the addition of two new independent directors. (
Jarden bought Jostens in 2015 in a deal worth around $1.5 billion, including debt.
As part of a turnaround plan announced in May, Newell also said it would sell its Pure Fishing brands, along with Jostens. Earlier this year, Newell agreed to sell cookware maker Waddington Group to private equity firm Carlyle Group LP in a roughly $2.3 billion deal.
Newell plans to use proceeds from its divestitures to repay debt and buy back shares, which are down around 50 percent since the start of 2018.
Los Angeles-based Platinum, whose chairman and CEO, Tom Gores, owns the Detroit Pistons basketball team, has approximately $13 billion in assets under management.
The Jostens transaction would be the latest deal in the school and sporting memorabilia space. Private equity firm Bain Capital agreed to buy Varsity Brands, the company behind yearbook and class ring maker Herff Jones and cheerleading uniforms label Varsity Spirit, in June for $2.5 billion. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin and Harry Brumpton in New York; additional reporting by Mike Spector in New York; editing by Rosalba O'Brien and Diane Craft)