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What: Shares of Avon Products (NYSE:AVP) were up 12.4% as of 2:30 p.m. after The Wall Street Journal reported (subscription required) that the cosmetics specialist is exploring strategic alternatives including the possible sale of its struggling North American business. The WSJ reports that 86% of Avon's sales come from outside North America.
So what: Citing "people familiar with the matter," WSJ says the review is behind Avon's decision yesterday to postpone its annual investor meeting until this fall. The meeting was previously scheduled for next month. Avon, for its part, stated in a press release Monday that given the recent appointment of Jim Scully as CFO, pushing it back would "allow the company adequate time to prepare for a more robust discussion at the meeting."
Now what: The stock is still down around 40% over the past year and consideration of selling the North American unit could indicate Avon believes more drastic measures are required to significantly improve its operational performance. On one hand, it's encouraging that Avon might be willing to take those steps to right its ship. But on the other hand, such strategic alternatives take time to play out, so investors shouldn't assume success is guaranteed. For now, until we hear more details on what Avon might have planned, I'm perfectly content watching its story unfold from the sidelines.
Steve Symington has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.