A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (July 2019)
|Industry||Wellness, Personal care,|
|Founder||Forrest C. Shaklee|
|Products||Nutrition, Weight management, Beauty, Household|
Shaklee Corporation is an American manufacturer and multi-level marketing distributor of natural nutrition supplements, weight-management products, beauty products, and household products. The company is based in Pleasanton, California with global operations in Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, and Taiwan.
On November 30, 2018, Shaklee suspended its operations in Mexico after 26 years.
Forrest C. Shaklee (1894–1985), a chiropractor and nutritionist based in his home state of Iowa, and later in Oakland, California, created the first vitamin in the United States labeled "Shaklee's Vitalized Minerals" in 1915. In 1956, Shaklee founded the Shaklee Corporation with his two sons to manufacture nutritional supplements. Shaklee chose the multi-level marketing business model to market their product. Starting in 1956, Shaklee began marketing organic, biodegradable cleaning products.
Expansion, divestiture, changes of ownership
Shaklee Corporation was a publicly traded company in the late 1970s and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1980, the firm relocated its headquarters to a state-of-the-art skyscraper in San Francisco's Financial District. In 1982, Shaklee became a Fortune 500 Company. The corporation began to diversify in November 1986 when it purchased the Bear Creek Corporation, a direct marketing company best known for its Harry and David Fruit-of-the-Month Club operation, from RJR Nabisco for $123 million. In February 1989, Shaklee sold its 78 percent interest in Shaklee Japan to the Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical Company for $350 million, while maintaining its licensing agreement and continuing to collect royalty payments from the Japanese operations.
In March 1989, Shaklee Corporation received an unsolicited acquisition proposal from a group led by Irwin L. Jacobs, the Minneapolis financier known also by his nickname "Irv the Liquidator". Analysts placed the leveraged buyout value of Shaklee at $35 a share. The Jacobs group had been aggressively accumulating Shaklee shares, and disclosed it currently held a 14.98 percent stake in the San Francisco-based company. Shaklee immediately declared a special dividend of $20 a share, seen as a poison pill—a way to discourage takeover interest in Shaklee, though the company disputed that view. Shaklee's anti-takeover provisions came into play when an investor reached 15 percent.
During the next few weeks, Jacobs increased his stake in Shaklee, however, Shaklee Corporation then announced it was being acquired by Yamanouchi Pharmaceutical for $28 a share in cash, or about $395 million. Yamanouchi's partnership with Shaklee in Japan helped make the transaction possible, and cast Yamanouchi as a "white knight" in helping Shaklee fend off the hostile takeover bid by Jacobs. Jacobs announced he would not challenge the Yamanouchi bid and the deal with Yamanouchi was quickly finalized, making Shaklee a privately held company. In the spring of 2000, the company relocated its headquarters from downtown San Francisco to a new complex in suburban Pleasanton.
In April 2004, Yamanouchi sold Shaklee Corporation to American multi-millionaire Roger Barnett, managing partner of Activated Holdings LLC and a member of the Wolfson family, for $310 million. Bear Creek and the Harry and David line was sold to Wasserstein Perella & Co. for $260 million.
In 1974, in response to Federal Trade Commission order, Shaklee agreed to cease the marketing of its product "Instant Protein" as appropriate for infants, and to cease misrepresentation of the amount of protein in "Instant Protein." Shaklee was further sanctioned by the FTC in 1976 for "requiring, coercing, threatening, or otherwise exerting pressure" on its distributors to maintain or advertise suggested retail prices.
Controversy about Shaklee Distributors
In 2012, New England distributor John "Jack" William Cranney was charged with leveraging the reputation of his 45-year affiliation with Shaklee to solicit financial investments from other Shaklee distributors, his family and his friends, beginning in 2002. In July 2012, the Massachusetts Securities Division charged Cranney with implementing a financial investment Ponzi scheme to defraud 36 victims in multiple states of about $10.4 million and for using the funds for personal gain. Shaklee immediately suspended distributor payments to Cranney estimated at $45,000 per month. Several victims sued Cranney to recover damages and he sought federal bankruptcy protection for his home, valued at $3 million. Cranney lost the battle for his home and the proceeds from the sale were used to satisfy the claims of some of his alleged victims. In September 2014, the FBI arrested Cranney in El Paso, Texas and charged him with four counts of wire fraud, 16 counts of mail fraud, and three counts of money laundering.
From 1988 to 2000, Shaklee was the title sponsor of an American-based UCI professional cycling team managed by Frank Scioscia. In its final year of existence (2000), Team Shaklee was the top-ranked UCI tier III team in the world and included United States Olympic Team members Jamie Carney, Jonas Carney, Adam Laurent, and Kent Bostick. There is no information listed as to whether or not the team members actually used Shaklee products.
Beginning in 1993 and through the end of the NASA shuttle program, Shaklee provided NASA with a customized version of its rehydration beverage, Performance, under the name Astroade for use by Shuttle astronauts.
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