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Block Drug Company
Fate Acquired
Successor GlaxoSmithKline
Founded 1907
Defunct 2001
Headquarters Jersey City, New Jersey
Industry Pharmaceutical
Products Polident, Poli-Grip, Dentu-Creme, Nytol, Tegrin, Lava Soap, Beano, Phazyme, Balmex, Sensodyne
Employees 3,000
A drugstore in the East Village in New York City still has the Block Drugs sign

Block Drug Company was a pharmaceutical company based in Jersey City, New Jersey, that specialized in dental care products.

GlaxoSmithKline purchased the company for $1.24 billion in 2001.[1]

Its most popular products included Polident denture cleanser, Poli-Grip dental adhesive, Dentu-Creme denture toothpaste, Nytol sleeping pill, Tegrin medicated shampoo for Psoriasis, Lava hand soaps (acquired from Procter & Gamble), Beano and Phazyme anti-gas products, Balmex diaper rash ointments, and Sensodyne desensitizing toothpaste. [2]

Contents

History

The company was founded in in 1907 by Alexander Block, a Russian immigrant who had a small drugstore on Fulton Street (Brooklyn) in Brooklyn, New York. He turned the company into a wholesaler in 1915 and then became a drug manufacturer in 1925, acquiring a 50 percent interest in Wernet's Dental Manufacturing Company.[3]

Block Drug moved its headquarters to Jersey City, New Jersey in 1938.[4]

Although Alexander Block built the company largely through acquisitions, he developed the Polident brand internally during the 1930s.[5] In 1948, Block Drug rolled out the Ammi-i-Dent tooth powder, and in the early 1950s, the company developed Nytol.[6] After Alexander Block's death in 1953,[7] his son Leonard N. Block (1911-2005)[8] took over, eventually becoming the company's chairman.[9] The last major new product the company introduced was Tegrin, in 1964.[10]

In 1971, the company went public, trading on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol BLOCA and raising $5.2 million in its initial offering.[11] Two years later, another stock sale generated $23 million.[12] Later in the 1970s, Efferdent took over from Polident as the No. 1 brand in its space.[13]

In 1972, the company named as its president James Block, who was the grandson of Alexander Block and the nephew of Leonard N. Block.[14] In 1988, James became chairman as his uncle, Leonard N. Block became senior chairman.[15] At the same time, Leonard N. Block's son, Thomas, became the company's president.[16][17]

In 1978, Block Drug entered the feminine hygiene market, with the ultimately unsuccessful Gentle Spring brand.[18]

In 1983, Block Drug acquired the 2000 Flushes toilet bowl cleaner when it purchased the brand's manufacturer, Passaic, New Jersey-based Flushco.[19] In 1985, Block Drug acquired the X-14 line of hard surface cleaners from White Laboratories.[20]

By the 1990s, sales began to fall as Block Drug's products began to age and face new competition, and the problem was exacerbated by a lack of new products.[21]

In 1995, Block Drug divested its U.S. Reed and Carnrick Pharmaceuticals Division to Schwarz Pharma KermersUrban and also purchased Reckitt and Coleman's Carpet Fresh and Rug Fresh cleaning and deodorizing products.[22] Also, in late 1995, Block Drug acquired the Lava soap brand from Procter & Gamble.[23]

In 1996, Block Drug purchased the Baby's Own line of baby care products, and then acquired Beano antigas tablets in 1997.[24]

In 1998, a major restructuring took place but was not successful.[25] As part of that, the company divested Carpet Fresh, Rug Fresh, 2000 Flushes and X-14.[26]

In 2000, Block Drug hired Goldman Sachs as an adviser to evaluate a potential sale.[27]

At the time of its sale to Glaxo, Block Drug was reported to have $900 million in annual sales, operations in 100 countries and employed 3,000 people.[1]

Secrecy

Although Block Drug was a public company from 1971 until 2001, it operated much like a private, family-run firm, with the Block family holding all voting shares plus 54 percent of the non-voting stock. In addition, the company never held annual meetings or issued proxy statements.[28]

Aftermath

Leonard N. Block died in 2005 at age 93 after suffering for years from Alzheimer's disease.[29]

References

  1. ^ a b GlaxoSmithKline Completes the Purchase of Block Drug for $1.24 Billion -prnewswire - January 16, 2001
  2. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/block-drug-company-inc International Directory of Company Histories. Copyright © 2006 by The Gale Group, Inc.
  3. ^ http://www.answers.com/topic/block-drug-company-inc International Directory of Company Histories. Copyright © 2006 by The Gale Group, Inc.
  4. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/12block.html
  5. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  6. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  7. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  8. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/12block.html
  9. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  10. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  11. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  12. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  13. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  14. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Forbes: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  15. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  16. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  17. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Block-Drug-Company-Inc-Company-History.html
  18. ^ "New Chip at the Old Block?". Chicago Sun-Times: p. 48. May 29, 1978.  
  19. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  20. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  21. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  22. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Block-Drug-Company-Inc-Company-History.html
  23. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Block-Drug-Company-Inc-Company-History.html
  24. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Block-Drug-Company-Inc-Company-History.html
  25. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  26. ^ http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Block-Drug-Company-Inc-Company-History.html
  27. ^ Clark, Andrew (October 7, 2000). "SmithKline to swallow Sensodyne: Aquafresh maker lines up Dollars 1.2bn bid for privately owned toothpaste company Block Drug". The Guardian (London): p. 29.  
  28. ^ Goldblatt, Dan (September 7, 1994). "New Jersey's most private public company". Northern Business: p. 48.  
  29. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2005/11/12/business/12block.html







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