Newell Brands’ former Sandy Springs headquarters in a 2013 photo. The company, previously Newell Rubbermaid, moved its headquarters to Hoboken, N.J., earlier this year. BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM

Newell has dropped metro Atlanta HQ; will now shed businesses, workers

Newell Brands said it expects to sell about 10 percent of its businesses as part of a reorganization after a recent big acquisition and decision to move its headquarters from metro Atlanta.

Formerly known as Newell Rubbermaid, Newell Brands, now based in Hoboken, N.J., said Tuesday that it plans to sell several businesses with about $1.5 billion in annual sales. The businesses include units that make tools, heaters, humidifiers, fans and storage containers.

Newell completed its $15.4 billion acquisition of Jarden Corp. in April and announced its headquarters move from Sandy Springs to Hoboken a month later. That move is complete, a company spokesman said.

Newell expects to sell the units by the first half of next year and use the money to pay down debt and set the stage for acquisitions of faster-growing businesses.

The moves come as Newell said it is simplifying its operations, cutting costs and concentrating on what it called a “sharpened set of portfolio choices,” including consumer products such as home fragrances, outdoor and recreation items, pens and other writing instruments, baby products, and appliances and cookware.

The combined company makes a wide variety of well-known consumer brands, such as Mr. Coffee and Sunbeam appliances, Sharpie pens, Elmer’s glue and Rubbermaid containers.

Newell said it expects to achieve $500 million in “cost synergies” by the end of 2018, partly by consolidating 32 business units into 16 divisions. Such synergies usually translate into a wave of cost-cutting, as merging companies cut back-office jobs and shed redundant headquarters buildings or other units.

A company spokesman said the company has not decided how many jobs to cut, or where. “We are not breaking that out,” said Newell spokesman Tom Sanford. “There’s a lot of work left to be done.”

Newell officials said in May that it headquarters move would affect only a “handful” of the company’s 1,000 metro Atlanta workers, while the new Hoboken headquarters would gain about 250 employees — many from its Manhattan operations.

“Atlanta will continue to be a major site for the company going forward,” said Sanford.

The company was once considered a big recruitment success for Georgia. It built a sleek new headquarters in Sandy Springs almost a decade ago, and delivered hundreds more jobs than it promised, qualifying it for more than $11 million in state and local incentives.

But Newell later moved from its Sandy Springs headquarters to a smaller office nearby. It is landing about $27 million in tax incentives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as a result of its move to that state.

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