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Hain chief responds to talk of a Nestle takeover

Hain Celestial Group chief executive Irwin Simon at

Hain Celestial Group chief executive Irwin Simon at his Melville headquarters. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp, 2009

The Hain Celestial Group’s chief executive commented this week on a report that Nestle SA,  of Switzerland, could see his company as a takeover target. 

"We're an exciting company, a public company," Irwin Simon said on CNBC, the news channel reported Wednesday. "If it was right for our shareholders, it's right for the company." 

The idea of Nestle — or another large company, Unilever — buying the Melville natural foods maker was first broached in a report on SeekingAlpha.com earlier this month. The website obtained a UBS report saying the two might be interested in the buy. The website added, though, that recent share increases have affected Hain’s price-earnings ratio, and may have made it a less attractive takeover target. 

In the CNBC interview, Simon also commented on the two board members Hain was forced to accept under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, a major shareholder. 

Icahn’s two board members have been "helpful," Simon told CNBC. "We look for a relationship that will be fruitful for both of us," he said. 

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