Blyth defers closing of ViSalus purchase

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Shares of Blyth Inc. rose more than 7 percent in after-hours trading Monday after the company said it agreed to defer the final closing of its purchase of ViSalus, in which it already owns a majority stake, until April 2014.

ViSalus, Blyth's weight-loss, energy-drink and nutritional-supplement business, had planned to go public in an offering worth up to $175 million. But it withdrew its initial public offering last week citing uncertain market conditions.

Blyth, based in Greenwich, Conn., has been buying ViSalus in phases. Blyth first invested in ViSalus in August 2008, buying a 43.6 percent stake for $13 million. Under that agreement Blyth was required to buy more ViSalus stock in 2011, 2012 and 2013, if ViSalus met certain targets.

Blyth said on Monday that it will defer the fourth and final phase of the acquisition and sign new employment agreements with the founders of ViSalus.

Blyth sells home accessories, such as candles under the Cape Cod and Colonial brand names, through websites, the Miles Kimball catalog, and a direct selling arm that operates PartyLite house parties. It also owns the Sterno brand of tabletop heating fuel.

The company shares rose $1.97, or 7.4 percent, to $28.74 in after-hours trading. The stock closed up 78 cents, or 3 percent, at $26.77 in the regular session.