Just Eat Takeaway.com’s 2022 went from bad to worse this week as its shares slumped once more amid the departure of two of its senior management team.
The beleaguered group’s chair Adriaan Nühn agreed to step down ahead of what was expected to be a stormy AGM in Amsterdam on Wednesday, acknowledging investor dissatisfaction with leadership strategy amid heavy losses and widely criticised M&A activity.
Meanwhile, the company also withdrew the vote for the board re-election of chief operating officer Jörg Gerbig amid accusations over his personal conduct.
The group’s share price collapsed by 9.4% on the back of the news to 2,025p, having now lost 72% of its value over the past calendar year.
Just Eat had gone into the AGM facing an investor revolt from the likes of Cat Rock Capital and Lucerne, with the former accusing management of “torpedoing the company’s share price” due to a lack of financial management, in particular its $7.3bn acquisition of US player Grubhub.
Two weeks ago it announced it was seeking an exit from Grubhub less than a year after its acquisition amid declining order numbers, after posting pre-tax losses of €1.1bn last year.
Before the AGM, broker Barclays predicted the a “noisy” meeting amid “investor frustration and a weak share price”, adding: “As we have written now for essentially a year, we think this stock will only really work with a hard catalyst on corporate action – we remain optimistic corporate action on asset sales is still realistic.”
Elsewhere, broker Bernstein has called for consumer giant Unilever to be split up to accelerate growth and drive investor returns.
Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne suggested Unilever should consider breaking into “smaller parts” – splitting its homecare, food and personal/beauty arms to create “different cultures” to lead to higher growth and better execution.
He said the consumer giant needed to address “the structural and/or cultural issues that caused Unilever to revert to mediocrity repeatedly, , noting: “A more drastic and potentially effective change might be to recognise that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to culture at Unilever.”
”Management should get ahead of activists and start breaking up the company.”
Unilever shares remain down almost 14% year on year.