(Reuters) - Newell Brands (NWL.N) said on Friday that activist investors Starboard Value LP and Opportunity Master Fund Ltd want to nominate ten directors to its board of directors, seeking to replace the Sharpie pen maker’s current slate.
Starboard, which owns some 5 percent of Newell, is arguing the company took wrong decisions in integrating Jarden Corp, the consumer products maker that Newell bought in 2016, according to a source familiar with the matter who requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.
Newell’s shares have sunk nearly 37 percent since the Jarden acquisition. They ended trading on Friday down 1.1 percent at $27.6 in New York, giving the U.S. company a market capitalization of $13.7 billion.
Starboard is teaming up with three former Jarden executives, including former chairman Martin Franklin, in its effort to replace Newell’s board and oust Chief Executive Michael Polk.
Polk, who has served as Newell’s CEO since 2011, has led Newell’s acquisition of more than 120 consumer goods brands, including Sunbeam and Coleman.
Newell plans to replace three board directors that resigned last month in time to file proxy materials ahead of its next shareholder meeting, at which investors will be able to have their say on whether to replace the entire board, according to the source.
Newell, which last month announced plans to whittle back to its core by jettisoning 10 of its businesses lines - many of which it acquired through the Jarden acquisition including Rawlings, Goody, Rubbermaid Outdoor, and U.S. Playing Cards - will be exploring the divestment of some assets in a series of different auctions, the source said.
“We do not see much obvious value creation here beyond what (Newell) has announced given they are already considering asset sales and aggressively cutting costs,” analysts at Morgan Stanley said of Starboard’s move.
Newell announced last month that Franklin, Ian Ashken and Domenico De Sole, who joined the board with its acquisition of Jarden, had resigned from its board of directors.
Starboard declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Reporting by Harry Brumpton in New York; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath and Karina Dsouza in Bengaluru; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar and Chris Reese