Presenting to investors at the Barclay’s Global Consumer Staples Conference, Newell Brands CEO Michael Polk discussed company plans to shutter or sell some of its brands that are less-impactful to its shareholders. The move will target unidentified businesses that generate $250 million to $300 million in annual revenue, and some are speculating that some of Newell’s wintersports brands, which Newell picked up when it acquired Jarden Corp., are among the brands heading for the chopping block.
“Ideally I would like to sell these assets versus simply walking away from them,” said Polk, speaking to investors. “Some of them are the kinds of businesses that would be difficult to sell and therefore, we should just shut down because they create no value for you and they are a distraction for us.”
Newell expects to exit brands by the end of the year to focus on brands driven more by recent product innovation and growth potential. “We are going to focus our energy against the big opportunities and we are going to minimize the distractions,” said Polk. “We’re going to follow the money with respect to the choices we make and the actions we take.”
The move surely makes sense for the overall value of Newell Brand Inc. and likely serves the fiduciary responsibilities it has to its shareholders. But I can’t help wondering how nice it would be to view $250 million as little more than a “distraction.” And I’m guessing the employees of those brands on the chopping blocks, as well as their families, see some “value” in the huge revenues they helped generate.