STAR stockpicker Terry Smith has launched a fresh attack on Unilever's management as he labelled the failed bid for GLAXOSMITHKLINE's consumer arm a "near death experience".
Smith, a major Unilever shareholder, said the firm needed to refocus on improving the performance of the existing business rather than looking for blockbuster acquisitions.
In a letter to his investors, the Fundsmith founder said: "It seems to us that Unilever management's response to its poor performance has been to utter meaningless platitudes to which it has now attempted to add major M&A activity. What could possibly go wrong?"
Smith, whose Fundsmith firm owns an £814m position in Unilever, attacked the firm last week for "losing the plot" with its focus on purpose and sustainability.
In his letter to investors yesterday he again attacked Unilever's management for its "penchant for corporate gobbledegook". The attack follows a week of intense criticism and falling share price for the FTSE 100 firm after reports emerged of its three failed takeover bids for GSK's consumer portfolio of brands last year.
The firm backed down from raising its $50bn bid for the business on Wednesday after investor backlash.
Bosses faced a separate wave of criticism yesterday from a group of asset managers for a health "blind spot" in its products.
The group of investors, representing $215m (£158m) in assets filed a resolution calling on the Marmite-maker to set more ambitious health targets.
Unilever's difficult week has seen its share price slide as much as 10 per cent.
(c) 2022 City A.M., source Newspaper