Moulding angers THG investors with ‘dogs’ jibe

The Times Magazine spread on THG chief

THG’s outspoken founder Matthew Moulding has taken a pop at activist investors in his undervalued listed ecommerce business saying “My dogs have got more shares and you’ve met them.”

The jibe came in a wide ranging profile in the Times magazine on Saturday which he describes as his first interview “in forever” and adds: “And I probably won’t do one again for ever.”

Activist investor Kelso, led by former Zeus Capital boss John Goold, has suggested that THG should break itself up and in particular sell off the nutrition arm, which includes MyProtein and other nutrition brands and supplements.

They also posted on LinkedIn about the interview and said in a short statement that they were going to vote against the re-election of Charles Allen as chairman at the forthcoming AGM.

“The Board of Kelso noted the profile article in the Saturday Times Magazine on the THG CEO. In it, he compared small minority shareholders to his dogs.”

The post went on to state: “Assuming Kelso is the activist being referred to, we have always stated THG should look to demerge the three businesses and sell off majority or minority portions of each ideally to strategic investors,” it said.

“The Board of Kelso has concluded change is needed at THG and will be voting against the Chairman at the upcoming THG AGM on 24th June 2024.”

Last week, to complicate matters still further, Moulding raised his personal stake in Kelso to over 10 per cent.

It is also being reported that the group’s tenth largest investor, Ophorst Van Marwijk Kooy Vermogensbeheer, a Dutch investment firm, with a stake of 1.89% will also vote against Allen.

Oliver Cookson, who sold Myprotein to THG has also indicated he wants Allen out. He still retains a stake of 1.6% in THG.

He is quoted in the Times today as saying: “The current market valuation of THG starkly under-represents the sum of its parts, a view supported by independent evaluations. This valuation gap is largely due to strategic stagnation and a lack of transparency from the current leadership. It is crucial that we take decisive action now.”

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould said: “Frustrations with the strategy are understandable given the shares are trading more than 85% below their 2020 IPO price.”

In the Times magazine interview at the weekend Moulding also stood by a claim that elements of the media partner with “shady” hedge funds to try to destroy companies such as THG and were “painting me as some kind of charlatan, building a ‘bag of spanners’ company.”

However, he also uses the interview to float the idea of a stock exchange in Manchester which he likens to Dubai.

“The vibe in Manchester is really, really strong. Great businesses, lot of investment going in. It’s like the Dubai of years ago: bloody cranes everywhere.”