Shares of Newell Brands Inc. (NYSE:NWL), a global consumer-goods company with products in categories like writing, home solutions, parenting, and tools, were slumping more than 21% as of 3:10 p.m. EST. This came after the company announced guidance cuts, changeups in its board of directors, and the exploration of options for some assets. Newell investors have seen better days.
Newell, which owns popular brands such as Sharpie and Rubbermaid, said it was exploring strategic options for possibly selling assets, including Waddington, Process Solutions, Rubbermaid Commercial Products, and Mapa, among others. Selling these could halve the number of factories and warehouses -- but also the company's customer base. Such sales would attempt to focus Newell's portfolio on nine core divisions with roughly $11 billion in sales and $2 billion of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization).
Michael Polk, Newell's CEO, said in a press release:
Today's announcement is a step toward a significant acceleration in our transformation plan. We believe that exiting non-strategic assets, reducing complexity and focusing on our key consumer-focused brands will make us more effective at unlocking value and responding to the fast-changing retail environment. ... A stronger, simpler, faster Newell, together with leading brands, brilliant marketing, outstanding innovation and an advantaged e-commerce capability, better positions us to win in these dynamic times. As a result, we have chosen to explore these strategic options.
But wait...there's more. In addition to the board changes and exploring asset sales, Newell also updated guidance. It now calls for core sales growth of roughly 0.8%, compared to previous guidance of 1.5% to 2%. Normalized earnings per share are now expected in the range of $2.72 to $2.76, down from the prior guidance for $2.80 to $2.85 per share -- and don't forget that guidance had already been lowered.
The updated guidance assumes continued ownership of all assets, but it appears management is prepared to shake up its product portfolio to become a leaner and more focused company and ignite growth and innovation. It's a risky move, and judging by today's 21% decline in the stock price, not all investors are on board.