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Activist Cat Rock urges Just Eat shareholders to oust finance boss

·2-min read
Just Eat has come under pressure from activist investor Cat Rock Capital (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)
Just Eat has come under pressure from activist investor Cat Rock Capital (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Archive)

One of Just Eat Takeaway.com’s biggest shareholders has urged other investors to remove the firm’s finance boss and several supervisory board members at its annual meeting next week.

Cat Rock Capital, which owns an almost 7% stake in the company, has long called for a shake-up of the takeaway delivery specialist but has made new demands after a weaker-than-expected trading update last week.

Just Eat also said last week that it is looking to sell its US arm Grubhub, less than two years after agreeing to buy the operation in a £5.75 billion deal.

In a new statement, Cat Rock said the firm made a “mistake” by buying Grubhub and must change its leadership team to help “rebuild its credibility”.

Just Eat needs a new CFO to restore credibility with the capital markets and a new supervisory board to quickly refocus the business on Europe, use the proceeds of divestitures to strengthen Just Eat’s capitalisation, and actively evaluate other strategic options

Alex Captain, Cat Rock Capital

The activist investor, which first took a stake in the company in 2017, said it will vote against the re-election of finance chief Brent Wissink and most of the group’s supervisory board, including chairman Adriaan Nuhn, at the annual general meeting on May 4.

In an open letter, Cat Rock founder Alex Captain wrote that the chief financial officer (CFO) and supervisory board “have overseen a catastrophic destruction of equity value in the past two years”.

Shares in the company have dropped in value by around three-quarters over the period, despite an increase in demand for rapid deliveries during the pandemic.

Mr Captain added: “We have been Just Eat shareholders for close to five years and are deeply committed to the company’s long-term success.

“We believe Just Eat’s equity value has decoupled from its fundamentals because of a complete loss of trust in the management and supervisory boards’ capital allocation and financial management.

“Just Eat needs a new CFO to restore credibility with the capital markets and a new supervisory board to quickly refocus the business on Europe, use the proceeds of divestitures to strengthen Just Eat’s capitalisation, and actively evaluate other strategic options.”

Fellow investor Lucerne Capital has also said it plans to vote against Mr Wissink’s re-election next week.

A Just Eat spokeswoman said: “Just Eat Takeaway.com’s management shares investor disappointment in the recent share price performance of the company.

“However, the actions we are taking, including in relation to Grubhub, are intended to create significant shareholder value.

“We believe that Cat Rock’s proposal to remove key supervisory and management board members, would be both value destructive and destabilising.”

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