City comment: Share price slide is tough test for THG’s Matt Moulding

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M

att Molding is learning a painful lesson about a boring, but important, part of life as a public company CEO: stakeholder management.

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Buff billionaire’s business THG — formerly The Hut Group — has seen its share price drop by more than a third in a month after the company announced plans to spin up its beauty business. Instead, THG will focus on Ingenuity — its promising, but still very new, e-commerce platform.

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THG was just released last September and beauty is a big part of the company. Dhuri has given whiplash to many investors. A bearish note from the analyst hasn’t helped either.

Molding – the founder, CEO and owner of Golden Share – is trying to repair relations with the city. He hosts a make-or-break capital markets day this afternoon.

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Molding is accustomed to running a private company where only a handful of people are required to purchase the plans. Backing for a spin-out deal from the divisive Japanese investment firm SoftBank is typical of this operating style: Get a bold investor on board who can control the whole thing.

In public markets, a lot more people are involved. CEOs spend their days meeting analysts, pension funds, asset managers, journalists and the like. The same thing is repeated over and over again.

Many entrepreneurs find this powerful. Can casting be done from caster to smooth circulator? We’ll find out soon — just look at THG’s share price for the city’s verdict.

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