Procter & Gamble is considering a venture arm, chief executive officer David Taylor said Thursday.
Taylor answered a multipronged question after his presentation at the Barclays Global Consumer Staples Conference in Boston, saying that P&G believes its megabrands can still grow, that it does spend time on smaller brands, and that it is considering a venture arm — something other CPG companies, like Unilever, has already developed.
“Can we grow the big brands? First, we can,” Taylor said. “They’re driving our growth right now. One of the things that is a misnomer is that big brands can’t grow.” He called out Head & Shoulders as the fastest-growing brand in the shampoo category as an example.
P&G’s chief financial officer, Jon Moeller, highlighted the group’s focus on subbrands, like Downy Unstopables and Always Discreet, as small brands. “There are multiple ways to go at this,” Moeller said.
“I don’t believe for a second that never looking at whether M&A or small brands would be appropriate for many of our categories, but the core is to build,” Taylor said. P&G said on its latest earnings call that after selling off many brand units, like Duracell and the specialty beauty division, it would consider M&A again.
When asked, Taylor clarified that category leaders are allowed to make the M&A decisions, as they’re charged with expanding their respective units. “The 10 categories are charged with growing ahead of the category, creating growth in the category [and] creating ways to grow….the answer is yes, they are empowered to do so,” Taylor said.
The presentation came as P&G defends itself against activist investor Nelson Peltz’s Trian Fund Management LP, which owns about 1 percent of the company’s stock. Peltz is seeking a board seat, saying that P&G has underperformed peers, is losing market share and is too bureaucratic. P&G has repeatedly filed information through the Securities and Exchange Commission that says Peltz does not have a plan different than their own growth strategy. The presentation also came as P&G works to try to stabilize categories where it has lost market share — like grooming, which has faced increased competition from lower-priced and more easily accessible competitors.