It’s not the handbags at ten paces dust-up many of us would like to see but a Twitter spat between the bosses of equally iffy takeaway food delivery firms has provided amusement for everyone except investment companies that have stakes in the companies.
Uber boss Dara Khosrowshahi appeared to kick it off with some “friendly advice” to Jits Groen, his counterpart at Just Eat Takeaway.com NV (LSE:JET, NASDAQ:GRUB) to stop griping about the financial illiteracy of research analysts who had the temerity to undervalue the Anglo-Dutch company.
“Advice: pay a little less attention to your short-term stock price and more attention to your Tech and Ops”, Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted.
The prompted an acidic but admittedly bang-on reply that if Khosrowshahi is so interested in chief executives (CEOs) dishing out advice to each other, perhaps the Uber CEO might consider directing Uber to “start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business”.
Such well-directed advice, written in clear English long since thought beyond all chief executives (based on stock market announcements) nevertheless attracted the ire of activist investor, Cat Rock Capital Management, which sees it as its job to put CEOs’ noses out of joint.
Cat Rock has a 4.7% stake in Just Eat and believes that Groen’s Tweets have damaged the brand; Just Eat’s brand, that is.
The activist investor said Groen’s outbursts have led to a “fantastic business” being “deeply undervalued and vulnerable to takeover bids at far below its intrinsic value”.
Cat Rock would prefer Just Eat sell some assets to raise the money it can use to take over some other fantastic business at far below its intrinsic value/
Alex Captain, a partner at Cat Rock, said “response should not happen on Twitter, it should happen on a credible forum”.