Rupert Sutton

Management consultant at Weben Partners Asia

Cool Japan technology

The once acclaimed Cool Japan fund fights for survival; an ode challenging Governmental nannying

What can possibly go wrong with a venture fund generously financed by the tax payer topped up by token contributions from a selection of corporates? Quite a lot it seems. Japan and specifically modern Japanese culture like animé, media, fashion and food were cool. Why not brand and fund them to promote the growth of …

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Oatly turnaround

Oatly experiences sharp growth pains. Is private equity thirsty enough to pounce?

Celebrity backed Oatly which IPO-ed for $17 a share in 2021 is now trading just above $2. That hurts! Although revenue grew marginally to $183m in Q3 2022, it was almost 15% lower than expected. Year on year net income fell to a larger loss of $212m from $60m. The funky, barista loving plant milk …

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Pet food investment

Activist Dan Loeb barks loudly at Colgate’s door. Should they let him in?

Colgate Palmolive has come under fire from activist shareholder Dan Loeb’s Third Point hedge fund. He now holds a $1 billion stake in the company. Thirdpoint invests in companies undergoing spinoffs and pushes for “corporate change”. Loeb’s stake in Colgate is around 6% of the fund’s assets. Activist investors are becoming increasingly active in the …

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Olympus strategy

Olympus looks to the future appointing its second foreign CEO

The first time Tokyo listed Olympus appointed a foreign CEO it ended in tears. Michael Woodford’s tenure was short-lived. Woodford questioned huge fees paid to unknown companies which had links to criminal entities. Dismissed, he sued Olympus. The case concluded with a substantial out of court settlement in Woodward’s favour. Then Olympus was synonymous with …

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Sensory test

In five year’s time will we acknowledge that plant meats were a one-time fad?

Beyond Meat’s shares took another pounding last week closing below $15, a massive drop from their peak of $239 in 2019. The company is now forecasting revenues of $400-425m for 2022 versus $465m in 2021. Management is cutting 19% of the workforce; that’s never a good sign. In a statement the company acknowledged it had …

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Strategic advice

‘Managing the consultants’ the Economist’s Money Talks podcast weighs in

Why do firms and Governments hire consultants? In a recent Economist podcast, the paper tackled this question. It focused on the rise of McKinsey, Bain & BCG (aka MBB), their reputation for earning ‘fat fees’ and controversies, for example McKinsey’s work in China and Saudi Arabia. For many, including the Economist it seems, the role …

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Mars new CEO

As Mars’ CEO retires, what big bets will his successor wage?

Last week the FT carried an interview with John Reid, the outgoing CEO of Mars. What few metrics are published by Mars (the company is one of the world’s largest, privately owned businesses), it seems that Reid’s tenure has been an unqualified success. Global revenues now exceed $45b and have leapt dramatically under Reid’s tenure.  …

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Tokyu Hands flagship store

Tokyu Hands changes hands; enter stage left Home Centre giant Cainz

Tokyu Hands was one of the first stores I visited when I came to Japan. I vividly recall their store in Tokyo with many more floors (and staircases) than I can remember; and then there’s the eclectic range of premium merchandise. Want something you can’t find elsewhere? Go to Tokyu Hands, said my colleagues. Founded …

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Are the venture funds launched by giant food & beverage firms the best way to accelerate growth?

Most consumer goods companies drive growth through gaining penetration (new users, new points of distribution), upping frequency (often through occasion based marketing) and trading up (premiumisation). I’ve worked with many clients in multiple categories and there are always white spaces of untapped revenue, often close by. For many managers, sweating existing assets is less risky …

Are the venture funds launched by giant food & beverage firms the best way to accelerate growth? Read More »

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