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Billionaire blasts P&G for letting shave clubs obliterate Gillette

CNBC logo CNBC 7/17/2017 Berkeley Lovelace Jr.

Billionaire investor Nelson Peltz blamed Procter & Gamble for allowing online shave club rivals to gobble up Gillette's razor market share.

In a CNBC interview on Monday, Peltz said he spoke with former Gillette employees who said they wouldn't have let online rivals Dollar Shave Club and Harry's gain as much of a foothold as P&G did.

"I spoke to a lot of the ex-Gillette guys, and you know what they said?" Peltz said on "Squawk on the Street." "If Dollar Shave Club and whoever the other guy is were around when they were running Gillette, they would have put a group of them together — five or ten guys in a room —and say, 'How do we put these guys out of business now?' "

"That's what should have happened years ago. It didn't happen. It didn't happen, because you replaced Gillette people with P&G people. Very different culture. Very different people," Peltz said.

A P&G spokesperson wasn't immediately available for comment.

P&G, which bought Gillette for $57 billion in 2005, replaced key management positions shortly after the acquisition.

While Gillette remains the top razor brand overall, it isn't as dominant online, according to data from Slice Intelligence. As of February 2017, Dollar Shave Club, which Unilever bought for $1 billion last year, had grown to 47.3 percent of the online market, more than double Gillette's 23.1 percent.

Meanwhile, upscale Harry's shaving club now has 12 percent of the online shaving market in the U.S., Slice Intelligence said.

But Gillette is trying to play catch up, announcing in May an on-demand razor service where customers text to order. It originally launched its own online shaving club in June 2015.

Peltz's $12.7 billion hedge fund, Trian Partners, is seeking to elect Peltz to P&G's board of directors, according to a regulatory filing released Monday. This is after the company rejected his request to be added to the board.

Procter & Gamble, whose share price was flat Monday following the filing, has a market value of $222.8 billion, according to FactSet. The stock has underperformed the market. Its shares are up 3.6 percent this year through Friday versus the S&P 500's 9.9 percent rise.

CNBC's Tae Kim contributed to this report.


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